096) 28/12/20 – 23/1/21

Saturday 23rd January

. 5 “Major outbreaks of virus at three city care homes” – still big gaps in vaccination rates of staff and residents


p. 6/7 “With more than 60,000 doses administered, roll-out’s next phase begins”

p. 12 NATIONAL “New variant in UK ‘more deadly’” – PM

p. a19 “Appeal for vaccinators”

Friday 22nd

Pages 1 and 7 “Hospitals brace for a surge in Covid admissions”


p. 6 “Leicester back in top 100 for new infections” and

        “Military are helping out in hospitals”

p. 10 an item about the air ambulance with a plea for support

p. 12 NATIONAL “Bars ‘should not reopen until May” – Matt Hancock

p18/19 “MPs call for more jabs – and for reassurance on variants” – Jon Ashworth and Neil O’Brien

Thursday 21st

p. 19 “One in three discharged Covid patients back on ward within five months” – with high rates of serious chronic problems and death; study by University of Leicester and Office for National Statistics

Pages 1, 4 and 5 “Covid patients are dying in city’s hospitals every day” and “’A desperate tragedy. Behind every death…” – death toll at 928, nearly doubled since late October

Patient in their 30s one of Covid deaths announced today as local toll nears 1,000


p. 4 “No vaccine doses being wasted” – CCGs work with reserve lists for vaccination

p. 12 NATIONAL “Deadliest day in Covid pandemic”

 p. 15 another letter by G Albertella under “Postponing second jab ignores maker’s advice”

Wednesday 20th

‘Helipads for Hospitals’ collecting aluminium cans to form the base for a helipad at the LRI


p. 5 “Children’s unit used for adult Covid patients” – Glenfield PICU cleared for Covid ICU and children sent to Birmingham, and

        “Recruitment begins for Covid test centre staff”

        “Compliance checks to be made at supermarkets”

p. 7 “Spike in cases among over-60s ‘worrying’” and

        “95% of infections ‘soon new variant’”

p. 12 NATIONAL “UK records 1,610 daily Covid deaths”

Tuesday 19th 

Children’s intensive care suspended at Glenfield Hospital so beds can be used by adult Covid patients


Worrying spike in Covid-19 infections among Leicester’s over-60s


Drop in number of daily Covid cases confirmed in Leicester and Leicestershire


Worst coronavirus death toll in one day recorded in the UK


Mutant strain to make up 95 per cent of Leicester’s Covid-19 cases ‘within weeks’


Large jump in number of Covid cases in last 24 hours


        ”Hospital could be jab hub” – Feilding Johnson

        “Free taxi ride offer to vaccination” – for pensioners by ADT taxis

p. 12 NATIONAL “Restrictions could be lifted in March” – Nadhim Zahawi on lockdown

p. 15 a letter of praise on vaccination process and another on incorrectly worn masks

p. 19 “’More from minorities needed in trials’” – in various Covid studies

p. 19 “Tests show drugs raise the chance of survival” – arthritis drugs in trials at UHL

Monday 18th

Pages 1, 4 and 5 “’City hospitals at risk of being overwhelmed in next 2 weeks’” – with ambulances already force to queue along Welford Road toward Tigers ground

p. 5 “1,000 jabs in a day” – Leicester’s hospitals, and

        “Rapid testing centre opens” – at Coleman Neighbourhood Centre

Pages 6 and 7 are about hospital volunteers and calls to police about rule breaking


p. 12 NATIONAL “’All adults will get jab by September’” – Dominic Raab

p. 15 a letter by J Woods under “My fears for pupils who walk busy road each day” – air pollution

p. 15 a letter by G Albertella under “Second dose of vaccine should come quicker”

Saturday 16th January

Please take Covid seriously’: plea as shocking picture shows ambulances queuing to get into LRI


p. 3 “Testers knocking on doors” – Nether Hall, Thurnby Lodge, Rushey Mead and Aylestone


Pages 1, 4 & 5 a personal family loss story,

p. 8 “Weddings and birth registration put on hold” -County Hall

p. 12 NATIONAL “Johnson scraps travel corridors”

p. 15 two letters, one in praise of surgery staff, the other about lax treatment of rule breakers

p. 6 “GP practices now offering vaccinations” – county list, and

        “Every GP practice is now on the vaccine list”

p. 7 “Cases spike in city district” – Hamilton, with list of new cases for each city ‘district’

Friday 15th January

p. 3 a Covid-loss story

pages 6 & 7 “Covid-19 vaccination questions answered”


p. 8 one item on Covid fines and

        “Medics face battle to get school place for children”

p. 12 NATIONAL, brief “Transplants halted” – Birmingham

           “                  “High street pharmacies deliver jabs”

