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NATIONAL NEWS ROUNDUP: Priti Patel seeks to turn away migrants AND consultation open on mandatory vaccines for healthcare staff


Your national news update now including Priti Patel seeks to turn away migrants on boats in the channel, discussions begin on mandatory vaccines for healthcare staff, and highest waiting lists for hospital treatment since records began.

The Home Secretary has reportedly sanctioned new tactics to redirect migrant boats in the Channel back to France amid crunch talks over crossings. According to reports, Priti Patel has ordered officials to rewrite maritime laws to allow Border Force to turn boats around, forcing them to be dealt with by French authorities.

The French interior minister Gerald Darmanin hit back at Home Secretary Priti Patel on Thursday amid reports she had sanctioned tactics to turn back migrant boats towards the continent to stop them from making the journey to the UK.

She is said to have ordered officials to rewrite maritime laws and Border Force staff have reportedly taken part in special training on handling migrant boats.

The suggestion has prompted an outcry from aid charities and campaigners who branded the plan “cowardly” and “cruel” and one which could risk the lives of migrants, while the legality of the tactic has been called into question.

Mr Darmanin said France would not accept any practices which breach maritime laws and that the country would not be subjected to financial blackmail.

Consultation has begun on plans to mandate Covid-19 and flu vaccinations for frontline health and care staff, the Government has announced. The six-week consultation process will take views on whether vaccine requirements should apply for health and wider social care workers – those in contact with patients and people receiving care. It would mean only those who are fully vaccinated, unless medically exempt, could be deployed to deliver health and care services.

The number of people in England waiting for hospital treatment has reached a new record high. A total of five point six million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of July, according to new figures from NHS England. This is the highest number since records began in August of two thousand and seven.

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