Bassetlaw leader says Tier 3 was a result of ‘stark’ pressure on hospitals

Bassetlaw Council leader Simon Greaves says pressure on Bassetlaw health services was so ‘stark’ that if the district had not been put in Tier 3 the impact would be ‘unsustainable’.

It was announced yesterday evening (Wednesday) that Bassetlaw will be placed in the very high alert Covid-19 category as of just after midnight on Friday morning - along with the rest of the county.

The toughest restrictions mean pubs which cannot serve a substantial meal will be forced to close.

However Nottinghamshire has had an additional restriction imposed which bans the sale of alcohol in shops after 9pm.

Bassetlaw Council leader Simon Greaves says pressure on Bassetlaw health services was so ‘stark’ that if the district had not been put in Tier 3 the impact would be ‘unsustainable’

Beauty salons, nail bars, betting shops, museums and galleries will also have to close under the new lockdown arrangements.

The announcement has come as a shock to district leaders across Nottinghamshire because on Tuesday the Government announced the restrictions would only apply to Nottingham city, Gedling, Rushcliffe and Broxtowe.

It is understood the Tier 3 rules could have been applied today (Thursday) - however another day was permitted to allow the districts more time to prepare.

The decision came as the most up-to-date health statistics show Covid-19 cases rose in Bassetlaw by over 380 in the week leading up to October 21.

Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith - photo by London Portrait Photographer

And worryingly cases in people aged 60 or over rose by 172 - doubling what they had been the previous seven days.

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Speaking about the new lockdown level Councillor Greaves said: “What’s really sped this up is the huge amount of concern about the accelerating rate of infection among the older population.

“Pressure on local hospitals now is even greater than when we first went into lockdown.

“They’ve already changed visiting hours while in other parts of the county elective surgeries are being cancelled and you simply cannot ignore that.”

Speaking about the very short notice offered to the public and businesses in particular Simon said people were ‘right to be angry’.

He said: “Everything is moving incredibly quickly and I understand the anger and dismay of local businesses - other areas have had time to prepare.

“The financial package should be greater for Nottinghamshire because we have greater restrictions.

“I’m disappointed the Government has taken a formulaic approach to financial help – but work is now under way to ensure struggling businesses are compensated.”

Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith, who publicly-opposed bringing Bassetlaw into Tier 2 restrictions, said in the face of clinical data he now had ‘no problem’ with the new restrictions.

He said: “It could have been Thursday and there was an argument to wait until Monday but that could have caused problems over the weekend so the Government had to make a quick decision.

“Now the new statistics have come out I can’t argue against it.”

Local areas’ tier categories are reviewed every 28 days however, speaking about the markers required to move back down to lower levels, Brendan said a reduction in cases among older age groups was critical.

He said: “One of the things we saw in Nottingham was the hospitals filling up - but now cases are creeping at Bassetlaw and Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

“What we need is for hospital admissions to reduce and the infection rate among older age groups to lessen.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.