Wirral MP calls on the government to make it easier for retired doctors and nurses to help with vaccinations
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07 Jan 2021
Margaret Greenwood MP has spoken in a parliamentary debate on the new national lockdown restrictions after MPs were recalled this week to vote on the measures.
The MP for Wirral West said that the recent sharp rise in COVID-19 cases across the country – around one in 50 people in England has the virus – makes it imperative that we have a national lockdown.
Margaret Greenwood used her speech to call on the government to deliver the vaccine and make it easier for retired NHS staff to help with the vaccination programme. This followed comments by Professor Martin Marshall, the chair of the Royal College of GPs, who said last week that tens of thousands of recently retired GPs, physicians, surgeons and nurses who are desperate to help out are being put off by the bureaucratic process which is preventing them from doing so.
Margaret Greenwood also urged ministers to step up and provide real support to the businesses and workers who will be affected by the restrictions. She highlighted the importance of extending statutory sick pay to all workers, including the self-employed, and raising the level of it, as well as stopping the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit that the government is set to bring in.
Speaking after the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said:
“We have seen a sharp increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 both in Wirral and across the country. Sadly Wirral currently has more cases per head of population than the average for England.
“We have lost nearly 600 people to the virus in Wirral, and my thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones.
“We all have to do everything we can to halt the spread of the virus, to save lives and to protect the NHS.
“As people play their part by staying at home, the government must do its job and deliver the vaccine.
“One retired clinician has written to me to say that he wanted to volunteer and give vaccines, but gave up trying to do so because of problems with the lengthy and convoluted registration process.
“The government must take immediate action to address that and to make it easier for those with valuable medical expertise to volunteer at this time of national crisis.
“The government must also make sure that vaccinators are given priority for the vaccine as frontline NHS staff.
“It is vitally important too that ministers provide businesses and workers with the support they need, invest in public health departments and protect the NHS as a public service.”
In Wirral, there were 695 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the week between 27 December and 2 January. This was well above the average area in England which had 518 cases. In the same week, Wirral recorded 2,251 cases overall – that was nearly 1,500 more cases than it recorded in the previous week. There have now been nearly 600 coronavirus-related deaths registered in Wirral since the start of the pandemic.