#AceNewsReport – Oct.12: The government approach – backed by its scientists – was to try to manage the situation and in effect achieve herd immunity by infection, it said: This led to a delay in introducing the first lockdown, costing thousands of lives.: But the report highlights successes too, including the vaccination rollout.
BBC Health News: The government approach – backed by its scientists – was to try to manage the situation and in effect achieve herd immunity by infection, it said.
This led to a delay in introducing the first lockdown, costing thousands of lives.
But the report highlights successes too, including the vaccination rollout.
It described the whole approach to the vaccination programme – from the research and development through to the rollout of the jabs – as “one of the most effective initiatives in UK history”.
The report predominantly focuses on the response to the pandemic in England. The committee did not look at steps taken individually by Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The findings are detailed in the report – Coronavirus: Lessons learned to date – from the Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee, which contain MPs from all parties.
Across 150 pages, the report covers a variety of successes and failings.
MPs call the pandemic, which has claimed more than 150,000 lives in the UK and nearly five million worldwide so far, the “biggest peacetime challenge” for a century.
MPs call the pandemic, which has claimed more than 150,000 lives in the UK and nearly five million worldwide so far, the “biggest peacetime challenge” for a century.
Some of the most serious early failings, the report suggests, resulted from apparent “groupthink” among scientists and ministers – which meant the UK was not as open to different approaches on earlier lockdowns, border controls and test and trace as it should have been.
Tory MPs Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark, who chair the committees, said the nature of the pandemic meant it was “impossible to get everything right”.
“The UK has combined some big achievements with some big mistakes. It is vital to learn from both,” they added in a statement to accompany the report.
Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay said scientific advice had been followed and the government had made “difficult judgments” to protect the NHS.
He said the government took responsibility for everything that had happened and repeated the apology made by the prime minister in May for the country’s suffering.
Mr Barclay told the BBC the government would not shy away from any lessons to be learned at the full public inquiry, expected next year.
#AceDailyNews reports that GOVUK is to Fund to help end cycle of homelessness and hospital readmissions with people experiencing homelessness in England to be supported through pilot projects, backed by £16 million, to provide temporary accommodation, care and support
£16 million for pilot projects to support people experiencing homelessness after being discharged from hospital
Schemes to reduce pressure on NHS and help people who are homeless find accommodation
Part of the programme to end rough sleeping by 2024
The objective is to end the cycle of people leaving hospital to return to the streets and then being quickly readmitted to hospital.
Currently patients who are homeless in hospital are more than twice as likely to be readmitted to hospital in an emergency compared with patients with housing. A study of nearly 3,000 homeless patients discharged after an emergency admission from 78 hospitals between 2013 and 2016 revealed almost 2,000 were readmitted within a year, at almost double the rate of those with homes to go to.
These pilots in 17 areas – from London to Liverpool – will offer improved services to help some of the most vulnerable members of society with basic needs such as housing, employment and drug cessation, that can help them get back on their feet in the long term.
People experiencing rough sleeping on average die 30 years earlier than the general population and the estimated number of those dying each year has risen by about 50% in less than a decade. When figures began being collected in 2013, 70% of people who were homeless were being discharged to the streets rather than into supported schemes or back with families.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said:
No one should ever have to sleep rough – extra support will ensure those who do not have a home can get the help they need, recover more quickly and end the cycle of readmission to hospital.
This government has proven its commitment to helping people experiencing homelessness throughout this pandemic, providing temporary accommodation and priority vaccines.
These pilot schemes will show how much more effective care can be when it’s integrated and the best examples will be taken forward to help tackle homelessness across the country.
Funding was allocated from the shared outcomes fund in 2019 and, despite the pandemic, the pilot projects are already changing lives, reducing readmissions and helping those in need.
For example, the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Health and Care Partnership is working with Cornwall Council, Harbour Housing and Stay at Home to redesign out of hospital care services.
The partnership links accommodation with on-site appointment services, counselling and drug and alcohol support providing stability to those looking for housing and work.
Many of the pilot schemes are already making a real difference. In Oxford and Reading, for example, delayed discharges from mental health hospitals have fallen from 22 in May to zero in August, for the first time. By identifying a person’s individual needs there is a far greater chance of finding the right support.
Combining these posts with resettlement homes helps increase the potential for recovery.
Minister for Care, Gillian Keegan said:
By bridging the gaps between hospitals and homes these support networks are breaking the link between homelessness and multiple repeat hospitalisations.
We know there is more to do and we are committed to improving the lives of people sleeping rough with support that makes a real difference not only to the individual but their families, communities and the NHS.
This £16 million is just one of the many investments in homelessness from across the government.
The Government has committed over £750 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping this year, further demonstrating the Government’s commitment to end rough sleeping this Parliament and fully implement the Homelessness Reduction Act.
In addition, the NHS Long Term Plan includes £30 million extra over five years to meet the health needs of those on the streets or with no fixed place to live.
The government has promised to continue looking at ways to support people sleeping rough and help meet their physical and mental health needs to reduce this long-standing issue and help manage demand for NHS services.
The money is part of a £200 million shared outcomes fund approved by the Treasury late in 2019 with the £16 million already provided to the pilot schemes.
Hospital readmission figures – (PDF) Hospital readmission among people experiencing homelessness in England: A cohort study of 2772 matched homeless and housed inpatients (researchgate.net)
A report by the National Institute for Health Research sets out the benefits of improving care transfers here and figures on the assessment of care needs in 2013 – 3037666.pdf
Figures on estimated deaths and life expectancy are available here – Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)
Areas provided with funding:
Live Healthy Live Happy Birmingham and Solihull (led by Birmingham City Council)
Our Dorset (led by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council)
Sussex Health and Care Partnership (led by Brighton and Hove Council)
Healthier Together Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (led by Bristol Council)
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (led by Cambridgeshire County Council)
Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Health and Care Partnership (led by Cornwall County UA)
Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (led by Greater Manchester Combined Authority)
Humber, Coast and Vale (led by Kingston Upon Hull City Council)
West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (led by Leeds City Council)
Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership (led by Liverpool City Council)
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (led by Nottingham City Council for Nottingham City and Mansfield District Council for Nottinghamshire)
Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (led by Oxford City Council and Reading Borough Council)
North Central London Partners in health and care (led by Islington London Borough)
North West London (led by Kensington and Chelsea Royal Borough)
Our Healthier South East London (led by Lambeth London Borough)
South West London Health and Care Partnership (led by Kingston upon Thames Royal Borough)
North East London Health and Care Partnership (led by Newham London Borough)
Pan-London Model (led by the Healthy London Partnership)
#AceNewsReport – Oct.04: The organisation aims to counter threats from criminals, terrorists and hostile states.
#AceDailyNews says according to a BBC report the National Cyber Force is to be based in Samlesbury, Lancashire Operating since April 2020, it includes officials from MI6, cyber-spy agency GCHQ and the military under a unified command for the first time.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said it would “confront aggressive behaviour”.
Located in a purpose-built premises, it will receive more than £5 billion of investment before 2030, the government said.
A Conservative spokeswoman said it would be “home for thousands of cyber hackers and analysts” and would create hundreds of support jobs in business and legal affairs.
NCF’s existence was only formally made public by the prime minister in November 2020.
The aim is that, when British armed forces go into combat, cyber-operations will work closely with the traditional military, with potential scenarios including operators hacking into enemy air defences.
Tactics could include disrupting a suspect’s mobile phone or a cyber-crime group’s computer servers to prevent a threat like 2017’s WannaCry attack, which took down parts of the NHS and other organisations by scrambling their data.
Other methods could include communicating with attackers to undermine their morale and dissuade them.
Ms Truss said: “The National Cyber Force will help confront aggressive behaviour from malign actors, and demonstrate that Britain is investing in next-generation defence capability to protect our people and help our friends counter cyber threats.
“It sends a powerful message to our allies and adversaries alike.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who is also the Conservative MP for the nearby Wyre and Preston North constituency, said: “I am hugely proud and enthusiastic to see this happen – not only will it provide a catalyst for investment, but also see our levelling up agenda bring economic stimulus and tangible benefits to this region.”
In 2019, intelligence agency GCHQ opened a hub in Manchester which operates alongside its headquarters in Cheltenham and offices in Cornwall and Scarborough.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.27: It follows days of long queues at the pumps, after fears of disruption to the fuel supply sparked panic buying: Ministers are also considering deploying the Army to deliver fuel.
#AceDailyNews says that according to BBC News the government have suspended competition law to get petrol to forecourts and prevent further panic buying officials said the move would make it easier for companies to share information and prioritise parts of the country most at need.
The Petrol Retailers Association has warned that as many as two-thirds of its membership of nearly 5,500 independent outlets are out of fuel, with the rest of them “partly dry and running out soon”. The UK has a total of more than 8,000 filling stations.
Announcing the measure to exempt the oil industry from the Competition Act 1998, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the government had “long-standing” contingency plans to maintain fuel supplies.
