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Webchat with Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Wednesday 25 March at 11.30-NEW ANSWERS ADDED

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RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Mar-20 10:21:21


We're pleased to announce a webchat with Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, at 11.30am on Wednesday March 25.

Jenny Harries was appointed Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England in July 2019, taking on a broad portfolio including the health service and commissioning support. Jenny’s previous roles include: PHE Deputy Medical Director, PHE Executive Lead for specialised commissioning and Welsh National Health and Healthcare Director. Alongside these roles, Jenny has been a member of the Welsh Medicines Committee and the Clinical Priorities Advisory Group. Jenny has an extensive clinical and public health background (BSc (Hons) Pharmacology; MPH; FFPH) and her work has extended overseas as far afield as New Zealand, Pakistan and Kenya. She was awarded an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List for services to Public Health. She advises the government on its response to coronavirus.

Dr Harries' time is at a premium at the moment, to put it mildly, so we will only have her for 45 minutes.

As always, please remember our guidelines - one question per user, follow-ups only if there’s time and most questions have been answered, and please keep it civil. Also if one topic is dominating a thread, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. (We may suspend the accounts of anyone who continues after we've posted to ask people to stop, so please take note.) Rest assured we will ALWAYS let the guest know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Many thanks,

*[Message edited by MNHQ to give the preferred title of Dr rather than Professor]

BuzzShitbagBobbly Tue 24-Mar-20 10:32:33

Thank you Professor Harries.

I understand the virus affects women differently (or less severely?) than men. Is the research reflecting this - in terms of what/who/how the vaccines are being developed and what we know about how they impact on each sex etc.

Are women able/advised to take any different precautions or treatment to men?

Babyroobs Tue 24-Mar-20 10:55:52

I recently left the NMC register a few months ago and have responded to the NMC emergency register call up. I am willing to help do whatever is needed assuming my current employer lets me take leave. Can you tell me when we are likely to be needed and what types of role we are likely to work in ? Also I have a vulnerable husband , will the NHS be providing a place where I could stay away from home to protect my family. Also I most likely have a BMI over 40 but am otherwise healthy with no underlying health conditions, will I be refused on this basis ? Thank you.

NeurotrashWarrior Tue 24-Mar-20 11:30:08

Hello Professor Jenny,

Thank you for all your hard work.

Do you envisage the antibody tests to be rolled out nation wide or only for certain professions/ conditions?

defthand Tue 24-Mar-20 12:50:29

Thank you for your hard work at this difficult time, Professor.

My question is about testing — Matt Hancock recently stated in Parliament that testing was reserved only for ICU patients “at the minute”. When do you anticipate expanded testing to be be rolled out, and will we ever see the drive-through testing available in other countries like the US and South Korea implemented here?

LangClegsInSpace Tue 24-Mar-20 13:21:27

Hello Jenny. I would like to know why the UK's approach has been so very different from what WHO recommends. With all the talk of antibody testing, does that mean there is still no commitment to finding and isolating current infectious cases, tracing contacts and breaking the chains of infection?

Jellybean27 Tue 24-Mar-20 13:50:12

Hi Jenny,

A huge thank you for all that you are doing and continue to do. They way you have delivered and communicated important information has been hugely helpful during this scary time.

I’m hoping you’ll be able to answer a question multiple people would like the answer to.
My partner is a key worker, he is a teacher and works part time in a supermarket.

I myself am in the high risk vulnerable category. We have two children, one has asthma.

His risk of exposure is high. Which will mean mine and my children’s risk will be high on him returning home each day. What is the advice for this please?

nyu82 Tue 24-Mar-20 16:39:32

Hello , would you please tell the PM to order Television media to cease outside broadcasting. It is highly likely that some viewers will see journalists working outside and think that they can do the same . Reporting from outside cannot be regarded as essential.

BiscuitBarrels Tue 24-Mar-20 16:40:48

Hello, and I appreciate your time in doing this - thank you.

I would like to know what will happen with cancer patients’ treatment plans? I have a family member who was in the middle of a course of chemo and we have no idea what will happen about his treatment now.

tryingtoprep Tue 24-Mar-20 16:59:50

Hi Jenny. Thank you for taking the time to come on here.

What happens to people who might have a high risk condition but have not yet been diagnosed. People with symptoms who were due to have blood tests, scans, or diagnostic operations. Obviously most outpatient services are on hold, which can't be helped under the circumstances. Some tests - blood and urine - can be done at home. Would this be something the NHS could provide? Or would it be too time consuming or costly? Those not officially diagnosed might struggle to take time off work (if keyworkers). What would your advice to them (and their employers) be?

Gutterton Tue 24-Mar-20 17:05:36

It looks like health care professionals have taken the brunt of this disease (14% in Spain) and many have lost their lives.

Is there something about repeated exposure that causes a more severe and lethal disease - and what more can we do to avoid deaths in our front line staff - not just in hospitals but also supermarket staff etc.

