- Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak Excellent interactive New York Times resource with trackers and statistics on the prevalence of Covid infection and the measures to deal with it in every US state and around the world
- Memorial of Health & Social Care Workers taken by COVID-19 Moving and interactive a digital tribute and memorial by Nursing Notes to the dedicated members of our health and social care family who gave their lives during the fight against Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19).
NursingNotes is committed to planting a new tree in a protected forest for every single health and social care worker who loses their lives because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Low-paid shun Covid tests because the cost of self-isolating is too high Guardian Jan 16 with research proving the existence of a pretty obvious problem that ministers still insist on ignoring:
"Families on low incomes are avoiding the Covid-19 testing system because they cannot afford to isolate if they get sick, while red tape is hampering access to the government’s £500 compensation payments.
"People in some of the most deprived areas of England, including Middlesbrough, Liverpool and the London borough of Newham, are less likely to request a coronavirus test.
"According to the CIPD, the association of HR professionals, when people on low incomes do self-isolate, they find it difficult to access the NHS Test and Trace support payment scheme. Freedom of information releases from 34 local authorities show that only a third of claims were granted.
"Dr Wanda Wyporska of charity the Equality Trust said people avoided testing for a range of reasons, from caring responsibilities to employment worries. “Some people have said they’re not going to take the test, because if they are told to isolate, they won’t be able to work,” she said."
- The greatest failure of government in our lifetime New European article (Jan 15) rehearses the damning litany of the Johnson government's abject failure:
… "But No.10's decision-making is not based exclusively on the science. It balances scientific advice against political interests - specifically perceived notions of public opinion and the lockdown scepticism of cabinet ministers and members of the Conservative parliamentary party. So instead of taking swift preemptive action as soon as it is advised, Boris Johnson has equivocated and delayed.
"This is the pattern of behaviour whose consequences are now playing out in our hospitals. It's why we went into lockdown two to four weeks too late, on all three occasions. It's why the tiers system was only adapted weeks after scientists warned it was ineffective. It's why we witnessed the insanity of allowing certain areas to open up for Christmas only to now see their infection rates spiral out of control.
"Timing, however, only partly explains what is happening. The government could have recognised and addressed this problem by now if it was alive to its own failings. It is not. Downing Street is an echo chamber. It does not listen to criticism. Indeed, Johnson purged the party of any moderate Conservatives early on in his tenure as prime minister. All criticism from outside the party is treated as evidence that someone is a political enemy.
"This is why you see them making the same mistakes over and over again. "
- New £120m fund to provide boost for care sector staffing levels Guardian Jan 16 on an announcement that is both belated and tight fisted, and nowhere near enough to plug the gap that's growing after Priti Patel's immigration laws slammed the door on care workers:
"The Covid-stricken care home and domiciliary care sector is to get an extra £120m government funding to help boost depleted staff levels, ministers announced on Saturday night.
"The funds would help increase staff numbers, said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). Ministers said the aim was to help local authorities plug worker shortages and allow additional staff to take on administrative tasks, freeing up skilled colleagues to provide care. It could also help existing staff work extra hours with overtime payments or by covering childcare costs, the DHSC said.
"The cash comes after a snapshot survey from the National Care Forum (NCF) earlier this month suggested that some care services were reporting staff absences of more than 50%."
- Doctors want new legal protections if they have to choose between patients (£) Times article January 16:
"Doctors require immediate emergency legal protection in case NHS pressures caused by coronavirus force them to choose between patients, leading healthcare groups have warned.
"In a letter to the health secretary, the groups say that there is no legal protection for doctors faced with “surges in demand for resources that temporarily exceed supply”.
"Doctors fear that they could face prosecution for unlawful killing because of decisions they are forced to make in such a situation, they add.
"In November Boris Johnson gave warning that should the NHS be overwhelmed “the sick would be turned away because there was no room in our hospitals”, with doctors and nurses potentially “forced to choose which patients to treat, who would live and who would die”."
- Protect us from unlawful killing charges - medics BBC Jan 16: "Doctors and nurses need protection from prosecution over Covid-19 treatment decisions made under the pressures of the pandemic, medical bodies have said.
"Groups including the British Medical Association have written to ministers saying medical workers fear they could be at risk of unlawful killing charges.
