Points-based system means even relatively young people with moderate health issues – or almost anyone with significant physical or mental disability – can be ruled out of life-saving intervention
An chart first published by the Financial Times reveals the decision-making system that the government’s failure to plan ahead and build up the availability of ventilators and a decade of cuts and fragmentation have forced on the NHS in its treatment of coronavirus patients – and how shockingly easy it is to end up with a ‘score’ that may deprive someone of intensive medical intervention if they become seriously ill.
The NHS ‘Decision Support Tool’ allocates points to each patient based on their age, condition and ‘co-morbidities’ – other existing medical conditions – and unlike in most sports, the people with the most points lose.
The chart also reveals the chilling reality that patients with physical or mental disability – even if not otherwise life-limiting – are almost certain to fall foul of the system and miss out on ventilation.
And even not taking regular exercise will put you almost halfway there:
More points, worse result
Under this system, anyone with eight points or more is essentially ruled out – subject to ‘clinical discretion’ – from intubation on a ventilator. As the bottom right table makes clear, only those in the green category will have ‘rapid access to intubation’.
Those with 8 points or more might receive ‘CPAP’ – ‘continuous positive airway pressure’ via a mask.
But patients with high scores who are not helped by a ‘trial’ of CPAP receive at best an ordinary oxygen mask – and face palliative care if they are lucky, or else being sent home or back to a care home where they are likely to die, as well as to infect others.
Scoring is easy
The document reveals a scoring system that many would consider discriminatory or even Darwinist.
A person in a wheelchair, in a stable condition and not dying from their disability but requiring help with personal care, scores 7 points – only one from the eight-point boundary. A person needing help because of an impaired mind also receives 7 points, whether or not they have a deteriorating condition.
A person with even mild limitations to their mobility scores 4 – and someone with no significant limitations but who simply does not exercise regularly scores 3. Any kind of ‘frailty’ quickly moves up the points scale.
Ageism is also intrinsic to the system. The older you are, the more points you ‘score’ – regardless of your fitness level:
And co-morbidities also rack up points, even having high blood pressure – and note that there is no mention of whether it’s controlled by medication, while diabetes expressly scores a point even if it is controlled by medication:
Nobody outside the green 0-8 point zone will even be considered for ‘extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation‘ (ECMO) – a machine that will oxygenate a patient’s blood outside the body – and even those in the green zone will only be considered if they are under 60 years of age:
And note that this ‘Support Tool’ is not in accordance with the usual guidelines for the treatment of ‘ARDS’ – acute respiratory distress syndrome:
The only glimmer of good news – for half the population at least – is that women have a point taken off their score before it is considered, presumably in reference to the fact that female coronavirus sufferers appear to have a higher survival rate than men.
The UK media made much of the stark choice facing Italian and Spanish medics when their health systems were overloaded by the pandemic. But in this country, our hospitals are already using points to deny intervention to older or disabled people and even those with intellectual impairment – to barely a murmur from the ‘MSM’.
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