Government scientists issue stark warning on Omicron as UK reports more than 50,000 cases for second day in a row. This live blog is now closed – please follow the global Covid live blog for further updates
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Labour’s new shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, has accused the government of failing to provide a “serious plan” for winter.
He told MPs:
Ministers cannot possibly believe that what we have been given today is a credible plan to meet these enormous challenges. If this were genuinely a plan about preparing for the winter, why does it arrive on December 3?
A serious plan to bring down waiting lists would have the workforce at its heart, a serious plan to bring down waiting lists would have clear targets and deadlines, and a serious plan to bring down waiting lists would recognise that unless we focus on prevention, early intervention and fixing the social care crisis, ministers have no chance of bringing waiting lists down to the record low levels we saw under the last Labour government.
Without a serious strategy to build the health and social care workforce that we need, this plan really isn’t a plan at all.
We are doing everything we can to strengthen our vital defences. One of our main defences is, of course, our vaccination programmes and we are expanding our booster programme, which hit the milestone of 19 million doses yesterday, along with delivering the largest flu vaccination programme in UK history.
Yesterday, we announced how we will buying a total of 114 million additional Pfizer and Moderna doses for 2022 and 2023, which will future-proof our great British vaccination efforts and make sure we can protect even more people in the years ahead.
We are determined to maximise the capacity of the NHS to keep elective services going over the winter months, so that people can keep getting routine treatments like hip surgery and diagnostic tests.
Today, I am pleased to update the house on a 700 million fund that we announced in September for elective recovery.