"It comes as the UK's chief medical officers said the NHS could be overwhelmed in weeks.
"The government said staff should not have to fear legal action."
- Hospitals told to free up beds ahead of influx of patients as ‘toughest part’ of pandemic looms Independent Jan 16: "Hospitals have been told to find as many beds as possible in preparation for an influx of Covid patients in the north of England and midlands.
"Across the country, hospitals have been told to prepare extra wards and critical care beds to cope with a flood of patients over at least the next week to two weeks as health chiefs warn the NHS is about to face the “toughest part” of the pandemic. Hospitals will also be expected to take transfers of patients between areas to even out pressure for those worst affected.
"While infections across the UK have started to fall in recent days, hospitals could face another week of growth in Covid patients because of the time it takes people to become seriously unwell.
"Any influx of patients, as seen in London and the southeast, will hit other parts of England hard where operations have already been cancelled and some areas are already reporting record numbers of Covid-19 patients on their wards."
- Paying for the pandemic: the economic consequences of COVID-19 Interesting findings from Health Foundation's inquiry into the impact of the pandemic:
"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the relationship between income and health. Low income affects what people can buy and can bring on stress, which risks harming their mental and physical health. Poor health limits opportunities for good work and future employment prospects. !
… "While the government’s economic policies mean that the pandemic downturn appears to have had little effect on household income inequality in the UK to date, we should not conclude that all is well. To do so would be to miss the broader point that incomes have generally fallen since the start of the pandemic. And importantly, while the proportional drops in incomes across different households may be relatively even, the consequences of those reductions are being felt much more acutely by some.
"Restrictions on opportunities for eating out, holidaying abroad and other leisure activities have pushed down spending in many households – especially higher income households who typically spend more on such items. In contrast, lower income households have recorded more modest spending reductions, and are more likely to have had to dip into their savings.
"This stark result is shown in Figure 1: on the whole, lower income households have responded to the crisis by spending their savings, while higher income households have added to theirs."
- School meals row: boss of scandal-hit caterer set rules for food parcels scheme (£)Times revelations Jan 15 confirm what we all expected would be the case -- the tightfisted "hampers" that left starving kids hungry were no accident or error: they fitted the guidelines … which were written by the the suppliers!
"An executive at the caterer criticised for inadequate food parcels for schoolchildren is chairman of the industry body that helped to draft the scheme’s guidelines, The Times can reveal.
"Stephen Forster, 58, is national chairman of the Lead Association for Caterers in Education (Laca), the professional organisation that represents school meal providers, including councils and commercial suppliers.
"He also works as a business development director for local authority group contracts at the food providers Chartwells, according to the organisation’s website."
- Daily Telegraph rebuked over Toby Young's Covid column Guardian Jan 15 gleefully pointing out that the press regulator IPSO has slammed the Daily Telegraph for not only publishing misleading and false allegations by right wing anti-lockdown fanatic Toby Young, but not offering to print a correction and failing to offer evidence to support its position.
Of course the Telegraph is a platform for many other extreme right wing views as ill-informed as Toby Young's, which fit in with the bias of the Torygraph's billionaire owners.
"Ipso concluded that the Telegraph was unable to support its position and that it had “failed to take care not to publish inaccurate and misleading information”.
“The statement was significantly misleading,” it said, noting that the Telegraph had not offered to run a correction. “It misrepresented the nature of immunity and implied that people previously exposed to some common colds might be automatically immune to suffering symptoms and passing on Covid-19 to others.”
"Ipso also found that Young’s claim that “London is probably approaching herd immunity, even though only 17% tested positive [for antibodies] in the most recent seroprevalence survey” was misleading."
- Dutch government resigns over child benefits scandal Guardian Jan 15 underlining that they do things differently in the Netherlands, where a scandalous failure can trigger resignations not even of a single minister but a whole government. We can only wish for similar standards here:
"The Dutch government has resigned amid an escalating scandal over child benefits in which more than 20,000 families were wrongly accused of fraud by the tax authority.
"The move came less than a month before parliament was due to break up ahead of general elections scheduled for 17 March. Prime minister Mark Rutte’s cabinet is to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new coalition is formed after that vote.
"“The government was not up to standard throughout this whole affair,” Rutte told a press conference. “Mistakes were made at every level of the state, with the result that terrible injustice was done to thousands of parents.”