           “                  “4.46m waiting for hospital treatment”

 p. 22 “Smart way to allocate Covid jabs” – AI modelling, DMU

Three letters on p 15, all by frequent writers, about the rules, people ignoring advice and government inadequacies​

Thursday 14th January



p. 6 bits around lockdown and  vaccination

p. 7 “City hospitals report 56 more Covid deaths”

p. 12 NATIONAL “ICUs ‘may soon be at breaking point’” – Boris

p. 15 a letter by Suleman Nagdi under “Giving sincere thanks to all key workers” and

          one by Suresh Chauhan berating BJ

p. 21 “Air ambulance called to county incidents more than 750 times” – in 2020

Wednesday 13th


p. 12 NATIONAL and one letter on p. 15 are about Covid-rules fines and attitudes towards them

p. 6 “Hundreds of cases confirmed”

        “City’s infection rates at highest ever levels”

        “How we compare with rest of UK”

p. 7 “Concerns over surge in people not replying to test and trace”

 pages 8 and 9 the Covid experience of a GP practice nurse and

 “90-year-old offered jab in Birmingham” – with Manchester and Stevenage as alternatives

p. 9 “Leisure centres could be hubs” -Harborough District Council

Tuesday 12th January

Pages 1, 4 and 5 are about Covid deaths under “’People must realise that it’s not just the elderly who are dying’” and “’Death counts are up and…’”

p. 2 the story of a supply teacher catching Covid, ending up with 7 Covid cases in her family

p. 3 “Hospital could be vaccine hub” – Feilding Palmer, Lutterworth, could be re-opened

p. 12 NATIONAL “PM won’t rule out tougher measures”

 p. 15 five Covid-related letters:

John Wilson under “Have the jab, for your own safety and others’”

Jenny Joannou under “Vaccination process ran like clockwork” – Humberstone HC

Nameless under “Help wanted with Covid home testing results” – alleging poor instructions

Brian Coleman under “Tories more interested in propaganda points”

Sheila Pegg under “’Freedom’ campaigners need to be given lesson”

Nameless under ”Why are they scared of closing our borders?”

Monday 11th

p. 2 worries about overcrowded classrooms

p. 6 an item about alleged overcrowding at vaccination at Westcotes HC

p. 6 about which roads will get door-to-door testing

p. 7 about new ‘jab hub’ at Glenfield Hospital

p. 7/8/9/12 NATIONAL about fines for rule breaking

p. 7 “Graph shows hospital admissions rose dramatically with the second wave”

p. 12 NATIONAL, brief “NHS pay rise drive” – by unions

p. 15 a letter of praise for vaccination process at Westcotes HC

9th January

Pages 1 and 4 are about the Covid death of a health care assistant, aged 55

p. 2 “Please wear your mask correctly, not like…”

        “Vaccinations at supermarkets” – Morrisons

        “Three patients with Covid die at Hospital” – Hinckley

p. 3 “’Stop looking for any loophole and just obey Covid rules’” – Nick Rushton

         “Irregular deliveries slow down Covid jabs”

p. 4 “One in four city hospital patients is in with Covid”


        “Making 30-mile journeys to enjoy exercise is entirely wrong thing to do”

p. 12 NATIONAL “Virus in London is ‘out of control’” Sadiq Khan

p. 15 a letter by Mags Lewis under “City workplace parking levy would solve issues” – air pollution

 8th January

p. 5 “Rules on visiting hospitals in the city”

p. 5 “Arts centre among other venues to become jab centres by end of month”

p. 6 “Sharp rises in infections across city and county – and about half the cases are new sgtrain of the virus

p. 6 “Covid 19 testing team is back on streets

p. 6 “’Speed up the process with drive-through vaccination’” – Neil O’Brien

p. 12 NATIONAL “’We have 39 days to meet jab target’” – Simon Stevens

7th January

p. 5 “Six more practices offer jab” – with list of all which do so

6 “City Covid hotspots revealed”

        and “Schools in offer to be jab centres”

p. 15 three letters:

Julian Branston under “Boris Johnson proven to be liability as a leader” – response to a letter by        

                                        Ray Newcombe, esp. about  handling of Covid crisis

Elspeth Allison under “Efficient and wonderful when I went for my jab”

Juliet Bouverie, Stroke Association, under “Small changes can help to reduce stroke risk”

6th january

p. 1 & 4 “Half of all Covid cases in county new strain” and “Hopes that lockdown could slow spread of new strain”

p. 2 “County Covid hotspot to roll out rapid testing is revealed” – Wigston Fields -, and

