Coronavirus could be ‘useful’ in killing off NHS bed blockers, says ex official

A former Scottish government official claims a coronavirus pandemic in the UK would be 'quite useful' in killing off hospital bed blockers.

Professor June Andrews has admitted her comments were "horrific" but has stood by her opinion over the consequences of a large-scale outbreak of the deadly virus.

The former director of the Scottish Government’s Centre for Change and Innovation was speaking at Holyrood's public audit committee when she made the controversial comments.

According to The Herald , she said: "If you’re on the board of a care home company, a pandemic is one of things you think about as a potential damage to your business because of the number of older people it’s going to take out of the system.

“Curiously, ripping off the sticking plaster, in a hospital that has 92 delayed discharges, a pandemic would be quite useful because your hospital would work because these people would be taken out of the system.”

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She added: “That sounds like it’s a horrific thing to say – but it is the case that somehow or other, we’ve put people in the wrong places by not having the kind of strategic views that we should have.

“That means that politicians who don’t want to think about bad things before the election, need to think about putting income tax up even higher in order to pay for more care in care homes and they need to think about whether they reinstate geriatric hospitals.”

Coronavirus continues to spread across the UK, with the total confirmed cases now at 163, with 47 more patients diagnosed overnight, the biggest day-on-day increase so far.

A man in his 80s, who had underlying health conditions, is feared to have become  the second person to die in the UK.

He was being treated at Milton Keynes Hospital in Buckinghamshire and samples taken from him are being tested for Covid-19.

It comes a day after a woman in her 70s, who also had pre-existing medical conditions, became the first to die after catching the flu-like virus, which has now infected more than 100,000 people around the world.

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Scotland reported five more cases and two  British Airways baggage handlers, who work at Heathrow Airport, have tested positive  for the killer bug.

As of 7am on Friday, 20,338 people have been tested in the UK, with 163 confirmed as positive and 20,175 negative.

There has been only one confirmed death, the Department of Health said. It is understood that the elderly man who who died at Milton Keynes Hospital are currently being investigated for coronavirus.

A British man died from the virus in Japan last month after catching it on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Most of the UK's cases (147) have been in England, while Scotland has had 11, Northern Ireland three and Wales two.

Five new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Scotland, health officials said on Friday.

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