A grandfather with a tumor has accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of throwing vulnerable people “under the bus” to hold the Tory party together.
The granddad who was told in August he may only have a year to live because of a brain tumor has accused the prime minister of putting party over lives of those who need help the most.
Paul Simpson, from Rochester, Kent, was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer last summer. He was told he may have just 12 to 15 months to live.
After having the tumor operated on, Mr Simpson, 64, underwent extensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which he still receives five times a month. His treatments place him in the extremely clinically vulnerable category.
After Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that he was set to lift Covid requirements including the legal necessity to self-isolate after a positive test, Mr Simpson is concerned about the effect it will have on his ability to lead a normal life in the time he has left.
He told the PA news agency: “They keep making these sort of cliche-type statements, the medical people, that you should ‘seize the day’ – well that’s fine; ‘life is for living’ – yeah, that’s true; and ‘making memories’ – well, that’s true too.
“But to be able to do all those things you need to… be able to get out, not being worried every two minutes that you might be picking something up.
“It rather puts the kibosh on taking advantage of the time that you’ve got.”
Mr Simpson, who has three children and five grandchildren, hopes he may have more time left than the period suggested by doctors last year because of how well he has responded to treatment.
But he believes the decision by the Prime Minister to potentially lift the final restrictions early is politically motivated rather than led by science.
“I’m really quite annoyed that they seem to be prepared, in order to hold the Tory party together, or try to do so, or to gain popularity in the nation, they’re prepared to throw quite a lot of people under the bus,” he said.
According to the Office for National Statistics there are 3.7 million clinically extremely vulnerable people in England. It is a category Mr Simpson falls into because of the immunosuppressant effect of the chemotherapy.
He wants to hear from the likes of England’s chief medical officer, Sir Chris Whitty, and the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, about the move, rather than from politicians.
He said: “We respect these people – Patrick Vallance, Chris Whitty and a lot of the other epidemiologists, where are their views to be heard?
“And have their views been taken into account when these declarations have been made? I think not.
“At the moment, they seem to be swept out of the picture, and that is very worrying.
“If politics has replaced science, then this is not a good place to be.”
Mr Simpson said he understands the need to open up society more, but believes some measures are still necessary.
“Certain measures, such as wearing masks in public places, and certainly not wandering about the street roaming about knowing you have Covid and spreading it about – these aren’t repressing individuals’ abilities to carry on their daily life,” he said.
Self-isolation rules end on March 24, but Mr Johnson said in the House of Commons on Wednesday that he was aiming to lift restrictions “a full month early”.
On Thursday, Professor Tim Spector, who runs the Zoe Covid Study at King’s College London, told Times Radio it was an “act of irresponsibility”, calling it “more a political type of statement rather than a scientific one”.
He added: “I think what they’re relying on is data that is highly disputed scientifically that, really, the UK has come out of this faster and better than anyone else.”
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