“While there has always been and continues to be plenty of fuel at refineries and terminals, we are aware that there have been some issues with supply chains.
“This is why we will enact the Downstream Oil Protocol to ensure industry can share vital information and work together more effectively to ensure disruption is minimised.
“We thank HGV drivers and all forecourt staff for their tireless work during this period.”
PRA chairman Brian Madderson told the BBC the shortages were down to “panic buying, pure and simple”, with oil companies prioritising keeping motorway service station pumps topped up.Pumps were mainly running dry in Britain’s urban areas, while Northern Ireland was currently unaffected, he said.ReutersQueues began forming again outside this petrol station on Monday morningMr
Mr Madderson also told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday that filling stations were being restocked, but there were not enough deliveries to restore their normal levels of fuel.”One of our members yesterday received a tanker at midday and by late afternoon the entire tanker had disappeared into people’s cars,” he said.
Other measures include sending nearly one million letters to drivers who hold an HGV licence – to encourage them back into the industry – and plans to train 4,000 people to become HGV drivers. Grant Shapps: “
At the same time, she said the pandemic had disrupted testing for HGV licences, making it harder to replace the lost drivers.The shortage of drivers and other workers is also causing concern in the food and retail industry.
The British Retail Consortium said the number of visas being offered was “too small” to make an impact on the disruption expected at Christmas.What is competition law?……………Competition benefits consumers. It encourages firms to innovate and improve their offer to draw customers in. It can mean products are better, often at lower prices…………It also aims to make sure firms compete on a level playing field, as well as protecting them from other businesses acting unfairly.It stops businesses from making agreements with each other that would distort competition, leaving customers worse off.
Agreeing to fix prices for certain goods or services, limiting production to drive prices up, or carving up markets, for example, could all end up breaking competition law. That risks serious fines, people being banned from running companies, or even jail.During the pandemic, the government has intervened to exempt certain industries from elements of competition law.
At the height of the coronavirus crisis, for example supermarkets were allowed to share more information with each other on stock levels and share depots and delivery vans, to meet customer demand.
The latest move will allow fuel suppliers to share information on which locations are most in need and, according to the Petrol Retailers Association, possibly put fuel into their competitors’ sites – which they would not typically be allowed to do.Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability policy at the trade association, told the BBC: “I think we’re going to see less choice, less availability, possibly a shorter shelf life as well, which is really disappointing because this could have been averted.”
Meanwhile, turkey farmer Kate Martin warned supermarkets could run out of poultry before Christmas.She said there were fewer turkeys being produced because the big processors “know they will not get them processed”.But the boss of supermarket chain Aldi in the UK said he expected “business as usual” at Christmas.Recruitment for additional short-term HGV drivers and poultry workers will begin in October, with the visas valid until Christmas Eve.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.19: The agreement of the UK-UAE Partnership To Tackle Illicit Financial Flows is part of the new, ambitious and strengthened Partnership for the Future between the UK and the UAE as announced by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Bin Zayed…..
#AceDailyNews reports that the UK and UAE will ramp up the targeting of those financing terrorism and serious and organised crime gangs as part of a landmark new partnership.
This aims to ensure that the UAE and UK are able to work more closely together to tackle the shared global challenges that we face, and promote prosperity and security for our citizens.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
I will always take the strongest possible action to the keep the British people safe, and this new agreement bolsters both our countries’ efforts in going after the terrorists and serious and organised crime gangs that seek to do us harm.
The partnership will help to keep the public safe, protect our prosperity and bring dangerous criminals to justice.
Minister of State Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh said:
The UAE stands with the UK in the global fight against illicit finance. We are committed to stamping out terrorist financing and serious and organised crime in all of its forms to protect the UAE and uphold the integrity of the international financial system.
The partnership marks a key milestone in the close cooperation between the UAE and UK. Through the robust, collaborative structure of the partnership, the UAE is determined to advance our shared priorities and reinforce our efforts to keep our two nations safe, prosperous and secure.
The partnership is a concrete articulation of the UK and UAE’s shared ambition to increase co-operation on illicit financial flows. It offers a robust platform to build a stronger and more enduring strategic partnership, advancing the priorities laid out in the UK’s Integrated Review and the UAE’s National Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing Strategy.
The launch of the Partnership To Tackle Illicit Financial Flows was held in London today (17 September) in a meeting chaired by the Security Minister Damian Hinds.
The partnership will bolster law enforcement by enhancing intelligence sharing and joint operations between the UK and UAE against serious and organised crime networks.
The UK and UAE’s understanding of terrorist financing internationally will also be improved by sharing insight and expertise to help identify and stop terrorist financial flows.
Furthermore the partnership will raise professional standards on countering money laundering with a particular focus on high-risk sectors such as dealers of precious metals and stones, and real-estate as well as emerging technologies such as crypto currencies.
There will be an annual meeting between the Home Secretary and the UAE Minister of State to ensure progress on the partnership’s ambitious objectives.
The partnership follows the UK’s ambitions, made in the Integrated Review, to increase our co-operation with the UAE on illicit financial flows.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.19: There has recently been widespread media coverage of wholesale gas prices, and the effect this could have on household energy bills. The impact on certain areas of industry, and its ability to continue production, has also attracted attention #AceNewsDesk report
#AceDailyNews reports on UK gas supply and Natural gas prices that have been steadily rising across the globe this year for a number of reasons. This has affected Europe, including the UK, as well as other countries around the world……
We have a diverse range of gas supply sources, with sufficient capacity to more than meet demand. The UK’s gas system continues to operate reliably and we do not anticipate any increased risk of supply emergencies this winter.
Why are there high global gas prices?
The prices that are currently visible reflect the high value being placed on gas at the present time, with prices being determined by global supply and demand. They are not necessarily representative of pre-existing contracts and therefore do not apply to all of the gas being consumed in the UK this winter.
Current prices reflect a number of factors including:
as the world comes out of COVID-19 lockdowns and economies reopen, we are seeing an uptick in global gas demand this year. *combined with a cold winter (which has an impact on gas demand as gas is often used for heating homes) this has led to a much tighter gas market with less spare capacity
in particular, high demand in Asia for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), natural gas transported globally by ship, means less LNG than expected has reached Europe *some essential maintenance projects rescheduled from 2020 due to coronavirus coincided with necessary scheduled projects in 2021, while weather events in the US have adversely affected their LNG exports to Europe
How are high global gas prices impacting the UK?
The gas market is crucial to the UK’s energy supply because of its significance in heating, industry and power generation.
Over 22 million households are connected to the gas grid and in 2020, 38% of the UK’s gas demand was used for domestic heating, 29% for electricity generation and 11% for industrial and commercial use.
High gas wholesale prices have subsequently driven an increase in wholesale power prices this year.
In recent weeks, this trend has been exacerbated by the weather and planned maintenance at some power stations. This has resulted in unusually low margins for this time of year. These factors have combined to cause spikes in wholesale electricity prices, with a number of short-term markets trading at, or near, record levels.
While we are not complacent, we do not expect supply emergencies this winter.
Is our gas supply at risk?
The Great Britain (GB) gas system has delivered securely to date and is expected to continue to function effectively, with a diverse range of supply sources and sufficient delivery capacity to more than meet demand.
While our largest single source of gas supply continues to be the UK Continental Shelf (approximately 48% of total supply in 2020), the maturity of that source means we have to supplement supply from international markets.
Whilst the diversity of those international sources promotes our energy security, by reducing reliance on a particular source, the UK – as with other nations – is exposed to global trends in supply and demand which affect the price of gas traded at UK’s market hub (the National Balancing Point).
We have a wide range of supply sources including direct pipelines across the North Sea from Norway to the UK, our single biggest source of imports. We are also investing millions into scaling up strong renewable energy capacity and driving down demand for fossil fuels.
GB also has a number of gas storage facilities that act as a source of system flexibility when responding to short-run changes in supply and demand.
What is the government doing on this?
Energy security is an absolute priority for this government. The government works closely with the regulator and gas supply operators to monitor supply and demand.
While wholesale gas prices have increased internationally this year, the market continues to balance supply and demand through adjusting the prices at which energy trades take place. We have no reason to suggest this will not continue but will monitor the market.
National Grid Gas has a number of tools at its disposal to mitigate the risk of a gas supply emergency, including requesting additional gas supplies be delivered to the National Transmission System. Together with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), National Grid Gas has robust response plans in place in the unlikely event that risk should materialise. Read plans for network gas supply emergencies.
Will this affect energy bills?
The high wholesale gas prices that are currently visible may not be the actual prices being paid by all consumers.
This is because major energy suppliers purchase much of their wholesale supplies many months in advance, giving protection to them and their customers from short-term price spikes.
The Energy Price Cap is also in place to protect millions of customers from the sudden increases in global gas prices this winter. Despite the rising costs of wholesale energy, the cap still saves 15 million households up to £100 a year.
The current global wholesale gas price situation as set out above could have an effect on companies.
