1 Lord Trimble debates involving the Department of Health and Social Care

Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020

Lord Trimble Excerpts
Wednesday 4th November 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Trimble Portrait Lord Trimble (Con)
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My Lords, I should point out at the outset that there is no significance whatsoever in the positioning of my name on the Order Paper. Although it is set up that way, I have nothing to do with the wind-up of this debate.

I have a sad story to tell. Before the debate started, I was looking for somewhere to sit, which is difficult in this building at the moment. At that point, some of the helpers took pity on me and told me that I could sit in this seat. As they had arranged me for me to get that seat, the only decent thing I could do was sit on it during the debate. It has been a very interesting exercise, sitting here over the last couple of hours and seeing the Government’s case disintegrate. We now have to do the more difficult job of finding ways of steering them back to doing something sensible, which is not happening at the moment. There are a couple of things on my mind, but I will try to keep to three minutes. I appreciate the cheerful wave that came from the other side.

Going back to the first situation we had; there was one reference during the debate to the Nightingale hospitals. We were very proud to see them created so quickly. I do not know the full number now—about half a dozen of them—but presumably, the designers had in mind that people would then work in them. I want to ask the Minister: what has happened to the Nightingale hospitals? They are sitting empty, I believe. Are they ever to be used? Are there any staff in line for them? If these hospitals were put into use, there would be a considerable increase in what is available and can be done. Think about that; we could do a lot more for people in care homes, and many other worthwhile things. However, it is really sad to think that those interesting buildings are just sitting there, not doing anything.

I noticed an article in a newspaper the other day by Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive officer of NHS England, where he did not mention Nightingale hospitals at all. I wonder: is this just another case of the health service imposing its view on the situation, irrespective of what might be valuable or otherwise? The position in Liverpool also caught my eye; it is very encouraging that the situation in Liverpool is okay. We should bear that in mind.

I did say I would keep to three minutes and it has been signalled to me from the Front Bench that I should stop at his point. I was going to make another point but you never know, I may find an opportunity to do that later.