"Political responsibility for the scandal lay with the current cabinet, he said, which had decided collectively that it had no option but to resign. “Things cannot ever be allowed to go so terribly wrong again,” Rutte said."
- NHS calls in military to help shore up understaffed intensive care wards Independent Jan 15: "Hundreds of soldiers are to be sent into major London hospitals to help shore up understaffed intensive care units as the numbers of coronavirus patients in the capital has risen again.
"The Independent has learned 200 medical combat technicians will be sent into intensive care units at the city’s main trusts including the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, and the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London.
"Another 150 military staff will be put into non-clinical roles to help free up nurses and doctors to keep caring patients. The move follows a request for aid from the NHS.
"The city’s hospitals are in a staffing crisis with the latest data from Thursday showing almost 15,000 staff across London are off sick from work, with 60 per cent of the absences linked to Covid-19. This includes more than 6,100 nurses and 789 doctors. Nursing bodies have also issued a warning over hospitals stretching nurse to patient ratios to unsafe levels in intensive care wards."
- 'The NHS is now under the most extreme pressure seen in recent history': The King’s Fund responds to the latest emergency care situation reports and estates data King's Fund report January 14; "Responding to the latest NHS Urgent and Emergency Care Daily Situation Report data and monthly hospital activity data Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at The King’s Fund, said:
‘Today’s figures show that the NHS is now under the most extreme pressure seen in recent history and is battling on multiple fronts. Staff are exhausted, wards are overflowing and patients face long waits for routine and emergency care, with many procedures being cancelled or postponed.
‘Despite staff doing their best under incredibly difficult circumstances, waits for routine care have rapidly ballooned, with 192,000 people waiting over a year for care compared to just 1,400 this time last year. But this is only part of the problem. Last week, more than 3,700 patients had to wait 12 hours or more in A&E before being admitted to hospital – the highest number since current records began, and even urgent operations are being cancelled in some parts of the country."
- While Covid pushes the NHS to breaking point, private healthcare is thriving Guardian's Polly Toynbee (Jan 14) echoing the warnings from The Lowdown and HCT that the reliance on private hospital beds is strengthening what would otherewise have been a bankrupt private sector while thousands of NHS beds are unused. She notes that in the spring of 2020:
"the NHS took over all the capacity of private hospitals, its 8,000 beds, 680 operating theatres and 20,000 staff, to carry out non-Covid emergency treatments for cancer, stroke and heart patients. In a gesture of wartime necessity, the well-off could not commandeer special treatment.
"But the beds were not requisitioned as they might be in wartime; they were officially bought at “cost price” and the sum has been estimated to be £1bn, steep according to many.
"Though other deals continue elsewhere, the contract with London’s hospitals ended in August and NHS England has since been locked in a dispute over the price of private beds. The Treasury balks at the cost, while private hospitals spy new opportunities in the spike in private demand as the NHS overflows.
"Private healthcare companies have seen what the Telegraph describes as a “boom” in demand; William Laing, of LaingBuisson, a private health market monitor, predicts “pent up demand” will lead to a sharp increase in NHS patients opting for “self-pay” private treatment."
- GMB demands all NHS and social care workers are given full access to PPE Union News report Jan 14: "GMB has written to the Health Secretary to demand all NHS and social care workers are given access to full PPE to prevent more unnecessary deaths.
"In the letter to Matt Hancock, the union says in order to save lives, workers must be provided with full coverage of skin, hair and clothing, including head covers; goggles; FFP3 masks; coveralls or long-sleeved gowns; shoe coverings; medical grade gloves.
"According to the ONS, 618 health and social care workers’ deaths in England and Wales were linked to COVID-19 up to 30 June 2020 (the latest date for which figures are available). This is the second time the union has written to the Health Secretary making this demand on behalf of members.
"Since the start of the pandemic, GMB has consistently raised concerns about the lack of adequate PPE for health and social workers. Despite being assured by Ministers there are sufficient levels of PPE, terrified members report working on the front line with inadequate protection."
- Regulator refuses to approve mass daily Covid testing at English schools Guardian Jan 14: "Boris Johnson’s plans to test millions of schoolchildren for coronavirus every week appear to be in disarray after the UK regulator refused to formally approve the daily testing of pupils in England, the Guardian has learned.
