Analysis

Video: Tories try to hide damage to NHS – by putting most vulnerable in COVID-19 front line as treatment beds increase by only 35

Virus most dangerous to elderly and frail – so out-of-depth Tories want to put pensioner doctors and nurses in front line of fight

With nominal health secretary Matt Hancock looking even more out of his depth than his recent Tory predecessors and the NHS on the verge of collapse long before any virus threat, Boris Johnson’s government has come up with the genius idea of recalling retired medical staff to fight coronavirus COVID-19.

The virus is expected to put about one in five sufferers in need of specialised hospital treatment – and to kill around one in fifty. But the elderly and frail are far more at risk.

Fit and healthy doctors and nurses have already died as a result of exposure to the pathogen – so the decision to put ex-NHS pensioners in the front line of the fight is as reckless as it is desperate.

Such a move amounts to a long-overdue admission that the Tories have starved the NHS for the last decade – no matter how many waffling platitudes Boris Johnson or the hapless Hancock spout for the TV cameras.

Worse, the government may wish to introduce emergency powers to force medical retirees to return – the Royal College of GPs has said that it thinks the return should be voluntary, but the government has not agreed to this.

Hancock told Radio5 Live at the weekend that the government had increased the number of beds in special treatment units for those infected – from 15 to 50:

Hancock – amid much stuttering and repetition – went on to claim the government has plans in place to increase to 500 and then 5000 beds. But such numbers are risible, especially given the speed with which the virus is spreading in other countries.

If the Tories have only managed to add 35 beds in the several weeks since the first people exposed to coronavirus arrived in the UK and the outbreak went rampant in multiple countries, then the wait for hundreds more is going to be a very long one.

And in reality, the Tories’ focus is more on maintaining business profits than on saving lives. Hancock tried to fudge the issue, telling his interviewer that the ‘top priority’ was protecting the UK’s people – ‘but also’ minimising disruption to the economy.

As the Times reported, the Tories are still making their minds up what their ‘top priority’ actually is:

Boris Johnson is still ‘weighing up’ whether lives or profits are more important – and in the meantime, he wants to shove pensioners, the most vulnerable to the virus’s worst consequences, into the firing line.

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18 comments

  1. These bastards will be perfectly content to see a generation of over 70’s disappear; it will save billions in health costs and pensions. The Government itself will disappear into bunkers, the better to protect themselves. This is England not Chinese Communism and it’s the poor who traditionally suffer not their ‘Masters. It was ever thus.’

    1. Pàul…. “IT will save billions in health costs and pensions” very good point,but you could expect a call from Cummings to draft you into his think tank..!

    2. We have no slack in the NHS or elsewhere to cope with any crisis. The Tories know the price if everything by the value of nothing. The lack of resilience in the NHS has persisted over the last 20 years at least, and has gotten worse with each year. A “managed” – translate – deliberate decline. .. The opposite of fattening up for slaughter. It is a policy of starving it for total take over by the shady outfits they schmooze at black and white tie banquets. NB Johnson prioritised yet another fiesta of the monied 1%, instead of visiting the flood victims.

      We do not have a secure country with out resilience BUILT IN to critical services NHS, Fire Services, Paramedics, Military etc. We cannot run a proper country on the cheap.

  2. Many retired health professionals will have health issues themselves that make them unable to work – the time and treasure wasted just investigating and exonerating or prosecuting those who refuse will be typical of these Tory wankers.
    As the savings promised by UC will turn out to be a net loss to the exchequer of billions when the enforcement costs are counted, so it will be here if things get as bad as it’s feared they might.
    The Tories are happy to force the disabled and the dying to look for work so using ’emergency legislation’ to force doctors and nurses out of retirement will be no moral bar for Hand, Cock, Blowjob & Co.
    COVID-19 and brexit together could be the perfect storm that finishes off the Tories for good.

    1. I wonder how long it’ll take the Tories to figure out that hotels need next to nothing to convert them into temporary isolation hospitals?
      Offer ‘hospital assistant’ jobs to healthy young unemployed people or volunteers – at a decent pay rate rather than trying to rip them off, obviously.
      Not enough money? Get it from the super-rich.
      Their exotic, cushioned lives are as vulnerable as ours in a pestilential world – looked at that way they have more invested and more to lose.
      First billionaire to die will open many wallets.
      Maybe if they help save the planet we’ll forgive them for wrecking it.

    2. Mr McNiven I am one of those retired medical professionals with health problems you describe. Firstly I am minded that you can compel people to attend but what level of performance would result is questionable. There is also the question of retraining to reach a level of competence that would satisfy the regulations for professional registration ( currently that also requires a minimum number of hours practiced in past year). There is also the matter,should compulsion be an issue, of duty of care,that is should vulnerable people be put into a position of risk and imagine the compensation claims that might ensue. Like the bridge to Ireland,another Government idea which,for want of a better word,is utter codswallop designed to grab a few headlines from their media mouthpieces.