        “673 new cases confirmed on first day of lockdown”

p. 6 “How your Covid rates compare nationally” and “Pub ordered to close for rules breach”

p. 12 NATIONAL “Lockdown ‘could last until March’” -PM

p. 19 “New Covid strain child fears allayed” – mostly no or very mild symptoms

5th January

Pages 1a and 4 are about the new lockdown,

p. 12 NATIONAL about the ‘Oxford jab’

p. 15 a letter by Lynn Slinger under “Delaying the follow-up doses of vaccine wrong”

p. 18 “Initiative reducing number of strokes” – by improving diagnosis and treatment for atrial fibrillation

January 2nd

on line –

Where Leicester and Leicestershire now sit compared to rest of England for Covid infections


in print –

Pages 6 and 7 all about the virus:

“Visitors not allowed on wards”; “Hospitals plead with public to abide by the rules”;


“Cases are rising: Here is where”; “How county has avoided tier 4”; “75 fines issued…”



p. 12 NATIONAL “Senior medic fears ‘burnout’ for staff” – Dr Adrian Boyle, vice president of the Royal College o Emergency Medicine

p. 15 a letter by Anna Cheetham under “Inching towards safety from killer virus” – unsatisfactory arrangements in Kibworth making the very old queue for a long time in the cold

p. 23 “Study hope for kidney patients” – slower overnight/during sleep dialysis to protect the heart

January 1st

. 4 “44 deaths linked to Covid in hospitals last week”

p. 12 NATIONAL “GPs blast ‘unfair’ second dose delay”

p. 16 “Residents at three city care homes to get jab” – first three homes in city

December 31st

p. 1 – 3 are about Leicester being in tier 4 and what it means, also “Christmas mixing likely to see more infections in city”

p. 12 “Vaccine approved” – Oxford – Astra Zeneca


p. 25 “Children’s hospital and Covid fund share £25k” – donation by Althea UK

December 30th

p. 12 NATIONAL, brief: “Boris urged to act” – by Jeremy Hunt, on funding social care

p. 7 “More GPs join vaccine roll-out”

p. 7 “Tier status reviewed as pressure on NHS rises” – ? city and county going into tier 4 today

pages 8/9 “County MPs reflect on the year Brexit was upstaged by Covid-19” – O’Brien, Costa, Edwards and Agar

 p. 12 NATIONAL “Calls to ramp up virus restrictions”

 p. 15 a letter by Jean Burbridge under “Why General Hospital plans add up to closure”

Conundrum: when is a closure not a closure?

The Leicester Mercury added a footnote to Saturday 26th December letter “Greater investment in our hospitals needed” as follows: ‘although it is proposed to make the Leicester General Hospital smaller, no plans have been put forward to close it”.………….

Indeed,throughout the 12 week ‘consultation’ on the future of Leicester’s (three) hospitals the University of Leicester Hopsital Trust (UHL) has argued that: “Under our proposals the General has a key role to play in people’s future health and care needs by becoming a ‘community health campus’”.

However, in the many months leading up to the publication of the UHL reconfiguration plans. it has become shorthand to refer to these as the “3 to 2”. 

I think avoidance of using the term closure is an example of doublespeak (language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words).

The UHL Trust onlycommits itself to offering/retaining the following services in future on the LGH site: 

  • a diagnostic and imaging hub (e.g. Xrays, ultrasound), for GP access
  • the outpatient only Diabetes Centre of Excellence
  • an accomodation block for administrative workers, education and training.

It also plans to relocate the Stroke recovery ward from its current building to the Evington Centre -another building onsite administered by the Leicestershire Partnership Trust (LPT).

But, the MAJORITY of the work done at the LGH, i.e. around eighty inpatient, day case and outpatient services will be removed and in future take place at the other two acute hospitals and in unspecified “community settings”.

The Consultation documents do not clarify for the general public that the LPT runs services on the General Hopsital site which are not being consulted on. Neither does the Consultation make clear that proposals for future extra GP services and “Community Hub” on the site will need further funding.

As an ‘acute’ hospital the General Hospital will be closed. The name you give to what remains is the answer to a riddle.

December 29th

. 4 “NHS trust programme gets second UK award” – “Autoplanner” for community nurses

p. 5 “Expert: ‘Herd immunity unlikely till summer’” – with vaccination

p. 12 NATIONAL, brief “Eating disorder rise” – big rise among children of all ages

pages 27 and 28 Health & Lifestyle give advice on chronic pain control when drugs don’t work and on keeping winter asthma attacks at bay

not NHS:

p. 10 “Delay schools’ return, teaching union urges” – NASUWT, with other measures to contain Covid 

December 28th

p. 13 “EU nations launch vaccine programme”

p. 15 a letter by Ray Newcombe under “All must sing same tune to beat the virus”

p. 15 a long letter by TOM BARKER under “Consultation over, but many questions remain”

p. 16 “Public thanked for their input on hospitals plans”

p. 18/19 “Key stress indicators among adults worse than at start of pandemic”