"The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) told the government on Tuesday it had not authorised the daily use of 30-minute tests due to concerns that they give people false reassurance if they test negative.
"This could lead to pupils staying in school and potentially spreading the virus when they should be self-isolating.
"The regulator’s decision undermines a key element of the government’s strategy to bring the pandemic under control – and is bound to raise fresh questions about the tests, and the safety of the schools that have been asked to use them."
- Struggling London hospitals sending Covid patients to Newcastle Guardian Jan 14: “Seriously ill Covid patients are being transferred from overstretched London hospitals to intensive care units almost 300 miles away in Newcastle, the Guardian can reveal.
“The crisis engulfing the capital’s hospitals is so severe that in recent days patients have also been moved 67 miles to Northampton, 125 miles to Birmingham and 167 miles to Sheffield.
“NHS England has told hospitals in the north of England, the Midlands and other areas to open up hundreds of extra ICU beds to take patients from London, the south-east and east, where the new variant has pushed Covid hospital admissions to new levels.
“It is the latest dramatic illustration of the increasingly difficult situation confronting the health service. Hospitals across the UK are battling to provide care for 36,489 people with Covid, an increase of 5,872 in seven days.
“There were a further 48,682 confirmed cases reported on Thursday but Public Health England said that UK deaths data had been delayed due to a “processing issue”. Late on Thursday it said a there had been 1,248 deaths recorded in the previous 24 hours.”
- Dutch government faces collapse over child benefits scandal Guardian Jan 14 on the aftermath of a major report documenting a scandal led by the right wing government:
"The MPs’ report, titled Unprecedented Injustice, was published last month after an inquiry into the childcare benefits scandal that included public questioning of officials up to and including Rutte.
"It established that “fundamental principles of the rule of law were violated” by the Dutch tax authority, with fraud investigations into families triggered by “something as simple as an administrative error, without any malicious intent”.
"The investigating committee chairman, Chris van Dam, called the system “a mass process in which there was no room for nuance”, with more than 20,000 working families pursued for fraud before the courts, ordered to repay child support benefits and denied the right to appeal over several years from 2012.
"Some were pushed close to bankruptcy or forced to move house by unjust claims for tens of thousands of euros when the alleged fraud amounted to an incorrectly filled-out form or a missing signature. Several couples separated under the strain."
- 'It's Unimaginably Bad.' How Government Failures and the New COVID-19 Variant Are Pushing the U.K.'s Health System Into Crisis Time magazine Jan 13 brings an outside view that pins the blame on government:
“The U.K. is currently enduring a painful third wave of COVID-19, far worse than its European neighbors like Spain, France, Italy and Germany. (The Republic of Ireland currently has the world’s highest number of confirmed new COVID-19 cases per capita.)
“On Wednesday Jan. 13, the U.K. reported a record high of 1,564 deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test—the biggest figure reported in a single day since the pandemic began, bringing total deaths to more than 84,000.
“Experts say that the current situation in the U.K., and particularly in London—which declared a state of emergency on Jan. 8 is a cautionary tale. They say the crisis is a result of both the struggle to deal with a new variant estimated to be up to 70% more transmissible, and because of a failure in decisive and strong government leadership.
“One of those failures, they say, was that the U.K. government did not act on the scientific advice that recommended a short “circuit breaker” lockdown in September to halt rapidly rising transmissions after the easing of lockdown restrictions in the summer. …”
- UK coronavirus deaths pass 100,000 after 1,564 reported in one day Guardian Jan 13 sub-headlines: "Experts condemn ‘phenomenal failure of policy and practice’ in handling of pandemic":
"Even by the lower government figure – which only measures deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test – the UK is now ahead of the US, Spain and Mexico, where there have been 116, 113 and 108 deaths per 100,000 people respectively.
"The figures are also in stark contrast to counties that have maintained low case and death rates, including Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia where death rates per 100,000 people stand at 0.03, 0.5 and 3.6.
"Gabriel Scally, a visiting professor of public health at the University of Bristol and a member of the Independent Sage group of experts, said the 100,000-plus death toll was an indictment of the way the pandemic had been handled.
“It is an astounding number of preventable deaths from one cause in one year, [an] absolutely astounding number. It’s a sign of a phenomenal failure of policy and practice in the face of this new and dangerous virus,” Scally said."
