Exclusive

Ex-Chief Medical Officer 'never asked officially' to prepare for Covid-style pandemic

30 May 2021, 12:50

By Seán Hickey

England's former CMO confirms that Public Health England 'did not prepare' for a Covid-style pandemic, but a plan for flu 'had quite a bit of read across' to the current situation.

The comments from Professor Dame Sally Davies came after revelations made from the Prime Minister's former aide Dominic Cummings that the UK was completely unprepared for the pandemic.

"There was a plan for pandemic flu that was a good plan and it had quite a bit of read across to the present Covid situation" the former Chief Medical Officer told Tom Swarbrick.

Read More: Matt Hancock did not ask experts to consider vaccinating children 'until recently'

While there were some aspects of Exercise Cygnus that could be adopted, Dame Sally Davies told Tom that "we did not prepare for a SARS pandemic," which is more similar to Covid-19 than flu.

Tom wondered if Professor Davies "suggested to Public Health England that that was exactly what you should prepare for" but she told him this was not the case.

"I never asked officially," she confirmed.

Read More: James O'Brien's analogy for people who 'still support' PM after Cummings' claims

Read More: Tory support slashed after Dominic Cummings' explosive attack on PM, poll suggests

"I asked unofficially a couple of experts 'should we' because clearly as Chief Medical Officer or as ministers we have to be advised by experts."

"All of that will be addressed in an inquiry," she told Tom.

Tom pushed the former Chief Medical Officer, pointing out that Exercise Cygnus "forewarned about a crisis in care homes" among other things. He wondered "what happened to that document and those recommendations afterwards?"

"I think we'll leave that for an inquiry to go all the way through that" Dame Sally concluded.

More Tom Swarbrick

See more More Tom Swarbrick

Ben Kentish

Swarbrick On Sunday with Ben Kentish 7/8 | Watch again

Exclusive
Former Director of the CIA General David Patraeus tells Tom Swarbrick that the UK's response to the war in Ukraine has been 'the manifestation of Global Britain'.

UK response to Ukraine war 'the manifestation of Global Britain', says ex CIA boss

Tom Swarbrick will be the new host of LBC's Drivetime programme

Tom Swarbrick to present LBC's Drivetime programme

Swarbrick on Sunday

Swarbrick On Sunday 31/7 | Watch again

The Russian ambassador told Tom Swarbrick the row over Boris Johnson's meeting with Lebedev is a "non-story"

Boris Johnson's meeting with Lebedev is a 'non-story', says Russian ambassador

Swarbrick On Sunday 18/07

Swarbrick On Sunday 24/7 | Watch again

Swarbrick On Sunday 18/07

Swarbrick On Sunday 17/7 | Watch again

Tory MP backs Penny Mourdant for her 'raw courage' in belly-flopping on TV

Tory MP backs Penny Mordaunt for her 'raw courage' in belly-flopping on TV show

'Tory members won't vote Rishi Sunak for PM due to racism', alleges caller

'Tories won't vote Rishi Sunak for PM due to racism', alleges caller

Etonian blasts Tories over 'absurd, subsidised' charitable status for private schools

Etonian backs Starmer over 'absurd' charitable status for private schools

Private school no longer a golden ticket to 'elite society' says Tom Swarbrick

Private school no longer a golden ticket to 'elite society' says Tom Swarbrick

Putin blockades Ukraine because he wants to 'create new migrant crisis through starvation'

Caller who illegally arrived in UK wedged between train carriages shares story with LBC

Exclusive
Sunak's former tutor admits he wouldn't vote for him as PM

Sunak's former tutor admits he wouldn't vote for him as PM

Britain must take in 100,000 asylum seekers a year, says immigration lawyer

Britain must take in 100,000 asylum seekers a year, says immigration lawyer

Tory MP backs Sajid Javid for PM due to his 'outstanding integrity'

Tory MP backs Sajid Javid for PM due to his 'outstanding integrity'

Exclusive
Jeremy Hunt speaks to LBC's Tom Swarbrick.

Jeremy Hunt backs Rwanda-style plan and hits out at 'unfunded tax cuts' promised by rivals