Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 16 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Intensive Care
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the national capacity of (a) intensive care unit beds and (b) ventilators is; what level of capacity he estimates reaching in the next four weeks; and what proportion of covid-19 cases are likely to require (i) intensive care, (ii) oxygen therapy and (iii) ventilation treatment.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 05 May 2020
Holding answer received on 19 March 2020

The standard capacity of the National Health Service’s critical care beds in the United Kingdom is approximately 4,000. The number of critical care beds available to the NHS has risen by over 3,000. This does not include further additional capacity being created in Nightingale Hospitals.

At the start of the crisis in March the NHS across the UK had access to over 8,000 mechanical ventilators. The number of mechanical and non-invasive ventilators sourced for the NHS has increased by over 4,000. These figures are expected to rise as we procure further equipment and products from the Prime Minister’s ventilator challenge.

NHS capacity predictors show that the NHS remains with sufficient capacity to meet and exceed demand. Modelling by Imperial College London has predicted intensive care capacity usage which can be found at:

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf

Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
Asked on: 16 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the guidance is for people (a) who are elderly and (b) with relevant underlying heath conditions on how they can reduce or minimise their personal risk of contracting covid-19.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 22 April 2020

Guidance has been published on social distancing for everyone in the United Kingdom and protecting older people and vulnerable persons. This includes advice for those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to be particularly strict in following social distancing measures. This guidance is available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

Guidance has also been published for people who are at particularly high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. This guidance is available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Letters will be sent out from Monday 23 March 2020 strongly advising those most at risk from COVID-19 to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks.

Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 February 2020
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Office for Tackling Injustices
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, with reference to the Answer of 15 October 2019 to Question 748, what the timetable is for the establishment of an Office for Tackling Injustices; and if he will publish the structural and staffing arrangements for that Office.
A
Answered by: Chloe Smith
Answered on: 07 April 2020

We are considering how best to take forward the work of the Office for Tackling Injustices in the light of the new Government’s domestic priorities, and the urgent necessity to focus on the response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
Asked on: 16 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the Government will estimate (a) the level of prevalence of and (b) rates of infection and immunity to covid-19 if symptomatic patients are not tested.
A
Answered by: Ms Nadine Dorries
Answered on: 06 April 2020

The levels of prevalence and rates of infection are calculated based on laboratory confirmed cases. Public Health England (PHE) conducts surveillance of COVID-19 infection using a variety of data sources.

These include surveillance of influenza-like illness presenting to primary care, surveillance of outbreaks in schools, care homes and other community settings. PHE and the National Health Service have also established a surveillance system that reports daily on COVID-19 infections in persons requiring hospital and intensive care admissions.

Plans are in place for serological surveillance to collect data on the prevalence of infection as the outbreak progresses. This will involve the testing of samples from different sources to inform the epidemiological characterisation of COVID-19 immunity in the population.

Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 16 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Government’s modelling suggests the peak level of covid-19 infection will be; how many people will be infected at that point; and what the confidence intervals are around that projection.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 03 April 2020
Holding answer received on 19 March 2020

The Government relies on modelling work undertaken by several academic groups, who report to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies through its various subgroups. A collection of modelling information which has informed decision making on COVID-19 has now been published at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

Grouped Questions: 29828 | 29830
Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 16 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish (a) the Government’s modelling of the delay to and reduction in the peak of the UK covid-19 outbreak (i) most likely to be achieved by the steps announced on 12 March 2020 and (ii) which would be achieved if additional social distancing measures were adopted as of 16 March 2020, (b) the assumptions behind the behavioural models on the (A) level and (B) length of public take up of measures and (c) the sensitivity of the behavioural models to those assumptions.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 03 April 2020
Holding answer received on 19 March 2020

The Government relies on modelling work undertaken by several academic groups, who report to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies through its various subgroups. A collection of modelling information which has informed decision making on COVID-19 has now been published at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

Grouped Questions: 29827 | 29830
Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 16 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Government’s modelling estimates the average likelihood is of a UK resident catching covid-19 in the next seven days; and what the estimated peak of the covid-19 outbreak is for (a) individuals who do not follow the Government’s advice on reducing the spread of the virus, (b) individuals who do follow the Government’s advice and (c) individuals who go further than the Government's advice and reduce their social contact.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 03 April 2020
Holding answer received on 19 March 2020

The Government relies on modelling work undertaken by several academic groups, who report to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies through its various subgroups. A collection of modelling information which has informed decision making on COVID-19 has now been published at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response

Grouped Questions: 29827 | 29828
Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 16 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the statement by the Chief Medical Officer on 9 March 2020 that, The risk is that if we go too early people will understandably get fatigued and we won't be able to sustain it over time, if he will publish the behavioural modelling underpinning the Government's approach to tackling the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 26 March 2020
Holding answer received on 19 March 2020

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has published the scientific evidence supporting the Government response to COVID-19, including behavioural modelling, available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-scientific-evidence-supporting-the-uk-government-response

Grouped Questions: 29303
Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
Asked on: 16 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is the Government’s objective to establish herd immunity against covid-19; and what level of infection is required for that immunity to be established.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 24 March 2020

Herd immunity is not part of the Government action plan but is a natural by-product of an epidemic.

Our aims are to save lives, protect the most vulnerable, and relieve pressure on the National Health Service. We have now moved out of the contain phase and into delay, and we have experts working round the clock.

Every measure that we have or will introduce will be based on the best scientific evidence.

We are still learning about the properties of the new coronavirus so we cannot yet say with accuracy at what level of infection herd immunity might be realised.

Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
Asked on: 16 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Disease Control
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how the Government will assess whether the steps being taken are delaying the spread of covid-19 in the absence of full testing.
A
Answered by: Jo Churchill
Answered on: 24 March 2020

Since February, the Government has had a sophisticated surveillance programme in place to test for COVID-19.

In addition to having expanded testing more generally, and continuing to do so, Public Health England specifically tests a sample of the population in order to assess the level of virus circulating in the community.

This helps us to understand what proportion of the population is affected at a given time and is used by modellers to estimate where we are in the pandemic and to assess the impact of the steps that have been taken.

Q
Asked by Yvette Cooper
(Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford)
Asked on: 11 March 2020
Department of Health and Social Care
Coronavirus: Carers
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral statement on Coronavirus, 3 March 2020, Official Report, column 771, what steps he is taking to support people that are dependent on informal social care from family members in the event that covid-19 results in those family members (a) unable to and (b) advised not to provide that care.
A
Answered by: Helen Whately
Answered on: 19 March 2020

Public Health England (PHE) has published guidance for vulnerable groups which is available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people

COVID-19 guidance for residential care, supported living and home care is published at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance

The Stay at Home guidance on self-isolation can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

The Department is working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and local authorities to make sure there will be care for vulnerable individuals who normally rely on informal care in the event that family members are unable to or are advised not to provide that care.

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