Companies without longer-term contracts may face higher costs, but we expect that companies with longer-term contracts in place may have little exposure to the current high wholesale prices. If there were an event where a supplier fails, Ofgem would work to ensure that customers are moved to a new supplier, so they are not without energy.
How is the government helping poorer households?
Our Energy Price Cap will protect millions of customers from the sudden increases in global gas prices this winter.
We are also supporting low income and fuel poor households with their energy bills in a number of ways which demonstrates the government’s commitment.
This includes through:
the Warm Home Discount which provides eligible households with a £140 discount
in addition, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments will help ensure those most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months
Vulnerable people and anyone in financial distress during this time should talk to their energy supplier, who will be able to discuss personal circumstances and consider options to help, including reassessing, reducing or pausing payments. Emergency measures have been agreed between government and energy suppliers to support those most in need during the disruption caused by COVID-19, and this agreement remains in place this winter. Read details of the agreement.
As set out in the Energy white paper, we plan to extend the Warm Home Discount until 2026, increase it to £150, and help an extra 780,000 pensioners and low-income families with their energy bills. With a total of 2.7 million to get support, with the vast majority to receive the money back automatically, without having to apply as at present.
Cold Weather Payments provide vulnerable households on qualifying benefits with financial support when the weather has been, or is forecasted to be, unusually cold. £25 is available for eligible households for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.18: The first ever green submarine study has been named as one of 55 winning projects of a £23 million government-funded R&D competition, announced today (15 September 2021) by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, in Greenwich,
A fully automated net positive submarine fleet, powered entirely on green hydrogen, could help cleanse the oceans of toxic pollution by collecting microplastics on its pilot route between Glasgow and Belfast. While transporting cargo shipments, the fleet could secure significant emission savings of 27 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the first year of operation, with an overall mission to reduce 300 million tonnes of CO2emissions as the fleet grows.
Also among the winners is an all-electric charge-point connected to an offshore wind turbine. The charge-points will be able to power boats using 100% renewable energy generated from the turbine. This offers potential savings of up to 131,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions a year – the equivalent of removing over 62,000 cars from our roads.
Similar to roadside electric vehicle chargepoints, these will be operated by semi-automated control, meaning that sailors can moor up by the wind turbine chargepoint, plug in, charge up, then sail on.
Announcing the winners in Greenwich, the heart of British maritime, on the state-of-the-art Royal Navy ship, HMS Albion, the Transport Secretary outlined how this is the latest in a string of government initiatives aimed at cutting emissions in the sector as part of London International Shipping Week – including joining other nations in supporting a world-leading absolute zero target for international shipping emissions by 2050.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
As a proud island nation built on our maritime prowess, it is only right that we lead by example when it comes to decarbonising the sector and building back greener.
The projects announced today showcase the best of British innovation, revolutionising existing technology and infrastructure to slash emissions, create jobs and get us another step closer to our decarbonisation targets.
This comes as Maritime Minister Robert Courts supports the opening of the UK’s greenest cruise terminal. The Horizon Cruise Terminal at the Port of Southampton, Europe’s leading cruise turnaround port, is the first of its kind, using an innovative mix of solar panel roofing and clean energy shore power plug-in charging for ships – pioneering the way towards greener cruising.
Maritime Minister Robert Courts said:
As the cruising sector bounces back from the pandemic, it’s important that our environmental commitments are at the heart of everything we do.
Building state-of-the-art green infrastructure at cruise terminals helps us move towards cleaner cruising, creating more spaces for these ships to dock and putting us on track to hit net zero by 2050.
Maritime UK chair Sarah Kenny said:
We have always been an island of maritime pioneers and today’s competition shows this will long continue with potential to rule the green waves of the future.
Through increased investment and closer collaboration with government our industry can rise to the challenge of steering the UK’s vessels in a green direction.
We still have a very long way to go, but today marks an important step towards our journey to net zero.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Oceanways, Dhruv Boruah, said:
We would like to thank our Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP for selecting Oceanways to support the Department for Transport’s mission to decarbonise shipping and aid our Prime Minister’s commitment to build back better. Time is running out and it is imperative we don’t settle for 1% more efficiency in an existing system, but instead, radically rethink to create innovative solutions.
It’s not just #JetZero. Oceanways has assembled a world-class team to pioneer #SubZero by creating the new market of net positive underwater transport systems with zero-emission cargo submarines as an innovative tool to decarbonise shipping and clean up our ocean.
Paul Cairns, Managing Director of MJR Power & Automation, said:
We are delighted to have been selected as one of the winners of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, which will enable us to demonstrate our world-leading technology for offshore charging of vessels, and our commitment to supporting decarbonisation of marine operations.
The support of DfT and InnovateUK is crucial to delivering net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and we are proud to be recipients of their support.
Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer, Innovate UK, said:
As the UK prepares to host COP26 in the maritime city of Glasgow, it is great that we can announce funding for these fantastic projects in the marine sector that will help the UK meet its net zero goals.
From this competition we saw a very high level of demand, we have seen the very best of British ideas from all over the country. It is clear that not only does the UK have a great maritime history, but also a bright and greener future, too.
The initiatives follow on from the government’s previous commitments outlined in the world-leading Transport decarbonisation plan to explore the establishment of a dedicated function for creating zero-emission shipbuilding and R&D for autonomous vessel sailings under the function of UK Shore.
Based in DfT, UK Shore will unlock the necessary industry investment in clean maritime technologies, tackling supply- and demand-side barriers, as well as developing infrastructure and consumer confidence in clean maritime technologies.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.17: The satellite, named Lunar Pathfinder, will be vital for the planned return missions to the Moon. Built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and supported by £11.6 million in UK Space Agency funding via the European Space Agency (ESA), the satellite will also allow greater freedom for rovers operating on the far side of the Moon, allowing them to manoeuvre out of sight of their lander…..
#AceDailyNews reports that GOVUK has announces that UK space company to build a satellite in Surrey by SSTL to provide the first commercial link between Earth and the Moon to establish link with the far side of the Moon
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:
Surrey Satellite Technology has taken Britain’s expertise in navigation and telecommunications to the next level. Having already delivered state-of-the-art communications services to the International Space Station, UK technology will now help sustainable return to the Moon for the first time in nearly 50 years.
By investing in our space sector, including £11.6m today for the Lunar Pathfinder satellite, we are helping UK companies to support major international missions, firmly securing our place as a world-leading space nation.
Due to the proximity of the Lunar Pathfinder spacecraft to Earth, the service will also facilitate missions on the near side of the Moon, providing customers with faster transfers of data while keeping their costs down.
In May 2021, the UK Space Agency announced that SSTL, along with Inmarsat and MDA UK, had been selected to lead a study under ESA’s Moonlight initiative. The study set out the infrastructure required for the consortium to deliver a constellation of Lunar communication and navigation satellites.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.17: This decision is based on there being far more information available on the virus and what makes individuals more or less vulnerable, the success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and the emergence of proven treatments, such as dexamethasone and tocilizumab, to support improved outcomes in clinical care pathways.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk reports on the Shielding Programme: People previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable will not be advised to shield again, as the government agrees to end the requirement for centralised guidance for these groups following expert clinical advice. The closure of the shielding programme follows a pause to shielding guidance in place since 1 April 2021……
Those previously on the Shielded Patient List will receive a letter from the government in the coming days to inform them of this decision.
Shielding was introduced at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the few interventions available to support those who were considered to be most at risk of serious illness from the virus.
While this was the right decision at the time to protect the most vulnerable during the initial waves of the virus when little was known about the virus and risk characteristics, shielding advice was extremely restrictive and for some, had a significant impact on people’s lives and their mental and physical wellbeing.
Since 19 July, the guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people has been to follow the same advice as the rest of the population, with the suggestion of additional precautions people may wish to take. Research and evaluation for some individual clinical groups will continue.
This will move the country towards the situation pre-COVID-19, where people managed their own conditions with their health professionals, who know the needs of their individual patients best.
For some who may have a reduced immune response – for example those who are immunocompromised or have particular cancers such as blood (haematological) malignancies – and who are at risk from infectious diseases more generally, a return to routine individual advice from relevant specialists is now recommended.
The government will continue to assess the situation and the risks posed by COVID-19 and, based on clinical advice, will respond accordingly to keep the most vulnerable safe. Individuals should consider advice from their health professional on whether additional precautions are right for them.
People aged over 16 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 will also be prioritised for booster vaccinations, as well as adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals. This will ensure the protection the vaccines provide will be maintained over the winter months.
Vaccinations as part of a booster programme will begin from next week and the NHS will contact people directly to let them know when it is their turn.
Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, Jenny Harries, said:
Since the start of the pandemic, the NHS has administered millions of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, which is why those who were originally considered clinically extremely vulnerable have, since step 4 (19 July), been advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else.
Because of this progress, the government does not expect to have to issue shielding advice to this large group again, but will continue to assess the risks to the most vulnerable from COVID-19.
