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Rare joint editorial by British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal calls on PM to ditch household mixing plan.


Boris Johnson should protect the NHS by scrapping plans to allow households to mix this Christmas, two respected medical journals have urged.


In only their second joint editorial in 100 years, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and Health Service Journal (HSJ) called on the prime minister to change tack because of rising cases of coronavirus across parts of England.

The BMJ is published by the doctors’ union the British Medical Association, and the HSJ is read by NHS staff, managers and professionals.


They both warned that hospital bed capacity risked being overwhelmed if there was a Christmas relaxation, calling on the government to “reverse its rash decision to allow household mixing […] in order to bring numbers down in the advance of a likely third wave”.


Crucially, the journals say a third wave would hit non-Covid treatments hardest, as it “could wipe out almost all the reductions in waiting times for elective procedures achieved in the past 20 years”.


“This joint editorial is only the second in the more than 100-year histories of The BMJ and HSJ,” they write.


“We are publishing it because we believe the government is about to blunder into another major error that will cost many lives. If our political leaders fail to take swift and decisive action, they can no longer claim to be protecting the NHS.”


The urgent plea came amid growing alarm that the health service is at risk of being overwhelmed in the new year, a time when it traditionally comes under most pressure because of winter flu and other diseases.


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