Hancock denies wanting to play God in pandemic by deciding who should live

Matt Hancock gets emotional at the Covid Inquiry

Matt Hancock has denied wanting to personally take decisions over who should live or die during the pandemic. Earlier this month, the former head of the NHS Sir Simon Stevens accused Mr Hancock of wanting to decide “who should live and who should die” in the event of the health service becoming overwhelmed.

Today the former Health Secretary had his opportunity to defend himself against the allegation. Mr Hancock hit back at the claim, saying the planning for ‘Exercise Nimbus’ in fact led him to decide the complete opposite.

He argued that minutes from planning for operation Nimbus showed that the NHS asked “how to prioritise when there is insufficient NHS capacity”.

“There was a debate around that as you can see in the minutes,” he added.

READ MORE: Michael Gove: The country was not well prepared to deal with pandemic

“I concluded that it should be for clinicians, not for ministers to make the decision on this basis, and that’s how we went on and proceeded.

“The minutes are really clear on that and that is also my clear recollection.”

Sir Simon Stevens made the original allegations in early November, leading to allegations Mr Hancock had wanted to ‘play God’.

In his witness statement to the inquiry, Sir Simon wrote that Operation Nimbus “to my mind at least” resulted in “an unresolved but fundamental ethical debate about a scenario in which a rising number of COVID-19 patients overwhelmed the ability of hospitals to look after them and other non-COVID patients”.

“The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care took the position that in this situation he – rather than, say, the medical profession or the public – should ultimately decide who should live and who should die.

“Fortunately this horrible dilemma never crystallised.”

Don’t miss…
Alistair Darling dies aged 70 as tributes paid to ex-Labour chancellor[LATEST]
Kemi Badenoch hints which US state could be Brexit Britain’s next trade win[LATEST]
Sue Gray’s son selected to become Labour candidate in winnable seat[LATEST]

  • Support fearless journalism
  • Read The Daily Express online, advert free
  • Get super-fast page loading

Mr Hancock also denied being a liar after both Dominic Cummings and Helen McNamara suggested he had been untruthful at times throughout the pandemic.

He accused this critics of making “sweeping allegations” against him with no evidence.

Mr Hancock also attacked a “toxic culture” in No. 10, and claimed the Department for Health had been a much happier family.

Hugo Keith KC asked Mr Hancock why “important government advisors and officials have concluded that the secretary of state for health in the maw of a public health crisis, the maw of the beast, was a liar?”

The former Health Secretary replied: “Well, I was not. You will note that there is no evidence from anybody who I worked with in the department or the health system who supported that.

“Indeed, where there have been specifics attached to any of those allegations, I have gone through them and I’d be very happy to answer questions on any of them.

“And then on a couple of occasions there were general sweeping allegations, which had no evidence whatsoever.”

Source: Read Full Article