Those patients who are at risk from infectious diseases more generally – for example patients with blood cancers – and who can also remain less protected after other vaccinations, may wish to discuss this with their specialist as part of their routine care.
I would urge everyone else to follow the guidance and continue with the precautions that make you feel safe.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.16: I’m delighted to join President Biden and Prime Minister Morrison to announce that the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States are creating a new trilateral defence partnership, known as AUKUS, with the aim of working hand-in-glove to preserve security and stability in the Indo-Pacific…..
#AceDailyNews reports on the GOVUK PM Boris Johnson Statement on ‘AUUKUS’ Partnership’ announced on the 15 September 2021 to work together with Australia & United States to provide a tri-lateral defence partnership
We are opening a new chapter in our friendship, and the first task of this partnership will be to help Australia acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, emphasising of course that the submarines in question will be powered by nuclear reactors, not armed with nuclear weapons, and our work will be fully in line with our non-proliferation obligations.
This will be one of the most complex and technically demanding projects in the world, lasting for decades and requiring the most advanced technology.
It will draw on the expertise that the UK has acquired over generations, dating back to the launch of the Royal Navy’s first nuclear submarine over 60 years ago.
And together with the other opportunities from AUKUS, creating hundreds of highly skilled jobs across the United Kingdom – including in Scotland, the North of England and the Midlands – taking forward this Government’s driving purpose of levelling up across the whole country.
We will have a new opportunity to reinforce Britain’s place at the leading edge of science and technology, strengthening our national expertise.
And perhaps most significantly, the UK, Australia and the US will be joined even more closely together.
Reflecting the measure of trust between us.
The depth of our friendship.
And the enduring strength of our shared values of freedom and democracy.
Only a handful of countries possess nuclear-powered submarines.
And it is a momentous decision for any nation to acquire this formidable capability.
And perhaps equally momentous for any other state to come to its aid.
But Australia is one of our oldest friends, a kindred nation and a fellow democracy, and a natural partner in this great enterprise.
Now the UK will embark on this project alongside our allies, making the world safer and generating jobs across the United Kingdom.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.15: Thanks to the phenomenal success of the vaccination programme, the data continues to show the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths has weakened significantly…..
#CoronavirusNewsDesk reports that GOVUK Prime Minister has set out the autumn and winter #COVID19 plan with emphasis also on a Plan B should cases overwhelm the NHS
Boosters, testing and refreshed public health advice will help keep the virus under control in the coming months
Plan B prepared to protect NHS if necessary
PM continues to warn the pandemic is not over and public need to remain vigilant
The Prime Minister has today set out the government’s plan to manage Covid throughout autumn and winter.
In England, the number of hospital admissions with Covid has remained relatively stable over the last month.
And although deaths increased at the beginning of the summer, they have remained far below the levels in either of the previous waves.
Over autumn and winter, the government will aim to sustain this progress through:
Building our defences through pharmaceutical interventions
Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission
Supporting the NHS and social care
Advising people on how to protect themselves and others
Pursuing an international approach
Vaccines will continue to be our first line of defence. All those who were vaccinated during Phase 1 of the vaccine programme (priority groups 1 to 9) will be offered booster jabs from this month – to boost immunity amongst the most vulnerable groups during winter.
The Test, Trace and Isolate programme will continue its important work, with symptomatic PCR testing continuing throughout the autumn and winter.
Lateral flow tests will also remain free of charge but at a later stage, as our response to the virus changes, this will end and individuals and businesses will be expected to bear the cost. The government will engage widely on this before any changes are made.
The legal obligation to self-isolate for those who have tested positive and their unvaccinated contacts will continue, and the financial support payment for those self-isolating on certain benefits will continue in its current format until the end of March.
Our NHS will continue to get the support it needs, with an extra £5.4 billion recently announced for the next 6 months alone for the Covid response.
The public will be offered continued guidance on how to protect themselves and each other – including letting fresh air in, wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed place where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, getting testing and self-isolating if required.
Our tough border policy will remain in place and genomic sequencing capability will be increased to help scientists update our vaccines to defeat new variants.
As the PM also set out, autumn and winter could pose renewed challenges and it is difficult to predict the path of the virus with certainty.
So as the public would expect, there will be a range of ‘Plan B’ measures kept under review to help control transmission of the virus while minimising economic and social damage.
Plan B would include:
Introducing mandatory vaccine only Covid status certification in certain, riskier settings.
Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings, such as public transport and shops.
Communicating clearly and urgently to the public if the risk level increases.
The government could also consider asking people to work from home again if necessary, but a final decision on this would be made at the time, dependent on the latest data – recognising the extra disruption this causes to individuals and businesses.
Ministers would only decide to implement these measures if necessary, and if a range of metrics and indicators mean the NHS is at risk of becoming overwhelmed.
Plan B recognises the success of our vaccination programme – meaning smaller interventions which are far less disruptive can have a much bigger impact on reducing the spread.
The Prime Minister committed to taking whatever action is necessary to protect the NHS, but stressed his belief that the combined efforts of the public and the vaccination programme mean we can avoid plan B and protect our freedoms in the coming months.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.14: Details of how the UK will get more electricity from renewable sources will be published today (Monday, 13 September), as the Government announces the biggest-ever round of its flagship renewable energy scheme.
#AceDailyNews reports that details of how the UK will get more electricity from renewable sources will be published, Monday as the Government announces the biggest-ever round of its flagship renewable energy scheme more soon ….
Latest round of support for businesses aims to secure record extra renewable energy capacity
Offshore wind backed by £200 million with additional £24 million ringfenced for floating offshore wind projects
The Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme is the Government’s primary method of encouraging investment in low-carbon electricity. It is open to projects operating in Great Britain.
It incentivises investment in renewable energy by providing developers of projects with high upfront costs and long lifetimes with protection from volatile wholesale prices. This in turn ensures consumers don’t pay increased costs when electricity prices are high.
£265 million per year will be provided to businesses in the fourth round of the scheme, which aims to double the renewable electricity capacity secured in the third round and generate more than the previous three rounds combined. The additional offshore wind capacity resulting from the funding alone could power around 8 million homes.
Today’s announcement contains £200 million to support offshore wind projects. This will help meet the manifesto commitment to ensure the UK has 40GW of capacity by 2030. There will also be £55 million available for supporting emerging renewable technologies. £24 million of that is ringfenced for floating offshore projects for the first time, showing commitment to the development of this high-potential, innovative technology.
For the first time since 2015, established technologies, including onshore wind and solar, will also be able to bid. The Government is seeking up to 5GW of capacity from these technologies, with a £10m budget. This will support investment in all parts of Great Britain, particularly Scotland and Wales.
The CfD scheme has boosted the success of the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry. As set out in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the offshore wind sector could support up to 60,000 jobs by 2030.
The previous round of the CfD scheme delivered record-low prices and secured enough clean energy to power over 7 million homes. The scheme’s competitive design also protects consumers and thanks to the investment of successive governments the price of offshore wind has been reduced by around 65%.
These costs continue to fall as green technology advances, with solar and wind now cheaper than coal and gas in most of the world. Ahead of the COP26 Climate Change Summit, the Government has committed to supporting green technology and the high quality jobs it creates to help the UK build back better from the pandemic.
Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
The Contracts for Difference scheme has helped the UK become a world leader in clean electricity generation and lowered prices for consumers.
The new plans set out today deliver on the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and will support the next generation of renewable electricity projects needed to power our homes and meet our world-leading climate change targets.
CfD contracts are allocated through a competitive auction process where the cheapest projects in each technology group are awarded contracts first.
Today’s announcement establishes Government support that will be available for renewable projects, along with levels of electricity generation capacity that are anticipated to be delivered by the fourth CfD round. Final levels of support and capacity could be higher and will be announced ahead of the round opening in December.
Updated guidance is also being published for onshore wind projects in England, to ensure local communities are given a more effective voice on local development. Renewable projects are subject to strict planning controls that afford protections to local communities and the environment and guidance will ensure communities are engaged with and are able to benefit from renewable infrastructure in their area.
Key points (£ budgets in 2011/12 prices):
Pot 1: Established technologies (includes Onshore wind, Solar and Hydropower):
£10 million pot budget
Cap of 5GW on total capacity
Maximum capacity limits of 3.5GW imposed on both onshore wind and solar PV
Pot 2: Less-established technologies (includes Floating Offshore Wind, Tidal Stream, Geothermal and Wave):
£55 million pot budget
No capacity cap imposed
£24 million ringfenced support for floating offshore wind projects
Pot 3: Offshore wind:
£200 million pot budget
No capacity cap
Contracts for Difference are 15-year private law contracts between renewable electricity generators and the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC), a Government-owned company that manages CfDs at arm’s length from Government.
Contracts are awarded in a series of competitive auctions, known as allocation rounds, which have been run every two years since 2015. In the auction process, the lowest price bids are successful, which drives efficiency and cost reduction.
CfDs give greater certainty and stability of revenues to electricity generators by reducing their exposure to volatile wholesale prices, while protecting consumers from paying for higher costs when electricity prices are high.
