In December, I wrote to Matt Hancock pointing him to the Office for National Statistics’ evidence that six out of every ten UK covid-19 deaths were people with disabilities. No response.
In January, I wrote again, pleading to him to offer vaccinations to this vulnerable group. No acknowledgement of any kind.
In February, I undertook a marathon bike ride to raise awareness of the issue. Nothing.
In March, I wrote again. I wrote to the FT. I recorded an interview with Cathy at Times Radio. I appeared on Radio 5 Live repeating my request and that it had been ignored three times. This time I got a reaction. A rather cross minister leaping to Matt Hancock’s defence.
Then at the end of the month, Jo Wylie announced that she had been offered a vaccination ahead of her younger disabled sister.
Oops, suddenly this is a potential PR problem for Government.
Immediate action by Matt Hancock and things started to roll.
My conservative [har har] estimate is that, had Government and, in particular Matt Hancock, acted on their own statistics in December – or better still, when the stats were clearly showing the scale of the issue – around 32,000 people with disabilities who died unvaccinated would have had the jab in time.
So to say that I’m delighted he’s been moved on is an understatement. What saddens me is that usually in these circumstances, the politician in question does a year or two on the back benches and is then reprieved.
32,000 deaths. And if I know that because it’s my terrain, then who knows how many carers, frontline workers and others died needlessly due to Hancock being otherwise engaged? I don’t want this guy anywhere near us in any capacity ever again. Go and do something different. Something worthwhile.