Award-winning doctor Kailash Chand welcomes BBC’s Panorama programme – but points out the government’s failures and negligence go far further than mass shortages of protective equipment and says it’s time to hold it to account
Dr Kailash Chand OBE has spoken out to welcome the BBC’s Panorama exposé of the Tories’ massive and negligent failure to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic and to provide adequate ‘PPE’ – personal protective equipment – to front-line NHS staff.
But he also points out that the PPE disaster – which has already cost more than 150 health workers and uncounted patients their lives – is just the tip of the huge iceberg of the government’s guilt. Among a litany of Tory decisions, Chand lists:
- nurse shortages of 40,000
- doctor shortages of 10,000
- a decade of real-terms funding cuts
- the collapse of A&E capabilities
- the decision to reduce the status of COVID-19 from the highest threat level (to avoid legal responsibility to provide protective equipment)
- the ongoing refusal to follow World Health Organisation advice
- unforgivable delays in acting when we knew the pandemic was coming here
- 150 or more deaths among health staff (though the government is still understating the number by a third)
- ongoing shortages of protective equipment
All these have weakened the NHS and made us all far more vulnerable to the pandemic than we needed to be.
Chand talks of his pride in the NHS and his sense of shame and furious anger at the scandal of UK death rates compared to the rest of the world: 325 people per million – up from 233 per million just a week or so ago – versus around 25 per million in most other countries.
13 times higher.
Kailash Chand says he is not sad over these appalling facts – he is deeply angry. And he calls for people to rise up and demand accountability:
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