We reported earlier as Professor Chris Whitty defended “outstanding” British GPs amid criticism of a lack of face-to-face appointments (see 12.38pm post).
Now, England’s chief medical officer has admitted: “There are certainly some quite significant things we got wrong at the beginning of COVID.”
Speaking at the annual conference of the Royal College of GPs in Liverpool, he warned of tough months ahead for the NHS as it battles COVID, flu, other viruses and the usual winter problems such as trips and falls.
He said: “In terms of where COVID will go over the winter, well I think the winter as a whole, I regret to say, is going to be exceptionally difficult for the NHS.
“That is, irrespective of whether we have a relatively low but non trivial amount of COVID, or whether we actually have a further surge in the winter.”
Professor Whitty added that “zero COVID over this winter is a completely impossible dream”, saying the hope was to keep it at “relatively low levels”.
He said that when other viruses are added into the mix, together with people seeking care that was delayed during the pandemic, the NHS was facing “an extraordinarily tall order”.
He added: “I wish I could claim that the sunlit uplands and it’ll be fantastic by Christmas, but sadly, I’m afraid that is not the case.”