      1. Precisely Jim. People really do not realise how ignorant the Tory governments are of basic professional matters across the board. Their priorities is in essence eugenics combined with gross irresponsibility with ignorance. COVID is indicative ie we ultimately cannot be safe, healthy and secure when increasing numbers here and abroad are not. You cannot get a resilient healthcare on the cheap. You cannot force vulnerable health professionals ie over 60s for this particular virus, to suddenly pick up slack. Plus the Tories see a free hospital bed as a waste of money. The reality is an effective health service must have available critical care beds. Emergencies like these DO happen. A virus will spread. Everything is connected: schools, transport, tourism, farming, everything. We are all connected and best seek each other’s interest, especially of the most vulnerable. Tories A and B sides will never understand that. It is their nature.

      2. Jim, all good points.
        The Tories have recently proved they care nothing for the law (or even good sense) when it doesn’t suit their purpose.
        I suspect they might take ‘war powers’ and make all NHS compensation and even insurance claims deniable as ‘national emergency’ or ‘act of god’ exceptions to normal standards.
        I wonder – does the US health insurance mafia make more or less profit in such circumstances?
        In the aftermath of the Black Death this ostensibly capitalist government would have made it illegal for workers to demand market rates “in the National Interest” I suspect.
        The interest of their rich donors, as the Tories see it, IS the National Interest.
        We could see a bonfire of our rights in the name of “protecting” us from something far less severe than the 1918/19 influenza pandemic.

  3. IT reminds me of the austerity measures that came out years ago.Her Royal Highness after consulting with the establishments.decided to do some belt tightening.Yes times were hard the peasantry needed to be shown an example of leading from the front..She in her infinate wisdom decided that there would be no pay rises for the servants and some would have to go.Naturally the Royals still got an above inflation gift of the wonga from our hard pressed establishment,which allowed our most high to struggle along with the cutbacks that the peasantry needed.to teach them to be fiscally prudent.And then along came Jeremy Corbyn?.He didn’t like bowing and the privy council.He was held in contempt by most of the establishment and his mps held their long noses when he went by..Would our newfound socialism triumph over a public school buffoon.?.The Story of Corbyn does not end,and good will one day triumph over evil…..But by then us oldies will be long gone.

  4. Aktion T4 rolling along with out much of a ado but wait this virus sent to cull the stock will help them once more to wean out the useless feeders of the benefits system horah

    1. Viruses don’t discriminate Jeffrey. They don’t have stansdards and will infect toerags just as happily as you or me.

      The toerags know this, just as we do. If they actually DO start conscripting NHS medical retirees, the next thing will be a curfew/lockdown. After that, they’ll retire to a nuclear bunker somewhere.

      But they’ll have to come out, eventually…

  5. The country voted for these malicious bastards remember , and Corbyn repeatedly warned the Nation what would happen to the NHS if they did .
    So as the Daily Hate readership queue up at AE , and hopefully die whilst waiting to be seen by the geriatric Dr , there must be no whining from them or the rest who voted Tory , so suck it up and die with the rest of us you bastards , we voted for Labour , you voted for get brexit done now it’s you lot that are done ….. for !

  6. Sheer hitler’s bunker-style desperation now from the toerags. Their refusal to insure against something like this by spending the much-needed – As & when it was needed, instead of lining their own pockets – has seen them start to even dare to publicly state they could resort to measures like conscription of NHS retirees.

    It’s reminiscent of the latter days of the third reich, when the ‘Volkssturm’ was ‘drafted’.

    It was the Communists at the door back then; today it’s a virus…And viruses don’t discriminate. I don’t give a f**k what it is – I just hope it brings these avaricious neo-nazi bastards down.

  7. Forget the political rhetoric for a bit. The central issue in this is governmental competence.

    Have a look at this cabinet, and the most outstanding feature is the collection of tenth-rate pole-climbers that it contains, backed by people like Cummings whose main claim to intellectual and organisational ability is in his own brain rather than the real world.. A piss-up in a brewery would test their abilities.

    Looking at the litmus of the leadership election and the recent nature of the PLP, I’m not over-confident of the supply of competence there, either..

  8. Hello Jim, I am also a retired health worker thankfully retired too long to return without extensive re training. I can also claim that having had a new aortic valve would could along with my age put me in a high risk category. I agree with all you say, but do not forget that the Royal College of Nursing and is always ready to work with the government, and the Nursing and Midwifery council being a statutory regulator can no doubt be leaned upon. The British medical Association and hopefully the General Medical council will both be less amenable to pressure.

    1. totally agree heavytreeman. the Royal Colleges all cave in to governments and dance to their tune. Just like the unions, despite receiving millions in dues, too often they fail to serve us. From head to toe the whole system of the country and the world needs well considered reconstruction.
      Ps even the system of Royal Patronage. Quite outrageous. They have effectively been captured, tamed, yoked and easily made to do as instructed. The more you look and any bit of this country, the more you see the urgent need for someone like Richard Burgon and Chris Williamson who are perceptive, and are full of courage and realise direction must be visible, heard and clear. It is a tall ask but can be done. After all, even students can send satellites up to space (University of Surrey). We already do incredible things as a species. There is no reason why we cannot rewire this country… replace the Tory rust.

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