Ipswich MPs back public health calls for extra support

Tom Hunt, Dan Poulter and a vaccination

Ipswich MPs Tom Hunt and Dr Dan Poulter have backed the calls to get further support to reduce Covid in Suffolk. - Credit: Archant

Priortising support for care homes and driving further take up of the vaccines are among Ipswich MPs wishes as the county calls in national support to fight rising Covid cases. 

MPs Tom Hunt and Dr Dan Poulter have supported Suffolk public health chiefs after they requested the county become an Enhanced Response Area, meaning additional government teams, support and resources would be used.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said: "I think it's a good thing. There's going to be some additional testing going on and a really big drive in terms of vaccine.

"We need to encourage people to get a booster and 12 to 15-year-olds to get  their jabs - but there are still a not insignificant number of people who haven't had a jab at all."

The MP said he visited Ipswich Hospital last week to meet with the chief executive.

"My understanding was that all the Covid patients in intensive care were unvaccinated or partly vaccinated and also the majority of those who were in hospital had not got the vaccine.

"That shows how key the vaccine is."

The mum of a 12-year-old boy hospitalised for Covid, urged families to get their children vaccinated and support the temporary visitor restrictions.

Mr Hunt said it was a very different situation from before the vaccine, with only a fraction of the numbers in hospital, but there was still pressure on the hospital.

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Mr Hunt said it had been more challenging to get the vaccine to some communities in the town.

"The BSC Multicultural Services have done some really good work in reaching out to these communities, and if we can get some support from the centre and some funding, I welcome that."

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said care homes must be a Covid priority in Suffolk.

"We have seen some of the highest rates in England lately, particularly driven by some of the rates in secondary schools, and it has started to spread more widely in some communities.

"We need to get on top of the situation quickly and additional funding has been called for at an early stage.

"In my view, that's sensible forward planning, to make sure it's contained and controlled," he said.

Dr Poulter, who is an NHS doctor and former health minister, said: "Extra support for care homes is going to be required within the winter months.

"That needs to be a priority for the health and care system, because we know that the care sector is vulnerable to Covid." 

 He said support would be needed with things such as staff testing and safe visitor access.