Coronavirus: Nick Ferrari grills Health Secretary about putting retired medics at risk

3 March 2020, 08:26 | Updated: 3 March 2020, 09:01

By Adrian Sherling

Nick Ferrari asked the Health Secretary why the government were willing to put retired doctors at risk of catching coronavirus as part of their battle plan.

39 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK but health officials are warning it's highly likely the virus will spread.

Nick spoke to Matt Hancock as the government launched their "battle plan" to deal with the threat of coronavirus across the UK.

The Government's plan to tackle a potential outbreak is expected to include urging people to work from home and bringing retired medics out of retirement.

Mr Hancock told LBC: "If an awful lot of people are ill all at once, then even though there is a record number of people working in the NHS right now, clearly it will be all hands on deck."

But Nick told him that elderly people are much more at risk from coronavirus and asked why he was willing to put retired doctors health at risk.

He said: "They might be elderly themselves, by dint of them being retired. So surely you're exposing them to risk.

"What sense can it make for a well-meaning matron who hears the rallying cry. She's in her late-60s and says she's going to help and then you give her coronavirus because you've called her into work. Where's the sense in that?"

Nick Ferrari grilled Matt Hancock over putting retired doctors at risk
Nick Ferrari grilled Matt Hancock over putting retired doctors at risk. Picture: LBC

The Health Secretary insisted: "That's a really good point. But we have that problem for health workers of all ages in the NHS.

"If this becomes widespread, they are more likely to come more into contact with it than general members of the public, so we are already taking measures and buying protective equipment to make sure that we can protect the staff of the NHS as well as possible in the worst circumstances."

Mr Hancock insisted that government advice is for people to carry on with their daily lives and said they are not recommending any changes for the time being.

Watch the full interview at the top of the page.