New Forest GP slams Swayne’s ‘demoralising’ comments on lockdown

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Sir Desmond voted against the current lockdown (picture Andrew Milligan-PA)

A NEW Forest GP has attacked Sir Desmond Swayne MP for his criticism of the lockdown policy, calling his comments “demoralising” for NHS staff.


Dr Sally Johnston said she was “very sorry” to hear Sir Desmond call the restriction “malicious” in the House of Commons last week.

“We do not want our local health care services and hospitals to be overwhelmed with Covid patients and the inevitable knock-on effects, not least all the distress and trauma this would cause, both to the population and to hard-working staff,” she added.

“He may wish to consider that one of the reasons we are not imminently in crisis locally is, at least in part, due to exceptionally hard work by our NHS health and care professionals, some of whom have lost their lives to the Covid 19 Pandemic.

“He should also consider quite how demoralising this sort of statement coming from our elected representative is, and the impact this could have on us keeping going through this unprecedented crisis, not least in continuing to vaccinate our patients as swiftly as possible, in the hope of avoiding local health care meltdown.”

Sir Desmond Swayne in the House of Commons (picture:

Dr Johnston is clinical director of the New Forest Primary Care Network – a collaborative group of four local GP practices.

As reported in the A&T, Sir Desmond was one of a small band of MPs who voted against the latest lockdown becoming law, and confronted the Prime Minister in parliament, branding the regulations as “pervaded by pettifogging malice”.

Asked to respond to Dr Johnston’s criticism, Sir Desmond pointed to his blog, in which he claimed mass testing and lockdown have failed since both measures “didn’t impact” on Covid deaths.

He wrote: “From the outset a number of us have argued that a lockdown merely postpones the progress of the disease: the moment social isolation measures are eased, then the disease accelerates until a further lockdown is ordered.

“Yet this failing policy comes at an enormous social and economic cost which will scar our collective life for a decade.”

Sir Desmond suggested a better scheme was to pay vulnerable groups to isolate until they were vaccinated while life carried on as normal for others.

He added: “We expect now to be rescued by vaccines, vindicating the government’s strategy of suppressing the virus until vaccines became available.

“I would hope that the failure of lockdowns, however, would be a lesson that we have learnt for the future, but the way that the critics of lockdowns have been silenced, derided and presented as mavericks, is hardly encouraging.”



  1. Is this the same Desmond Swayne who told me last year that he doesn’t give medical advice after I highlighted a mismatch between the Covid app and the Government website?

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