Responding to the Prime Minister's statement today, Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: “We welcome the Government’s cautious, phased approach to ending lockdown.

“It is right to make pressure on the NHS a key test: many patients have had their treatment cancelled or postponed while the NHS has been overwhelmed by the winter wave of COVID-19, leading to worry, uncertainty, ongoing pain and discomfort, and in some cases long-term consequences that could have been avoided.

“We know that only lockdown brings infection levels down in an unvaccinated population, and therefore that only lockdown enables the NHS to keep functioning. The roll-out of vaccines will fundamentally change this pattern, and will be a major achievement – we welcome the target set today of offering a vaccine to all adults by the end of July.

“The combination of the roll-out of vaccines and a measured, step-by-step easing of lockdown, gives patients hope that the worst consequences of COVID-19 can be put firmly in the past, and the mistakes of last year not repeated.”

February 22nd 2021

Image by UK Parliament on Flickr, modified under Creative Commons licence BY-NC 2.0.