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The pandemic

The head of the NHS should be sacked

A Covid ward in Cambridge last year. Neil Hall/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Why hasn’t the head of NHS England, Amanda Pritchard, been sacked, asks Allison Pearson in The Daily Telegraph. On Monday she said on live television: “We have had 14 times the number of people in hospital with Covid than we saw this time last year.” Complete rubbish. There are 3,000 fewer Covid patients in hospital than there were a year ago. Which is fantastic news, “unless you’re an NHS apparatchik with a vested interest in feeding the narrative that an ‘overwhelmed’ NHS must be protected”. Either Pritchard was deliberately misrepresenting the figures as part of a propaganda stunt to scare us or she has “no clue what is going on in her own health service”. 

NHS England said Pritchard was referring to “the most recent figures” from August. Excuse me? Daily hospital admissions are updated on the dashboard “every single afternoon”. If I published “arrant nonsense” like this, I’d be sacked and “outside Telegraph Towers with a dog on a rope”. In fact, the NHS’s “dirty secret” is that more than 11,000 people have died after catching Covid in hospital. Infection control in many hospitals is “appalling” – you can’t even open the windows. Once the “Covid Cloak of Unaccountability” falls away, there will be no room for Pritchard and other NHS bosses to hide “the shocking neglect that cost so many lives”.