More information on how the Contracts for Difference scheme operates can be found here.
The scheme has delivered substantial new investment and helped deliver significant reductions in the costs of capital for some renewable technologies, such as helping to reduce the price of offshore wind by around 65%.
Alongside the Draft Budget Plan, the Government is also publishing today:
A Draft Allocation Framework, which sets out the rules for the fourth CfD round, and the eligibility requirements applicants must satisfy.
An Administrative Strike Price Methodology Note, setting out the methodology used to determine the maximum backstop prices available to individual renewable technologies in the fourth round.
Monetary support (pot budget) estimates in this notice, including the £265 million total figure and split across the three pots, are presented in 2011/12 prices in line with the Control for Low Carbon Levies. These figures are an estimate of annual support in the most expensive year in the first four years following deployment. Actual annual figures will vary over the lifetime of the contract depending on future wholesale electricity prices, and outcomes of the competitive auction process.
Information on methodology behind ‘homes powered’ estimates:
The ‘8 million homes’ estimate is based on the estimated consented pipeline for offshore wind (around 7 GW). Actual generation secured through this allocation round will vary based on the outcome of the competitive auction process, and given the large number of projects from other technologies competing in the round.
#AceDailyNews reports that GOVUK Parliament has voted on raising 36-billion investment through a ‘Social Care Levy’ to reform NHS & Social Care and how it will be spent and heres waht the PM & Tory MPs and others said to read below:
Responsible, fair, and necessary action taken to provide biggest catch-up programme in the history of the NHS and reform the adult social care system.
£36 billion will be invested in the health and care system over the next three years, to ensure it has the long term resource it needs.
Patients will benefit from the biggest catch-up programme in the NHS’s history, so people no longer face excessive waits for treatment.
Successive governments have failed to provide a long-term solution for social care. The system will finally be reformed, ending unpredictable and catastrophic care costs faced by thousands, and making the system fairer for all.
From April 2022, the government will introduce a new, UK-wide 1.25 per cent Health and Social Care Levy, ringfenced for health and social care. This will be based on National Insurance contributions (NICs) and from 2023 will be legislatively separate.
To ensure everyone contributes fairly, all working adults, including those over the state pension age, will pay the levy and the rates of dividend tax will also increase by 1.25% to help fund this package.
Every individual will contribute according to their means. Those who earn more pay more, with the highest earning 14 per cent of people paying around half the revenues.
Employers, who benefit from a healthy workforce and a tax-payer funded health service, will be asked to contribute so the costs are more widely shared.
This will raise around £12 billion in extra funding per year, to be invested in frontline health and social care across the UK over the next three years.
The pandemic put unprecedented pressure on the NHS. The number of patients waiting for elective surgery and routine treatment in England is now at a record high of 5.5 million. This could reach 13 million by the end of the year if left unchecked. Before the pandemic, nine out of ten were waiting fewer than 25 weeks in England. This has now risen to 44 weeks.
To fix this, the NHS needs to be able to offer more appointments, operations, and treatments. Rather than simply plugging the gaps, new, innovative practices must be pushed forward so patients continue to receive the best possible care.
The new funding is expected to fund an extra 9 million checks, scans, and operations. The NHS long term plan committed to increasing activity year on year. In recognition of pressures from Covid, this will now increase to 110% of the planned activity levels by 2023/24.
This is in addition to our historic settlement for the NHS in 2018, which will see its budget rise by £33.9 billion a year by 2023/24.
This is a significant, long-term increase in public spending, which will directly improve people’s lives.
Speaking in the House, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said:
You can’t fix the Covid backlogs without giving the NHS the money it needs. You can’t fix the NHS without fixing social care, you can’t fix social care without removing the fear of losing everything to pay for it, and you can’t fix health and social care without long-term reform. The plan I am setting out today will fix all of these problems together.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:
We’re tackling the NHS backlog and taking decisive action to fix our broken social care system.
This significant £12bn-a-year long-term increase in public spending will improve people’s lives across the UK – but our health and social care systems cannot be rebuilt without difficult decisions.
The new Health and Social Care Levy is the necessary and responsible thing to do to protect the NHS, sharing the cost between businesses and individuals and ensuring those earning more pay more.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said:
It’s absolutely right that NHS staff, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to care for hundreds of thousands of Covid patients in hospital, get strong backing to recover routine services and begin to tackle the Covid backlog.
The pandemic is still with us and we will have to live with the impact of Covid for some time, so the additional funding confirmed this week will help meet those additional costs, and give the NHS clarity for the coming years while delivering millions more of the vital checks, tests and operations that patients need.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said:
Our nurses, doctors and care workers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic in our hour of need.
But the pandemic has taken its toll – waiting times are longer than ever before and social care is under even greater pressure.
This additional funding is a critical investment in our country’s future – it will give the NHS the extra capacity it needs to get back on its feet and is a vital first step in the reform of our broken care system.
The Prime Minister has been clear that we cannot fix Covid backlogs without fixing the social care system. Taking necessary, responsible, and fair action, the Prime Minister has pledged to end the cruel lottery around social care costs.
Currently, families live with the fear of losing everything they own – including potentially a lifetime’s worth of savings.
Around one in seven must pay over £100,000 for care, with bills falling indiscriminately on some of the sickest and most vulnerable.
Thanks to the action announced today, no one in England will now have to pay more than £86,000 in care costs over the course of their lifetime. This is equivalent to around three years in care.
This will apply regardless of where they live, how old they are, what their condition is, or how much they happen to earn.
At the same time, the government will support those without savings – with the state covering all care costs for anyone with assets under £20,000.
Anyone with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 will be expected to contribute to the cost of their care but will also receive state support, which will be means-tested.
The new £100,000 limit is over 4 times higher than the current limit of £23,250, meaning many more people will be eligible for support than under the current system.
The overall system will be made fairer, to ensure those who fund their own care do not pay more than state-funded individuals for the equivalent standard of care.
The social care workforce will receive new training and qualification opportunities, so they have the opportunity to progress and improve, while providing an even better standard of care.
The Prime Minister is also clear we must address wider issues in how and where people are cared for. We will bring the NHS and the social care system in England closer together – so people can be better cared for at the time and place that is right for them. An integration white paper will be published later this year.
While Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own systems, we will work together with the Devolved Administrations to tackle treatment backlogs and improve care for our elderly.
An ageing population with increasingly complex needs is putting ever more pressure on the social care system.
So alongside providing a path to long-term financial sustainability, additional support for the care system is also needed.
The government will set out a detailed plan later in the autumn to enable Local Authorities and other providers to invest in technology, innovative methods of care and in their workforce.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.07: As announced on Thursday 29 July 2021, and as part of the second Global Travel Taskforce checkpoint review, the government extended the policy on fully vaccinated passengers arriving from amber list countries to include those who have been vaccinated in Europe (EU member states, European Free Trade Association countries and the European microstate countries of Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City) and US residents vaccinated in the United States.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk reports on the Summary of updates to international travel: Developments on international travel and changes to the traffic light system during the summer 2021 recess period…
Global Travel Taskforce July checkpoint review
These changes came into force at 04:00 on Monday 2 August 2021 and mean that amber list arrivals vaccinated in the US and in Europe no longer have to take a day 8 test or quarantine. However, they are still required to take a pre-departure test before arrival as well as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before day 2 after arrival.
Children (under 18s) who are ordinarily resident in the US or Europe are also exempt from quarantine and the day 8 test, the same as children ordinarily resident in the UK. Children aged 11 and over will still need to complete a pre-departure and day 2 test. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 will only need to complete a day 2 test, and children aged 4 and under do not need to take any tests.
Additional restrictions for France were applied on Monday 19 July 2021 due to the persistent presence of cases in France of the Beta variant. These temporary additional restrictions were removed at 04:00 on Sunday 8 August 2021 and the fully vaccinated policy now applies to France.
Unvaccinated passengers or passengers whose vaccines were not provided in the UK, Europe or US through Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), EMA and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccines, respectively, arriving in the UKfrom an amber list country are required to quarantine at home, provide a valid notification of a negative test result prior to travel and take a test on day 2 and 8 after their arrival.
The government will explore how to expand this approach to other countries, where it is safe to do so.
Further to this, international cruises also fully restarted on 2 August 2021. Passengers travelling on international cruises are subject to the same rules as other international passengers and should therefore follow the traffic light system. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice has been amended to encourage travellers to understand the risks associated with cruise travel and take personal responsibility for their own safety abroad.
Traffic light system review
During parliamentary recess there have been 2 reviews of the country allocations within the traffic light system, on Thursday 5 August 2021 and Thursday 26 August 2021.
The following countries and territories have been added to the government’s green list:
At 04:00 BST on Sunday 8 August:
At 04:00 BST on Monday 30 August:
Passengers arriving from green list destinations need to provide evidence of a negative COVID- 19 test result prior to travel and take a further test on or before day 2 of their arrival in the UK.