- Almost quarter of Yorkshire residents are living in poverty, charity report reveals Yorkshire Post Jan 13 with grim reading for those who recognise the link between poverty and ill-health, noting figures are only slightly worse from disastrously high national averages:
“1.27million residents were living under the poverty line pre-pandemic according to the figures, with fears that the number will have dramatically increased over the past few months. The poverty rate in Yorkshire at 24 per cent is slightly higher than the national average of 22 per cent.
“And 32 per cent of the region’s children are living in poverty, compared with the national average of 30 per cent.
“The government must urgently tackle poverty to alleviate the “relentless pressure” faced by low-income families, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have said. The regional data covers the period of 2016-2018, but the charity’s national data shows the situation has worsened for millions since the pandemic began in March last year.”
- Free meals firm at centre of outcry was run by Conservative party donor Independent Jan 13 with news that offers no real surprise:
"The companies at the centre of the outcry over the “disgusting” free meals provided to struggling families while schools remain closed have links to the Conservatives, it has emerged.
"Compass Group and its subsidiary Chartwells are under fire after football star and campaigner Marcus Rashford shared photos of Chartwells’ meagre parcels – saying they were “just not good enough”.
"Electoral Commission records show Paul Walsh – chairman of Compass Group until he stepped down last month – has given more than £10,000 to the Tory party.
"Mr Walsh, who had been at the helm of Compass since 2014, was a member of No 10’s business advisory group during the early years of David Cameron’s time as prime minister.
"Reportedly a big game hunter, Mr Walsh also signed a joint letter of business leaders urging voters to back the Tories during the 2015 general election campaign."
- NHS Nightingale: How reopened London hospital will be used to manage patients Independent Jan 13 reports 64 beds have now been reopened in the field hospital allegedly planned to provide 4,000 -- and that only patients who do NOT still have Covid will be accepted:
"London’s NHS Nightingale Hospital has now officially opened after being rebuilt in a just a matter of weeks.
"The field hospital, based in London’s ExCel Conference Centre, has an initial capacity for 64 patients over two 32-bed wards and is designed to help alleviate pressures on the capital’s swamped hospitals.
"The Nightingale welcomed staff from across London on Monday for training and had just one patient so far on Tuesday.
"Unlike last time, the Nightingale has been designed to look after patients who are recovering from Covid-19 and are almost ready to be discharged.
"Leaked clinical criteria for admission to the field hospital reveal patients will only be accepted for a bed if they have tested negative twice for Covid-19.
"If they need oxygen, they must be on the lowest normal dose of two litres a minute."
- What's as scary as Covid? The fact our leaders still have no plan to control it George Monbiot Jan 13 in the Guardian:
"A government with any level of competence would have explained from the outset where we need to be before it lifts this lockdown. It might have stated what the R number should be; what the number of positive cases should be; how great a reduction in Covid hospital patient numbers there should be. It would have committed not to end the lockdown until such conditions have been met.
"It would also have published a plan for tightening restrictions if conditions worsen, and its criteria for graded restrictions when lockdown ends. But no such statements have been published. We’ve had 11 months of this, and the government is still flying blind.
"Without clear objectives, without a plan, we are likely to remain trapped in a perpetual cycle of emergency followed by suppression, followed by relaxation, followed by emergency. Boris Johnson will continue to chase short-term popularity by lifting restrictions as soon as he thinks he can; the government, constantly surprised by events, will keep responding with reactive, disconnected policies; and the nightmare will continue."
- “It’s vital megalabs have an appropriate skill mix” – IBMS Lowdown report Jan 13 on the professional body's concerns over the running of Lighthouse and "mega-labs":
"The professional body representing laboratory staff, the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS), has expressed concerns over the plans – revealed to trade unions by Dido Harding – for the first of a network of new mega laboratories, in Leamington Spa, to be contracted out to Medacs, a private recruitment agency.
"IBMS president Allan Hall told The Lowdown:
“There is a significant risk that employing 2000 staff at this stage could destabilise the existing NHS and private laboratories currently providing a diagnostic service to the acute and primary care service. We are all “fishing in the same pond” as we try and increase capacity for COVID testing to meet clinical demand.
