Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, has admitted the UK has not had a good outcome from the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to MPs on the Commons science and technology committee Sir Patrick said: “It’s clear the outcome in the UK has not been good. I think we can be absolutely clear about that.”
He had previously said 20,000 deaths would be a “good result” in the pandemic, but the latest death rates show the UK has seen more than 50,000 deaths linked to coronavirus.
Sir Patrick, chair of the government's scientific advisory committee, SAGE, also told MPs that the lack of data and flows of information could have been better and that was "an important lesson, not just for pandemics but any emergency."
Asked for his reflections on the management of the outbreak Sir Patrick also questioned the "structure and the way that SAGE operates. It's never been set up to work for 47 meetings," he said.
"We're meeting twice a week for most of this, and we need to think about how to make that work. It's largely volunteer academics who've helped out. They've gone over and above to put their advice into the system and to help in all sorts of ways, I think we need to think about the resilience of that system."
A third area he said was the presence of science knowledge across government departments stressing SAGE was only an advisory body.
He said: "The science system across government and across agencies needs to be robust. Sage is not the science system, it is a science advisory body. Science within Public Health England needs to be in the right place, science in departments needs to be in the right place. There needs to be enough in order to be able to take the science advice."