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Secret Diary of a PM: Lifting the Lockdown (and what happens next)

So, the government has decided to delay the removal of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions, to a predictably mixed response. The delay of four more weeks in my view was very sensible - hopefully after more people get the jabs the risk will somewhat reduce, and we may be in a better position.

July 19th is the next landmark; by then we will have vaccinated more people with first and second doses to reduce the risks further.

As the numbers are going up now, evidence will be needed to see if it is just a blip, or whether the vaccines are not working as well against the new variants. It is worrying that people aged between 10 and 18 seem now to be getting the virus and that there are no vaccines being offered to this group.

The news changes by the day, and it is difficult to keep up. The government are looking at people travelling to amber countries not having to isolate when they get back if they have had the two doses. So why not move them into the green zone to avoid confusion?

What happens with children? Will they need to isolate as they will not have had any vaccines?

Personally, I think that when travel restrictions are removed here, and across the world, we will see more strains of the virus as people mix. Don’t get me wrong, I realise we are going to have to live with this virus as we do with flu, however I think that until more people in the world are vaccinated, we should be wary.

As an avid traveller, the thought of airports, planes, and the different Covid rates abroad fills me with fear. However, so many others will travel without a fear in the world - I do worry that travel may delay us getting back to some normality.

Normal service to be resumed?

The NHS want us all back to normal working and to that end want the F2F appointments resumed.  However, they have not considered the logistics of waiting rooms etc on social distancing, as the BMA have.  The BMA recommend caution and I am sure whilst we will go back to F2F in part, the rise of using online appointments means other platforms will need to be run in tandem.

The NHS in my view is not being as open as it could be. To hear of a strain in young people in our locality through the local press is alarming - surely we should have been advised as soon as they knew?  Same thing hearing that some classes in the local grammar school were isolating and not in school is again very worrying.

There is no hiding from this virus, and we should be meeting it head-on and having an open dialogue as to where it is in clusters, so we can protect others and ask the right questions of our patients.

The latest idea to be floated is that when we give the flu vaccination out this year, patients can have a health check at the same time. Do these people not realise that a normal flu clinic is like a conveyor belt - the maximum flow through of patients in the shortest time?  To do a health check at the same time is ludicrous and I wonder how these ideas are thought up. Obviously from people who have no idea of how such clinics run.

Research projects

Looking further ahead it is clear that Sage has further concerns moving forward, and that there are several research projects ongoing. Having been on the original Oxford study with four weekly checks I have just been accepted on to the latest Covid Booster trial, which will involve getting a booster and then being monitored over 12 months.

The boosters we get will not be disclosed to us and will include half doses, full doses of a possibly different vaccine, or the same one we originally had. I was meant to start this weekend and at the last moment, the appointment was cancelled due to the hospital not having the vaccines delivered as promised. I must say I was amused as I thought 'welcome to our club' as these are the very same issues we have all had.

I will keep you updated on how it goes, but I think the very reason they are doing this shows there is no certainty in the next steps.


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