Caller tackles Jeremy Hunt over why UK didn't prepare for coronavirus

3 April 2020, 10:24

This LBC caller tackled Jeremy Hunt on why the UK didn't learn the lessons from Operation Cygnus and prepare for the coronavirus outbreak.

The government carried out Operation Cygnus to test the UK's readiness for a possible pandemic - and one of the conclusions was that the NHS does not have enough ventilators.

But despite this, a newspaper report claimed no action was taken, which has led to the country being under-prepared to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

LBC caller Mike challenged Mr Hunt, the Health Secretary at the time of Operation Cygnus, on why more action wasn't taken.

Mike asked: "Why was no action taken on the Cygnus report? Was it purely because it would cost too much money to implement it, so we just buried our head in the sand and hoped it wouldn't happen on our watch?"

Nick Ferrari was joined by Jeremy Hunt to answer listeners' questions
Nick Ferrari was joined by Jeremy Hunt to answer listeners' questions. Picture: LBC

Mr Hunt insisted the government made lots of preparations after the operation's report came out, responding: "The opposite was actually the case, Mike. We did a massive amount of work to prepare the NHS for this kind of situation.

"And I think we've seen over the last three weeks the incredible lengths the NHS has been able to go to.

"Perhaps the most important thing we discovered from that exercise is that we needed emergency powers to allow the government to act quickly and those have now sadly become law because of what we face.

"Internationally, the NHS was rated by an American thinktank as the second most-prepared system in the world for a pandemic. I think we have been very prepared.

"Of course that doesn't mean we've got everything right and the chair of the Health Select Committee, it's my job to hold the government to account."

Watch the moment at the top of the page.