‘Unbelievable slide sass!’ Matt Hancock retweets message saying NHS boss was taking a dig at Vallance and Whitty’s ‘complicated graphs’ at No10 briefings
- Sir Simon was introducing a graph on rising Covid-19 hospital inpatients
- NHS CEO said: ‘Sometimes the charts can be a bit hard to keep up with’
- Remark prompted a smirk from his old Oxford University friend Boris Johnson
- ‘Those are facts, those are not projections, forecasts, speculations,’ he added
A smirk played across Boris Johnson‘s lips as Sir Simon Stevens, an old Oxford University friend of the PM’s, said: ‘I have watched these press briefings and sometimes the charts can be a bit hard to keep up with, so I have just got one chart today that indisputably sets out what we in the health service are seeing.’
Sir Simon was speaking from Downing Street just days after Sir Patrick and Prof. Whitty were accused of browbeating the public with a barrage of doomsday charts.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock even retweeted a comment which praised Sir Simon’s ‘slide sass’ at the press conference.
Boris Johnson cast his eyes down and smirked as Sir Simon Stevens took a swipe at the ‘projections, assumptions and forecasts’
Sir Simon Stevens was introducing this graph on the rising number of coronavirus patients in hospital to justify the month-long national lockdown as he stood alongside Boris Johnson in Number 10
Sir Simon Stevens during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on Thursday night
Sir Simon said at the briefing: ‘What it shows is the number of patients that are being looked after in hospitals across England. At the beginning of September that was under 500 patients.
‘By the beginning of October that had become 2,000 coronavirus in- patients, and, now, at the beginning of November that is over 11,000.
‘That’s the equivalent of 22 of our hospitals across England full of coronavirus patients – those are facts, those are not projections, forecasts, speculations, those are the patients in the hospital today.’
A clip of Sir Simon’s swipe at his colleagues has been widely circulated on social media and was highlighted by Mr Matt Hancock.
The tweet Mr Hancock shared was captioned: ‘Unbelievable slide sass here.’
Many praised Sir Simon’s speech for its concision, one called it ‘the best communication at one of these press conference we’ve ever seen.’
Another said: ‘Clear data and clear message.’
Sir Patrick this week admitted he had ‘regrets’ over frightening people with his forecast of as many as 4,000 Covid-19 deaths a day over winter that was used to support the second national lockdown.
Number 10’s top scientific adviser made the concession during a select committee grilling he faced alongside Prof. Whitty, England’s chief medical officer.
Labour MP Graham Stringer asked Sir Patrick if he believed he had frightened people with the bleak deaths data presented during Saturday night’s press briefing.
The Chief Scientific Adviser said: ‘I hope not and that’s certainly not the aim… I think I positioned that as a scenario from a couple of weeks ago, based on an assumption to try and get a new reasonable worst-case scenario. And if that didn’t come across then I regret that.
Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty facing a select committee grilling over their forecasting earlier this week
Defending the dossier, he added: ‘Those figures were ones done by major academic groups based on those assumptions and, in the spirit of trying to make sure that things are shared and open, they are the things that we have seen [in the data so far], and it’s important and I think people see that.’
Prof. Whitty admitted the 4,000 daily deaths prediction was unlikely to come true because the modelling was a worst-case scenario based on a situation where no extra measures were brought in.
He told MPs: ‘All of us would say that rates will probably be lower than that top peak [of 4,000]’.
Prof. Whitty added that a figure of around 1,000 deaths a day was ‘entirely realistic’, without tougher action.