The following countries have been added to the amber list at 04:00 BST on Sunday 8 August 2021:
United Arab Emirates
The following countries and territories have been added to the red list, reflecting the increased case rates in these countries as well as presenting a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern:
At 04:00 BST on Sunday 8 August:
At 04:00 BST on Monday 30 August:
Passengers arriving from these destinations, irrespective of vaccination status, are required to self-isolate in a managed quarantine hotel, provide a valid notification of a negative test result prior to travel and take a test on day 2 and 8 after their arrival.
From Thursday 12 August 2021, the cost for staying in a managed quarantine facility when arriving from a red list country increased to £2,285 for a single adult and £1,430 for a second adult to better reflect the total costs involved. The price remains unchanged for children.
Testing remains an important part of ensuring safe international travel. The government continues to work with the travel industry and private testing providers to further reduce testing costs while ensuring travel is as safe as possible. The government has recently reduced NHS Test and Trace costs for travel testing for a second time to £68 and £136 for day 2 and days 2 and 8 testing packages respectively, to send a clear signal to industry and encourage a reduction in private sector pricing.
The Health Secretary has asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to conduct an urgent review of private testing providers to explore whether individual PCR providers may be breaching their obligations under consumer law; to report on any structural problems in the PCRmarket affecting price, reliability, or service quality; and whether there are any immediate actions that the government could take in the meantime. The CMA has also sent and published an open letter to providers of PCRtests on how they should comply with consumer law.
On 23 August 2021: The government also announced that, following a rapid review of the pricing and service standards of day 2 and day 8 testing providers listed on GOV.UK, more than 80 companies have had their misleading prices corrected on the government’s website and given a final warning, and a further 57 firms have been removed. The action will help ensure consumers can trust the testing providers listed on GOV.UKand only the most reliable companies are available.
While public health is a devolved matter, the government works closely with the devolved administrations on any changes to international travel and aims to ensure a whole UK approach.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.06: Global UK pork exports were worth over £421 million to our economy in 2020, reaching 75 export markets worldwide. According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, access to the Mexican market alone is estimated to be worth £50 million to UK pork producers over the first five years of trade…
#AceDailyNews reports that Mexican market is now open for British pork for the first time, which means a potential boost of £50m over the first five years of trade: British exporters can now tap into this brand-new market, which boasts high demand for high quality pork meat….
This is another success for UK food and drink exports, following successes in gaining access for UK beef to the USA, UK poultry, beef and lamb to Japan, and pork to Taiwan.
Defra Secretary of State George Eustice said:
It is great to see another market open its doors to high quality, high welfare UK produce.
Access to the Mexican market, with its substantial demand for high-quality pork, will be a welcome boost for our pig farmers and producers.
This is a significant development, which will reinforce our global reputation for quality food and drink.
As a world leader in animal welfare, UK pork is globally recognised for its provenance, quality and traceability. Through the GREAT Britain & Northern Ireland campaign, the UK government aims to raise the international profile and reputation of food and drink from across the UK and help more food and drink companies export their produce abroad.
Today’s development follows over four years of negotiations and inspections. The Mexican National Department for Health, Safety and Agricultural and Food Quality (SENASICA) inspected numerous premises throughout the UK during a visit which occurred in February 2020, which led to a decision to approve four processing facilities and four associated cold stores in England and Wales.
UK Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Richard Irvine, said:
The UK is proud of our high standards of food safety and the quality of food we are able to produce.
Gaining access for the export of British pork to Mexico represents yet another success for British Industry and continues to enhance our global reputation for excellence.
These inspections were led by Defra and the UK Export Certification Partnership (UKECP) and hosted by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), with support from UK national and devolved government departments and agencies, including DIT Mexico.
The UK and Mexico have committed to begin negotiating a new and ambitious free trade agreement this year, which will go much further than the existing deal. These negotiations will complement our accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP), an increasingly influential trade network of 11 dynamic economies spanning from the Indo-Pacific region to the Americas.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said:
This is a huge win for our farmers and food producers and I look forward to seeing high-quality British pork being enjoyed in Mexico very soon.
British businesses can look forward to the benefits of a new and ambitious trade agreement with Mexico which we will be negotiating this year, and wins like these are an important step towards our accession to CPTPP that will see our global trade hit new heights.
AHDB International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley said:
Today’s announcement is a fantastic boost for the UK’s pork industry and offers another potential export market for our red meat during a challenging year.
Pork from the UK is trusted and favoured worldwide due to its exceptional quality, high welfare and food safety standards. This new approval will offer a wealth of opportunities for our exporters and is a testament to the hard work of industry and government to open new markets as we look to the future.
Pork will join a broad range of livestock genetics that the UK already successfully exports to Mexico. Access for bovine embryos was secured in 2020, joining bovine semen, a market worth over £130,000 annually over the last five years. Consequently, our high-quality cattle breeds are helping to develop Mexican herds. In addition, we have a well-established ovine genetics export market from the UK, with award-winning rams and ewes being bred in Mexico.
Jonathan Knott, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Latin America and the Caribbean, said:
I‘m delighted that British pork can finally enter the Mexican market, after four years of intense negotiations with the Mexican authorities.
Once again Mexican consumers can enjoy these quality British products – and UK pork exporters have access to this important and growing market. Another success in our campaign to reduce barriers to trade between our countries.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.25: The study, OCTAVE DUO, will offer people who are immunosuppressed or immunocompromised a Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax vaccine to determine whether this will give a stronger immune response than two doses.
A new clinical trial will investigate whether a third dose of vaccine for people with weakened immune systems gives a stronger immune response than two doses.
Participants will be given either Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax as a third dose of vaccine
The government-funded study follows the results of the OCTAVE trial showing that 89% of people who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed generate antibodies, and 60% generate a strong antibody response after two doses
The £2.2 million study will build on the OCTAVE trial, led by the University of Glasgow and co-ordinated by the University of Birmingham’s Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit.
The OCTAVE trial has published preliminary data today showing that 89% of people who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed generate antibodies following vaccination, and 60% generated a strong antibody response following two doses of a vaccine.
However, 40% of people in these groups mounted a low, or undetectable, immune response after two doses, and the level of antibody response varies between the groups studied.
The level of antibodies required for protection from COVID-19 is still not known, and it is likely that T cells also play an important role in protecting people from the virus. These findings therefore don’t provide a conclusive assessment of the protection vaccines offer people with weakened immune systems.
Up to 1,200 patients who are already involved in the OCTAVE study or those with other at-risk conditions involved in parallel studies will be recruited to the OCTAVE DUO trial.
The OCTAVE DUO study, co-funded by the government’s Vaccines Taskforce and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and led by the University of Glasgow and University of Birmingham, will analyse in detail the immune response of this group to the vaccine and the durability of this protection. It will also use healthcare records to determine whether any participants are later diagnosed with COVID-19.
Initial results are expected later this year to inform the UK’s COVID-19 vaccine deployment in these specific at-risk groups. The trial will follow the patients to mid-2022 and offer more detailed information at that stage about the immune responses that develop in these groups.
The government is carefully considering the findings of the OCTAVE trial and will also consider any further appropriate advice – including from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – for those who are immunosuppressed as part of regular reviews of the latest data and evidence on vaccine efficacy and effectiveness.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said
Vaccines have built a strong wall of defence in the UK and this is allowing most of us to learn to live safely with COVID-19.
We know some people may get less protection from the vaccine than others, so we are planning for a booster programme in the Autumn, prioritising those most at risk.
This new study will play an important role in helping to shape the deployment of future vaccines doses for these specific at-risk groups.
A separate study by Public Health England in July which looked at antibody response and vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection also showed that those who were immunocompromised had lower antibody responses.
It also found that protection from COVID (vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease) for those who are immunosuppressed of all ages after one dose was 4%, but after two doses it was 74%, providing similar protection to those who are not in an at-risk group. Again vaccine effectiveness may vary by specific condition and severity of that condition.
Patients included in the OCTAVE DUO study are people with lymphoid malignancies, immune mediated inflammatory diseases (including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, vasculitis and inflammatory bowel disease), renal disease, solid tumours (including breast and lung cancers), haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, hepatic and intestinal disease, and primary immune deficiency.
Professor Iain McInnes, Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow who leads the OCTAVE and OCTAVE DUO studies, said:
It is hugely important for us to urgently understand the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in people who have immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, cancer, and diseases of the kidney or liver.
Our first study to answer this question is the OCTAVE study which has shown that there is a group of patients who may not mount a sufficient immune response.
We are pleased to now roll-out of the OCTAVE DUO trial, to investigate the effects of a third dose on this particular group of patients who have shown an undetectable or low vaccine response. We hope to provide answers to this very important unanswered question.
Professor Pam Kearns, Director of the University of Birmingham’s Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit which is co-ordinating both OCTAVE and OCTAVE DUO, said:
The pandemic has been particularly concerning for millions of people in the UK who have conditions or long term illnesses which place them at greater risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
Together with our preliminary findings from OCTAVE, this new study will be instrumental in helping inform how best to vaccinate patients with chronic conditions, and protect them from COVID-19 infection in the future.
