Health Secretary 'outraged' to hear paramedic was evicted over coronavirus fears

23 March 2020, 10:31

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The health secretary has said he is "outraged" that a paramedic was evicted because his landlady feared he would come into contact with coronavirus.

LBC's Nick Ferrari asked Mr Hancock about a paramedic called Joseph Hoar who said he was told by his landlady he must move out of his rented accommodation.

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In a picture seen on social media, the woman appears to tell Mr Hoar she was "super nervous" about having someone from the NHS living in the property as it was "only a matter of time" before he "came into contact with the virus."

"It's an outrage," the health secretary swiftly replied.

"It's illegal as far as I could see and it's totally ridiculous. Firstly we're passing a law to stop evictions of all kinds because a lot of people have sadly already lost their jobs because of the crackdown we've had to bring in.

"But the idea that because somebody works in the NHS they should try to be evicted is totally outrageous and I'm amazed that somebody did it.

"I'm shocked and it needs to stop."

Mr Hoar said he would not be able to work his 12-hour night shift if he was evicted, which would leave "one less paramedic on the road."

Matt Hancock said he was "outraged" by the paramedic&squot;s eviction
Matt Hancock said he was "outraged" by the paramedic's eviction. Picture: PA

Meanwhile, Mr Hancok was also asked if senior members of the Cabinet were considering moving into lockdown, saying: "We are prepared to take more measures if we need to."

He added that the government would look at all the available information before coming to a decision and if it shows people have not reduced their interactions since the last measures were introduced on Friday then stricter rules will be introduced.

"Clearly though, if there is still too much interaction then we are going to have to go further and they're the discussions we're going to have today."

The health secretary said he understood the impact this would have on people's lives and added he had personally been affected by not being able to see his mum on Mother's Day.

Mr Hancock was then pressed on the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to NHS staff and his promise to deliver to all NHS Trusts by the end of last weekend.

Despite the well-meaning motivation behind the assurance, lorries were unable to reach all hospitals.

The health secretary said he had introduced a hotline for people to call if they are on the frontline and are unable to get hold of PPE. He added the army had been brought in to help with the logistics of distribution.

"Protecting those who are protecting us by looking after us in the NHS is so important," he said.

People were also advised to avoid unnecessary contact with their dentists and should only go in for emergency work or extractions, rather than hygienic work or check-ups.

Mr Hancock thanked pharmacists and social workers for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.

He then reminded people not to buy more food and goods than they need because the country's food supply is "perfectly adequate". The 41-year-old said NHS workers were "heartbroken" to finish their shifts only to find empty shelves at their local supermarket.