Gutterton Tue 24-Mar-20 17:06:40

Whoops - Thanks for all of your hard work to date. It’s both inspirational and humbling.

Fabulousdahlink Tue 24-Mar-20 17:37:19

Hello. I would like to know if blood donor sessions will continue during lockdown.
If our households are fit and healthy, should we go and give blood ?

ScrimpshawTheSecond Tue 24-Mar-20 18:08:50

Hello, thank you for all that you do.

A practical question- if one has symptoms should we be isolating from family members of the same household within the house? Is there guidance on that?

Jakki166 Tue 24-Mar-20 18:14:49

Hello Dr Harries and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule, I can see you and your teams are working very hard.

My question is one I am struggling to find an answer to as my haemotology consultant is currently away. I have had a DVT and a Portal Vein Thrombosis within 11 months of each other 2017/2018 and after extensive tests was told I suffered with Lupus Anticoagulant, whereby my blood is prone to clotting. So it was recommended I take Rivaroxiban for life. I would like to know if I am therefore classed as high risk and should take precautions for 12 weeks or can I continue as normal, with self-isolating and work where required. My GP unfortunately is unhelpful in this regard referring me to NHS 111.

Of course I want to remain around for some time for my family. I appreciate any help and advise you are able to supply.

Zeid Tue 24-Mar-20 18:17:37

Dear Dr Harries

I am a medical doctor who trained and graduated from New Zealand. My main experience is in neurosurgery but have experience in intensive care and emergency medicine. I have been in the UK for 6 months doing TBI research and trauma masters degree. I am not yet GMC registered as the GMC requires NZ graduates to sit exams before being registered.

I find it hard that the system is allowing final year medical students to graduate early and putting some medical students on the frontline during the current crisis. Yet, someone in my situation who is willing to volunteer to work isn't granted temporary registration even-though the UK and NZ medical systems/training are very similar. Should you be advocating that the GMC grants temporary registration to those willing to help instead of putting poor inexperienced medical students/new doctors on the frontline? Isn't that safer for both patients and the students/new doctors?

Thank you

nonevernotever Tue 24-Mar-20 18:52:16

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions. We take our temperature every morning and I've noticed my husband is consistently around 36.2 whereas my temperature varies from 32.8 to 34.6. Is this normal, and if so would I still have to be over 37.8 to be feverish?

Dee63221 Tue 24-Mar-20 19:00:27

Hello I have a lung condition and my daughter is on immunosuppressant medicine so has been signed of work for 12 weeks - my hubby and I ( I work in a call centre for a bank and my hubby in distribution for shops like Next etc ) however neither of us drive and we are told to go to work - we are terrified of getting virus and passing it to our vulnerable daughter. Shouldn’t we all as a family stay home for 12 weeks without fear of losing our jobs.

Squintybumcheek Tue 24-Mar-20 19:06:17

Hi Dr Harries

Can you advise why those who are in the 'sheilded' category should not go into their private garden? Is there a risk of catching the virus? Or is it because a trip to the garden could then turn into a walk round the block, a trip to the shop etc.


MummaPI Tue 24-Mar-20 19:10:14

Hello Doctor Harries,
Thank you for all your advice and hard work to you and your team. My husband and I are key workers (train driver and teaching assistant) but also have two young children. We are worried about bringing home the virus and have been talking about minimising contamination by stripping off and washing clothes straight away. Can you offer any more advice on what we could do to be the most protected we can be please?

Barmychick Tue 24-Mar-20 19:15:27

Hi Jenny thankyou for all your hard work. I am currently taking methotrexate and infliximab infusions for two autoimmune conditions having been in hospital seriously ill last year. I self isolate practicing safe distancing when I have to go out for food/ medical appts/ prescriptions. How high risk am I and is there anything else I can do? Many thanks

middleager Tue 24-Mar-20 19:17:18

Is there a chance of a Measles pandemic amidst this?

My 13 year old could not get his MMR booster at school last week as he and half his class were ill.

I've also read on here parents of babies and 3 year olds scared to take their children for planned MMR vaccinations and boosters because of fear of catching Coronavirus, or having a bad reaction and not knowing if it is Covid or the vaccination (or requiring a hospital visit)

How will the immunisation programme work with so many 'lost' patients?

For example, nobody can give me guidance on what my teen should do next. Is he immune? Or is he now susceptible to MMR illnesses, along with potentially thousands countrywide?

Lana67 Tue 24-Mar-20 19:33:12

covid-19, Strain L & Strain S How do they differ? Is one more aggressive? Is one more prevalent in the UK? How do they differ?"

Marpan Tue 24-Mar-20 19:34:15


After infection, how long is the individual contagious to others? Will they be “immune”? If so would this immunity cover the multiple mutations discovered?

LizzieMacQueen Tue 24-Mar-20 19:44:48

Dr Harries, thank you.

Has the theory on transfer changed? I'm sure initially it was thought transmission occurred if you were in the same room as a positive person for 15 minutes. Now it seems to be the transfer of even one droplet of contagion. Can you confirm?

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