Our health and social care workers have been simply extraordinary during the pandemic, caring for people in the most challenging circumstances. We have done our utmost to support them every step of the way and we will continue to do so. We are recruiting extra staff and we are on track to have 50,000 more nurses in the NHS. We are funding things that help when working long hours, we are funding social care providers to provide full pay for staff who are isolating, and we have put in place a package of mental support for health and social care staff.
I thank the Minister for that detailed answer. Ensuring that we take care of our NHS is critical, as I know here in Lincoln. Therefore, we must be at the forefront of fighting all aspects of this disease. At what stage did the Secretary of State and his officials become aware that vitamin D helped to fight covid symptoms for certain sections of our society, for how long was this information suppressed or ignored, what steps have subsequently been taken to take appropriate action, and what other drugs have also not been fully utilised so far, such as hydroxychloroquine?
I thank my hon. Friend for his question. I can tell him that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published a guideline on vitamin D for covid in December. Its expert panel supported current Government advice to take vitamin D supplements through the autumn and winter. However, there is insufficient evidence that taking vitamin D mitigates effects of covid-19. I can also say that hydroxychloroquine is not recommended or authorised for the treatment of covid outside of trials.