Dr Rob Buckle, Chief Scientist of the Medical Research Council, part of UKRI, which co-funded the trial, said:
While most of us are relieved to be vaccinated to protect ourselves and those around us, today’s results investigating the outcome for people with immunosuppression will be of concern to the subset for whom the vaccine didn’t trigger a large protective response.
This new study of giving third jabs to this group is critical research which we hope will demonstrate a much-needed immunity boost or identify those who could benefit from other interventions.
One of the real strengths of the UK’s scientific response to the pandemic has been the way that we’ve assembled teams of experts to lead cutting-edge studies like this, to inform our vaccine roll-out and government decision-making in real time.
More than 89 million people have been vaccinated in the UK, including more than 47million people with a first dose (87.7%) and more than 41 million people with a second dose (76.9%).
Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, the dominant strain in the UK. The analysis shows that, across all adults, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses.
COVID-19 vaccines have saved around 95,200 lives and prevented 82,100 hospitalisations and 23.9 million infections in England alone, the latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University shows.
Further advice on vaccination, including on whether a third dose should be given to the immunocompromised, is not dependent on the OCTAVE DUO, the results of which are expected later this year.
Recruitment to the OCTAVE DUO study will be only from the cohort of people involved in the initial OCTAVE study, and similar studies.
Hospital study sites that recruited patients for OCTAVE: QEH Birmingham, Glasgow, St James Leeds, Imperial London (Hammersmith), Oxford, Addenbrookes, Southampton, King’s College London, Sheffield, St Georges London, Freeman Hospital.
Background on the vaccination programme:
The latest UK-wide vaccination statistics are published here and NHS England publishes vaccine statistics for England here.
The latest PHE analysis on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines is available here. Their latest study on the number of cases prevented and lives saved by vaccines is here.
PHE have published data on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines for at-risk groups here.
Visit the NHS website for advice on how to book or manage a COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
#AceNewsReport – July.23: The announcement by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick today (21 July 2021) follows new advice from fire safety experts that the government commissioned earlier in the year to investigate risk in medium and lower-rise buildings, which makes clear that there is no systemic risk of fire in these blocks of flats…
#AceDailyNewsreports that a GOVUK Announces a Major intervention programme from government and lenders to support leaseholders which is a significant step forward for leaseholders in medium and lower-rise buildings who have faced difficulty in selling, anxiety at the potential cost of remediation and concern at the safety of their homes and it comes following expert advice that the forms should no longer be needed on buildings below 18 metres.
Advice from independent expert group finds there is no systemic risk of fire in blocks of flats under 18 metres
States that residents need to be reassured on safety and recommends an urgent move to a proportionate approach to low and medium-rise buildings
Following the expert advice, government sets out that EWS1 forms should not be requested for buildings below 18 metres
Major lenders welcome the move, paving the way for EWS1 forms to no longer be needed, which should free leaseholders from cost and delay and provide confidence to the housing market
The report recommends that residents are reassured as to safety, and a more proportionate approach is urgently instituted, requiring action by all market participants.
A group of major high street lenders has committed to review their practices following the new advice; HSBC UK, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and others have said that the expert report and government statement paves the way for EWS1 forms to no longer be required for buildings below 18 metres and will help further unlock the housing market.
The government welcomes their support but is now calling on others to demonstrate leadership by working rapidly to update guidance and policies in line with the expert advice.
The expert advice was commissioned by the Secretary of State after witnessing what Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, has described as extreme risk aversion, which has left leaseholders across the country receiving costly bills for remediation that is not necessary.
It states that fire risks should be managed wherever possible through measures such as alarm systems or sprinklers, and that the overwhelming majority of medium and low- rise buildings (those under 18m) with cladding should not require expensive remediation.
The intervention is designed to reduce needless and costly remediation in lower rise buildings and is part of wider efforts to restore balance to the market, helping flat owners to buy, sell or re-mortgage homes.
Risk to life in blocks of flats remains very low. The number of fires in homes in England has been on a general downward trend for many years, reaching an all-time low last year. 91% were in houses, bungalows, converted or low rise flats, while only 9% were in blocks of flats of four storeys or more.
The government is already fully funding the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on all buildings over 18 metres, through the unprecedented £5 billion Building Safety Fund, and has been clear with building owners, lenders and the industry throughout that they must take a proportionate response to fire safety and enable homeowners to get on with their lives.
Today’s announcement – outlined by the Secretary of State during the second reading of the Building Safety Bill – demonstrates that the industry should now be actively taking an evidence-based approach to fire safety.
The move has been backed by the National Fire Chiefs Council and the Institution of Fire Engineers.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said:
Today’s announcement is a significant step forward for leaseholders in medium and lower-rise buildings who have faced difficulty in selling, anxiety at the potential cost of remediation and concern at the safety of their homes.
While we are strengthening the overall regulatory system, leaseholders cannot remain stuck in homes they cannot sell because of excessive industry caution, nor should they feel that they are living in homes that are unsafe, when the evidence demonstrates otherwise.
That’s why I commissioned an expert group to further examine the issue, and have already agreed with many major lenders that lower-rise buildings will no longer need an EWS1 form, and the presumption should be that these homes can be bought and sold as normal.
We hope that this intervention will help restore balance to the market and provide reassurance for existing and aspiring homeowners alike. The government has made its position very clear and I urge the rest of the market to show leadership and endorse this propionate, evidence based, safety approach.
There is a longstanding legal duty on the Responsible Person for all purpose-built blocks of flats to have an up-to-date fire risk assessment. Moving forward, where the Responsible Person has identified fire safety issues they should update their fire risk assessments to determine any actions required. This could include measures such as installing sprinklers or alarms and in exceptional cases, remediation to ensure buildings are safe and people feel safe.
To help with this, new guidance for the risk assessment of external wall systems will be introduced. The PAS9980 will ensure that fire risk assessments are consistent, proportionate to risk and actions to manage risk are cost-effective, and the Consolidated Advice Note will be withdrawn.
For buildings under 18m which do require remediation, the government will introduce a financing scheme so that no leaseholder will have to pay more than £50 a month for the cost of replacing unsafe cladding. Further details of this scheme will be set out in due course.
Welcoming the support from the fire safety profession and from major lenders, Dame Judith Hackitt said:
I am pleased to see the support and commitment to returning to an evidence-based proportionate approach to fire and building safety. It’s critical, given the significant – and in many cases unnecessary – impact this is having on people who live in and own homes in blocks of flats.
What’s needed now is for the remaining bodies and lenders to get onboard so we have a collective, fact-based system that is reflective of the reality of the situation and reassures leaseholders that they, their homes and their investments are safe.
CEO of the Institution of Fire Engineers, Steve Hamm, said:
The IFE supports the expert statement issued today. We expect this will lead to a significant reduction in the demand for the EWS1 process from mortgage valuers, particularly for buildings under 18m in height.
Today’s statement will support competent fire engineers to use their professional training, judgement and expertise to assess buildings based on professional appraisal of risk. This should enable a move away from the often risk-averse and overly cautious approach that has been seen in many cases.
We welcome the commitment of all parties to ensure a proportionate and evidence-based approach to fire and building safety for all buildings along with the increased scrutiny to be provided by the new Regulators and the gateway approval process, which we expect will lead to improved levels of safety, providing comfort and reassurance for residents and homeowners as well as the wider market.”
Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Mark Hardingham said:
“We fully support this new advice and welcome the challenge to those who are applying an overly risk-averse approach in many buildings below 18 metres. We expect this will start to redress the balance where disproportionate measures have been put in place to manage fire risks. We want to ensure that buildings are safe and will work closely with fire and rescue services to apply the advice for buildings in their area.”
The government has also set out plans for developers of high-rises in England to contribute to the cost of remediating safety defects in a major step towards ensuring industry contributes to righting the wrongs of the past.
A consultation published today outlines that the levy will be applied when developers seek permission to build certain high-rise residential buildings of 18 metres or more in height.
The money recouped would contribute towards fixing historic fire safety defects, including unsafe cladding, protecting leaseholders and taxpayers from shouldering the burden of remediation costs.
The government is calling for views on the proposed design of the levy, which was first announced earlier this year as part of multi-billion-pound package to fix unsafe cladding on high-rise residential buildings, alongside wider financial and regulatory support.
The government has also confirmed today that the Building Safety Fund will reopen for applications in Autumn for any eligible buildings that missed the original deadline in June, with more details to be published in the coming months.
The expert group members are:
Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety
Sir Ken Knight, Chair of the Independent Expert Advisory Panel on building safety following the Grenfell Tower Fire
Ron Dobson, former London Fire Commissioner
Roy Wilsher, adviser on fire reform, former Chief Fire Officer.
