News

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 22 January 2021

Media Summary

HDA Executive Director Martin Sawer speaks at IFPW COVID-19 webinar
International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers Virtual Webinar, 21 January

Martin Sawer, Executive Director of the HDA, was a panellist on yesterday’s IFPW COVID-19 seminar, ‘The Science Behind the Virus and Vaccines & Impacts on the Supply Chain.’

Mr Sawer discussed distribution of the vaccine through the United Kingdom, the cooperation between wholesalers and the NHS, and the importance of utilising existing supply networks. He reiterated that the British vaccination effort is built on established relationships, which has aided the distribution process.

You can watch Mr Sawer’s appearance from 00:50:06 here.

 

COVID-19 vaccine: Claims supplies ‘diverted from the North’ raise concerns
BBC News, Editorial Team, 21 January

BBC News reports that COVID-19 vaccine supplies in Yorkshire and the North East are reportedly being diverted to other parts of England.

The Health Service Journal reported that the number of doses sent to GPs in both areas – which have the highest vaccination rates among over-80s – could be halved next week.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and NHS England said their focus was on targeting priority groups, but some regional leaders branded the reported move an “absolute disgrace”.

When NHS England was asked about the HSJ report, a spokesperson said: “All available vaccine doses are being delivered to vaccination sites and every GP-led vaccination site is receiving a delivery this week.

“To ensure all of those people in the top priority groups can get vaccinated quickly, targeted deliveries are being made to areas where there are more people left to vaccinate in the priority cohorts.”

 

Parliamentary Coverage

Explanatory note on Medicines and Medical Devices Bill
House of Lords, 21 January

An explanatory note on the Lords amendments to the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill has been published. One of the amendments tabled, amendment 31, would provide the Secretary of State with a power to make regulations creating a committee to advise on matters relating to medical devices. The committee would cooperate with the Commission on Human Medicines and other bodies.

The Bill had its third reading yesterday in the House of Lords and will now return to the Commons with amendments.

You can find the explanatory note here.

 

Joint Inquiry to question Sir Simon Stevens on the NHS response to the pandemic
Health and Social Care Committee and Science and Technology Committee, 21 January

On Tuesday 26 January at 11am, NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens will appear before the Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee as part of the joint inquiry into “Coronavirus: lessons learnt.”

The session will focus on how the NHS is handling the current wave of the pandemic as well as lessons learnt from the first wave. The progress of the vaccine roll-out, hospital capacity and infection rates, the pressure on NHS staff, and the impact to other parts of the health service will also be discussed.

On Tuesday 26 January at 10am, the COVID-19 Committee will hear how the pandemic has increased the adoption of AI, automation, remote-working and e-commerce.

You can find a press release on Sir Stevens’ appearance here.

 

Asymptomatic testing to be rolled out across the country starting this week
Department of Health and Social Care, 20 January

Asymptomatic testing will be rolled-out across the country from this week, with the eligibility of the programme expanded to cover all 314 lower-tier local authorities.

  • Local authorities will be encouraged to target testing at people who are unable to work from home.
  • So far, 131 local authorities have signed up to the programme, with 107 already testing their communities.
  • NHS Test and Trace will also scale up workforce testing.

You can read a full press release here.

 

Full Coverage

 

HDA Executive Director Martin Sawer speaks at IFPW COVID-19 webinar
IFPW Virtual Webinar, 21 January

Martin Sawer, Executive Director of the HDA, spoke yesterday to the “IFPW COVID-19 Seminar: The Science Behind the Virus and Vaccines & Impacts on the Supply Chain.”

Mr Sawer discussed distribution of the vaccine through the United Kingdom, the cooperation between wholesalers and the NHS, and the importance of utilising existing supply networks. He reiterated that the British vaccination effort is built on established relationships, which has aided the distribution effort.

You can watch Martin’s appearance from 00:50:06 here.

 

COVID-19 vaccine: Claims supplies ‘diverted from the North’ raise concerns
BBC News, Editorial Team, 21 January

COVID-19 vaccine supplies in Yorkshire and the North East are reportedly being diverted to other parts of England.

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported that the number of doses sent to GPs in both areas – which have the highest vaccination rates among over-80s – could be halved next week.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and NHS England said their focus was on targeting priority groups.

But some regional leaders branded the reported move an “absolute disgrace”.

When NHS England was asked about the HSJ report, a spokesperson said: “All available vaccine doses are being delivered to vaccination sites and every GP-led vaccination site is receiving a delivery this week.

“To ensure all of those people in the top priority groups can get vaccinated quickly, targeted deliveries are being made to areas where there are more people left to vaccinate in the priority cohorts.”

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi later denied the claims and stated “no vaccine is being taken away from Yorkshire”.

According to the latest NHS figures, Yorkshire and the North East lead the UK with 64% of over-80s having receiving their first vaccine dose, compared with 48% in London and 13.1% in Scotland.

The HSJ said primary care providers in the regions could receive 100,000 doses next week, compared with the previous supply of 200,000.

When asked by Yorkshire Labour MP Jon Trickett about the HSJ story, Mr Hancock said the government was committed to ensuring that “everyone in the top four groups can receive that offer of a vaccine by 15 February”.

“Of course we’ve got to make sure that vaccination programme is fair right across the UK, and some parts of the country, including parts of the North East and parts of Yorkshire, have gone really fast early on, which is terrific,” said Mr Hancock.

‘Penalised for doing right’

The reported change to GP supply was criticised in the North East, which recently announced plans to open more mass Covid jab sites.

Martin Gannon, the Labour leader of Gateshead Council, told colleagues he was “doing everything I can to control my temper” as they discussed the claims.

Speaking at a meeting of the full council, he said: “We have, clearly, the very best public health network in the entire country. I would be furious, I think we all should be in the region, if we are being penalised for being the best.

“The second point is that I can kind of understand that we have to let other areas catch up.

“However, we have greater need and greater vulnerability in the North East of England than some of the areas that are supposedly going to be allowed to catch up.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness tweeted: “Please tell me this isn’t true. If it is, it’s an absolute disgrace.

“We have the best public health network/partnership in the country. Are they really going to penalise us for getting this right?!”

Dr Richard Vautrey, Chair of the British Medical Association GPs committee, said he understood that colleagues “will be frustrated” by the decision.

“But we also recognise that there is a need across the country to ensure that all over-80s, all in care homes get vaccinated and protected with the available vaccine we’ve secured,” he said.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the government has pledged to vaccinate everyone in the first four priority groups by the middle of February – including everyone over 70, care home staff and residents, and frontline health and social care workers.

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 22 January 2021

From Factory to Pharmacy

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