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Leicestershire has truly suffered at the sharp end of covid. Its infection rates triggered its admittance into the first localised lockdown. Parts have remained within tough restrictions since June.

Making matters worse, it also endured miscommunication, secrecy and botched national planning, its regional politicians excoriating the government’s control of the situation.

So, as news of the vaccine arrived, surely Leicestershire would be at the front of the queue and not endure the same frustrations as it did first time around? Unfortunately, if sources are to be believed, neither expectation could have been further from the truth.

While the county was due to receive vaccines from Tuesday, last-minute decision-making is thought to have blundered that opportunity, with software woes and poor messaging among the alleged culprits.

A well-informed source told HSJ that after an invitation from NHS England to deliver a mass vaccination centre from day one, they were hastily alerted at the end of last week that plans had changed. Instead, leaders were left over the past few days to scramble together a hospital hub, projected to receive just a third of the patients its vax centre was said to accommodate.

NHS England has denied our sources’ reasoning and tellingly said that “every other designated hospital successfully understood” the protocols behind the vaccine rollout.

However, this unfolded, there’s one clear interpretation. Leicestershire’s citizens appear yet again to be victims of publicly funded incompetence, their patience unfairly tested by those who claim to know what’s best and only to their detriment. 

Rising fears

Covid hospital admissions in England have risen for four consecutive days, prompting fears about how many covid patients will be treated when the household-mixing restrictions are lifted.

Admissions in England have risen for four consecutive days to 6 December, following 16 consecutive days of a fall in this number. On this date, the seven-day rolling total for hospital admissions in England was 8,831. The increase is driven by rises in areas outside the northern regions, which have previously powered the second covid wave.

The rolling seven-day total of admissions has increased for seven consecutive days up to 6 December in the eastern region.

The South East has seen rises for five consecutive days, while London and the Midland regions have experienced an increase over four consecutive days.