“We have evidence that recruitment agencies working for the Lighthouse labs have been directly approaching Biomedical Scientists working in the NHS to offer them enhanced salaries to tempt them to leave the NHS. "
- Private sector ‘pushing back’ on NHS request to take more patients, says top trust HSJ Jan 13 on another disastrous policy failure by Matt Hancock and NHS England:
"“Private hospitals are ‘pushing back’ on requests from NHS trusts to send them more NHS patients, following a change to the national contract with the independent sector, and amid high pressure from covid-19.
“Manchester University Foundation Trust, one of the largest NHS providers, has reported difficulties in accessing capacity at its local Spire, BMI and Ramsay hospitals this month.
“… Throughout most of 2020, the bulk of private providers in England were on a national block contract whereby the NHS could use as much capacity as it needed.
“But a new contract, agreed with oversight from the Treasury last month, is now in place between January and April, and only offers trusts a minimum volume of activity which equates to activity provided in October and November.
“Pressures on the NHS have since intensified to unprecedented levels, with many areas now in far greater need of the private capacity than they were two months ago.”
- MAP joins international call on Israel to ensure vaccine access for Palestinians Jan 12: "Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has today joined a coalition of 21 Israeli, Palestinian and international health and human rights organisations to urge Israel to fulfil its international legal duties as an occupying power by ensuring that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza can rapidly access quality vaccines against coronavirus.
"Decades of occupation and blockade mean that the local Palestinian health system does not have the financial or material resources they need to sustain COVID-19 response long-term.
"Gaza’s health system, in particular, is on the brink of collapse. The international community must do its part to facilitate essential COVID-19 healthcare supplies, including vaccines, and states like the UK must use their influence to ensure that Israel meets its duties and obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.
"In addition to advocating for Palestinians to be ensured fair, rapid and equitable access, MAP is seeking ways to support the Palestinian Ministry of health and other local partners to roll out vaccines in the occupied Palestinian territory when they are made available. We will keep supporters updated."
- Private members club vaccinating clients abroad is 'proud' to offer the service Daily Telegraph , which gives its platform to covid-deniers and anti-lockdown nuts gives a free advert to a despicable company offering the super-rich who recognise the real danger of Covid the chance to jump the queue for vaccination -- becoming real "health tourists":
"£25,000-a-year UK private concierge service Knightsbridge Circle has exclusively revealed that it is flying its members to the UAE and India to receive vaccinations. Around 40% of the company’s members are UK based, but many hold multiple passports and have several homes around the globe.
"“It’s very exciting to say that we can offer the vaccine now,” says founder Stuart McNeill. “We’ve been proactive in offering it to all of our existing members.”
"And the inoculations are already well underway, with members based both in the UK and abroad flying out for vaccination holidays, many on private jets. “It’s like we’re the pioneers of this new luxury travel vaccine programme. You go for a few weeks to a villa in the sunshine, get your jabs and your certificate and you’re ready to go,” says McNeill, who assumes that many such members have flown out under the business/education trip exemption. “Lots of our clients have business meetings in the UAE,” he adds.
“We’ve been vaccinating over the last couple of weeks in the UAE, using Pfizer and Sinopharm, which require a 21-day gap between shots. We can start administering the AstraZeneca vaccine today in India. "
- This is what an 'overwhelmed NHS' looks like. We must not look away The excellent Christina Pagel in the Guardian Jan 12:
"ngland currently has more than 30,000 patients in hospital with Covid-19. This is 62% more than at the first peak in April. Chris Whitty wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that the NHS faces the “most dangerous situation in living memory” and hospitals could be overwhelmed within two weeks.
"The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, declared a Covid emergency in the capital, warning that its NHS was already overwhelmed. Each new day of record admissions turns the screw on frontline staff. The problem is that while the NHS, government ministers and scientists are all sounding the alarm, there is also a reluctance to spell out exactly what this means.
"This is an account of what it truly means for a hospital to be “overwhelmed”. It is gleaned from years of working with intensive care clinicians and hearing from doctors across the country. Much of this is happening already, but we have not yet seen the worst.
"The danger is not of a sudden collapse, but an escalation of worsening care for patients and increasing pressure on staff. First, care that is not immediately essential is postponed: operations such as hip or knee replacements, scans or check-ups for chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. This will mean that some people get sicker in the future because they missed out on care now. Others will have new cancers or heart disease missed for several months. This is already happening."
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