Awkward moment minister can’t answer how many NHS trusts are in critical measures

A minister may be adding “brush up on my brief” to her list of 2022 New Year’s resolutions after having a bit of an embarrassing time of it on the broadcast rounds today.

Speaking to Sky News’ Jayne Secker, vaccines minister Maggie Throup dodged questions about how many NHS trusts are in critical measures in a conversation about how the rapid rise of Omicron is impacting healthcare services.

She said: “To be honest I haven’t had an update this morning” before explaining there are a few contributory factors when it comes to crises in hospitals.”

Secker replied: “You’re the ministers for vaccines and public health, the government has put you up today to talk to us about Covid, to talk about the pressure on the NHS and to reflect on the last 12 months of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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“Surely in that case you must know how many NHS trusts are in critical measures at the moment and indeed how many people in the UK are self-isolating?”

It comes after six trusts across England have declared “critical incidents” due to staff members self-isolating because of Covid-19.

Healthcare leaders also say increasing admissions are putting pressure on services but Boris Johnson has ruled out further restrictions while acknowledging the pressure the NHS is under.

Throup didn’t seem to know about those in critical measures and instead responded by reeling off figures about how many people have been vaccinated until Secker tried to get her on the topic at hand again.

Elsewhere in the interview, Throup maintained that plan B was working.

“As you can see from the number of hospitalisations – it’s far, far fewer than this time last year. The vaccines are working. The measures to get people working from home are working,” she said.

Not her best performance.

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