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Minister insists Plan B is ‘working’ despite NHS trusts declaring critical incidents

Plan B restrictions are “working” to contain the spread of the omicron variant, the vaccines minister has insisted, despite numerous hospitals across the country declaring critical incidents.

Questioned whether further restrictions may be needed to curb omicron, Maggie Throup told Sky News: “No, Plan B is working, as you can see from the number of hospitalisations – it’s far, far fewer than this time last year… it’s important that we follow the data.”

Ms Throup’s optimism was echoed by Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, who said there are “glimmers of hope” in the hospitalisation figures. He noted that hospital admissions for coronavirus increased by 9 to 15 per cent between December 27 and 29, but in the last three days the rate had dropped to around 3 per.

“There are a number of chief executives who are saying, if we were going to see that surge, we probably would have seen the beginning of it up to now.”  

However, six NHS trusts have declared critical incidents in recent days – meaning that hospital bosses are concerned that they will not be able to provide essential services.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said the staffing situation in hospitals is “almost impossible” as leaders try to manage their resources.

He told Times Radio that, for many, “the most pressing element of all” is the number of staff who are absent due to Covid.

​​Follow the latest updates below.



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