Suffolk MP: NHS under pressure, but new restrictions not currently warranted

Dr Dan Poulter

Dr Dan Poulter is hopeful that further restrictions might not be necessary. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Suffolk MP and hospital doctor Dr Dan Poulter has warned the NHS is still facing serious problems because of the rising number of Covid cases - but feels there is no need for further restrictions at the moment.

Speaking shortly before Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Press Conference, Dr Poulter said he felt it was clear that there would be no need for further strict lockdowns like those seen in March 2020 and last winter.

Dr Poulter said the situation in London was particularly serious - but in Suffolk the situation was different as more people were vaccinated and seemed to be taking advice to take care.

He said: "The vaccination level is very important and in Suffolk the take-up has been very high and that does give a high degree of protection against serious illness.

"In London the vaccination level is much lower, about 60%, and that makes a huge difference. Also many people here are clearly being very cautious so that makes them much safer."

He could not rule out the need for more restrictions: "No one knows what is going to happen but as things are at the moment I don't think that is necessary.

"However that might change. Even so I really don't see there will be a need for a strict lockdown we have seen a few times over the last two years."

Dr Poulter said it was difficult to know what would happen next - there are indications that the numbers in parts of London were plateauing, but it was not clear what was happening elsewhere.

Most Read

And there are concerns that while the Omicron variant has so far mainly affected younger people, it was not spreading into older sections of the population who were more vulnerable.

But in Suffolk the high take-up of vaccines among everyone, including older people, could be crucial in keeping down the number of people who end up in hospital.

Dr Poulter warned: "The big concern is, of course, the number of hospital staff who will have to miss work because they test positive. That is the crucial concern that many people have about what will happen next."