Boris Johnson must appoint Covid-19 messenger, insists health expert

21 September 2020, 16:10

By Seán Hickey

Shelagh Fogarty was told that today's briefing hosted by Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance is proof the PM should not be leading future briefings.

"It was good to see the scientists giving the messages," said Dr Bharat Pankhania, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Public Health Medicine at Exeter Medical School.

He told Shelagh Fogarty that after Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance's update it has become clear that going forward "we need a different messenger."

"I feel our Prime Minister is not a competent messenger," he revealed. Dr Pankhania told Shelagh we need "somebody who knows the art and craft of communicating in simple language."

Shelagh had her eyes opened by the suggestions, realising that people in the medical profession "have to know how to do that."

Dr Bharat Pankhania told Shelagh Fogarty the UK needs an expert to give coronavirus messaging
Dr Bharat Pankhania told Shelagh Fogarty the UK needs an expert to give coronavirus messaging. Picture: LBC

Dr Pankhania urged the government that in any further briefings, information has to be clear.

"Make it clear, make it simple, make it easy to understand," he said.

When pushed on why some people may find it difficult to follow the messaging, Dr Pankhania told Shelagh "we've had inconsistencies in our messages" throughout the pandemic.

The UK needs "sharp, immediate, urgent messages" going forward according to the lecturer. When prodded on what he would like the Prime Minister to say going forward, Dr Pankhania told Shelagh he would rather the PM said "I've appointed somebody to do my public health messages."

Issuing a message to listeners, Dr Pankhania said "your little contribution will go a very long way" in fighting the pandemic.

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