Very few fires spread from the room where they start. In 2019/20, 7% of fires spread beyond the room of origin in blocks of flats over four storeys, compared with 9% in blocks below four storeys and 14% in houses, bungalows, converted flats and other dwellings.
As part of the strengthened regulatory system set out in the Building Safety Bill, all high-rise residential buildings will have to have a golden thread of information, which will capture and protect all relevant safety information relating to the building.
The golden thread was a recommendation by Dame Judith Hackitt and will be used by the people responsible for the building to demonstrate its safety to the regulator throughout its life-cycle.
Full statements from lenders:
We welcome the statement from experts on building safety and note the assessment from the parties to the statement that there is no systemic risk from fire in medium and lower rise blocks of flats. Our expectation is that the existing consolidated advice note will be removed and, with the endorsement from IFE, this means we will no longer require EWS1 forms for buildings below 18m, and consequently RICS guidance will be updated in line with this advice. We look forward to these changes being reflected in valuations from our RICS qualified partners and remain committed to supporting affected homeowners.
We have seen and support the statement from experts on building safety and accept their assessment that there is no systemic risk from fire in medium and lower rise blocks of flats. This should remove the need for EWS1 forms for mortgage applications in any block below 18 metres. Our approach to mortgage lending and valuation has been and will remain proportionate, relying on the normal statutory process for blocks of flats having an up-to-date fire risk assessment to assure residents’ safety.
Lloyds Banking Group
We welcome the government’s statement on fire safety in multi storey apartment blocks and specifically its declaration, based on advice from relevant experts on building safety, that there is no systemic risk from fire in medium and lower rise blocks of flats. In particular, we welcome the government’s pledge to withdraw its consolidated advice note. We look forward to working with RICS as they update their specialist guidance, which should provide the certainty everyone needs. We also look forward to seeing the details of the government loan scheme that will provide residents support if they need any cladding-related remediation. We expect the government’s action will help further unlock the housing market.
#AceHealthReport – July.22: NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants, and dentists in England will receive a 3% pay rise backdated to April 2021 after the government accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) and the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Renumeration (DDRB).
Government accepts recommendations of NHS independent pay review bodies in full for this year
3% pay rise for NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs
NHS staff recognised for their pandemic contribution during an unprecedented year
For the average nurse, this will mean an additional £1,000 a year, while many porters and cleaners will receive around £540.
The government committed to providing NHS staff with a pay uplift in recognition of the unique impact of the pandemic on the NHS.
The independent pay review bodies considered a range of evidence from organisations including government, the NHS and trade unions in order to reach their recommendations.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts. We asked the independent pay review bodies for their recommendations and I’m pleased to accept them in full, with a 3% pay rise for all staff in scope, from doctors and nurses to paramedics and porters.
We will back the NHS as we focus our efforts on getting through this pandemic and tackling the backlog of other health problems that has built up. I will continue to do everything I can to support all those in our health service who are working so tirelessly to care for patients.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said:
I am determined to make the NHS the best place to work for all our staff and we continue to invest in recruitment and retention with over 45,300 more staff in the NHS now compared to a year ago, including nearly 9,000 more nurses and over 4,000 more doctors.
Our NHS staff have worked incredibly hard to fight the pandemic for over eighteen months and I’m glad to confirm we are accepting the pay review bodies’ recommendations in full this year, so staff in their remit will receive a 3% pay rise.
In addition, salaried GPs’ recommended minimum and maximum pay will be uplifted by 3% whilst dental contracts will be uplifted to account for the 3% uplift for dentists.
The reports will be laid before Parliament at 9:30am tomorrow morning (22 July).
The pay rise will be backdated to April 2021.
Nurses at the top of band 5 currently earn a salary of £30,600.
The DDRB were not asked to make pay recommendations for those Specialty and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors who have transferred over to the new SAS contract, or doctors and dentists in training, as these groups are in respective multi-year pay and contract reform deals.
The SAS deal offers doctors faster progression to the top of the pay scales with meaningful increases at each progression point. The introduction of a new senior SAS grade improves opportunities for career progression. The agreement also introduces safeguards and additional annual leave to support health and wellbeing.
GPs are subject to a five-year investment agreement (to 2023/24) between NHSEI and the British Medical Association (BMA) and therefore no pay recommendation has been sought for GP contractors.
Dentists will receive a 3% uplift. This is in addition to reduced requirements on the activity they deliver for full payment of their contract, minus agreed deductions, that have been in place throughout and a renewed commitment to reforming the NHS dental contract.
Uplifts to dentists will be passed on via an uplift to their contract value.
Health spending and public sector pay is a devolved responsibility and it is up to each respective country to determine how they respond to the Pay Review Bodies and what pay uplift to provide for staff.
#AceHealthReport – July.17: From September 2021, providers will offer the flu vaccine to over 35 million people during the upcoming winter season, including all secondary school students up to Year 11 for the first time. This builds on the success of last year’s expanded flu programme, which saw a record number of people get their jab.
#AceHealthDesk reports that GOVUK Launches Biggest flu programme in history to be rolled out for winter 2021: Free seasonal flu vaccine to be made available for over 35 million people this year see details below?
Millions more people could benefit from a free flu vaccine this year, as the Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid announces the most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in UK history today
School programme expanded to provide flu vaccine to all secondary school pupils up to Year 11
Expanded programme follows record 19 million seasonal flu jabs administered in winter 2020
Last year, 4 in 5 (80.9%) people aged 65 and over in England received their flu vaccine – exceeding the World Health Organization uptake ambition of 75%.
Working with the NHS, the government is preparing to deliver the expanded flu programme alongside any booster programme for COVID-19 vaccines as part of wider autumn and winter planning, which centres around protecting as many lives as possible.
During the 2021/22 season, which starts in September, the flu jab will be available to:
all children aged two and three on 31 August 2021
all children in primary school and all children in school Years 7 to 11 in secondary school
those aged six months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
those aged 50 years and over
close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
frontline health and adult social care staff
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:
Flu can be a serious illness and we want to build a wall of protection by immunising a record number of people.
With the nation getting closer to normal life, we must learn to live with COVID-19 alongside other viruses and we’re offering the free flu jab to millions more people to help keep them safe this winter.
The phenomenal scale of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is a clear demonstration of the positive impact vaccination can make and I encourage all those eligible to get their flu jab when called forward.
The enlarged flu drive will build on last year’s expanded flu programme, where flu vaccinations opened up to 50 to 64-year-olds and year 7 pupils for the first time, with the aim of offering protection to as many eligible people as possible.
For frontline healthcare workers and two and three-year olds, the highest ever recorded levels of flu vaccine uptake were also achieved last year. This year, all frontline health and social care workers will be offered the flu vaccination again to ensure they, and the people they care for, are protected.
Eligible groups are urged to get their free vaccine every year and to protect themselves and the most vulnerable people in society ahead of the winter.
As a result of non-pharmaceutical interventions in place for COVID-19 – such as mask-wearing, physical and social distancing, and restricted international travel – flu levels were lower than expected across the world in 2020/21. It is possible there will be higher levels of flu this winter, with more of the population susceptible given the low levels last season. The flu vaccine offers the best available protection against the virus and the public can reduce the spread of flu and other winter bugs by regularly washing hands, throwing away used tissues and practising good hygiene.
Alongside this flu drive, the government is preparing for a booster programme of COVID-19 vaccines and the Joint Committee on Vaccination (JCVI) and Immunisation has published interim advice on who would be prioritised for a possible third vaccine from September 2021. The booster programme – which would be designed to ensure millions of people most vulnerable to COVID-19 continue to have the protection they need ahead of the winter and against new variants – will be informed by the JCVI’s final advice expected later this summer based on the very latest scientific data.
The Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Improvement, and Public Health England have today issued the 2021/22 annual flu letter to providers, setting out plans for this year’s expanded programme. This blueprint will ensure GP practices, pharmacies and school-based providers are mobilised to begin administering flu vaccines from September.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, said:
The flu vaccine is safe, effective and protects millions of people each year from what can be a devastating illness.
Last winter, flu activity was extremely low, but this is no reason for complacency as it means less people have built up a defence against the virus. Combined with the likelihood that COVID-19 will still be circulating, this makes the coming flu season highly unpredictable.
We will be preparing for a challenging winter by expanding our world-leading flu vaccination programme to over 35 million people, saving more lives and limiting the impact on the NHS and social care.
Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS medical director for primary care, said:
NHS staff across England vaccinated record numbers of people against flu last year – a potentially fatal illness – and they continue to pull out all the stops to deliver the biggest and most successful NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme in health history, protecting their patients and communities.
Getting your free flu vaccine if you are eligible as well as keeping up good habits like regularly washing your hands could help save your life, so please do come forward when you are invited to give you and your loved ones vital protection this winter.
The childhood flu programme aims to protect children and contain the spread of the virus to babies and vulnerable adults they may be in contact with. The nasal spray vaccine is offered to 2 and 3-year-olds and children in primary school and Year 7 and, for the first time this year, secondary school aged children up to Year 11.