Former BMA deputy chair Dr Kailash Chand condemns COVID hospital scam after Sunday Times reveals £1m per patient cost
Leading medic and health campaigner Dr Kailash Chand has condemned the outrageous cost of the government’s ‘Nightingale’ hospitals, calling for the shaming of Health Secretary Matt Hancock after the Sunday Times revealed that only 200 patients were treated in the hospitals because of staff shortages, with each one costing the taxpayer over one million pounds.
Chand, former deputy chair of the British Medical Association (BMA), tweeted that Hancock should be ‘shamed’ for setting up a system that benefited only ‘privateers’:
Dr Chand was speaking in a private capacity, but BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has also blasted the Tories’ handling of the pandemic in a searing speech.
The Sunday Times has highlighted a ‘staff shortage’ as the reason for the issues and for the fact that only two of the seven hospitals built ever treated patients. But in fact, the shortages and inefficiency were baked into the system: while a list of criteria for admission barred many of the most vulnerable from accessing treatment in a Nightingale facility, the Department of Health also required hospitals sending patients to Nightingale units to also provide staff to treat them, meaning that trusts had to divert staff away from their own hospitals to staff Nightingales if they wanted to send any patients, rendering the facilities near-redundant.
As with so much else the Tories have done in power, Nightingale ‘hospitals’ appear to have been an expensive scam to make the Tories look like they were taking meaningful action and to enrich their backers and friends. Kailash Chand is absolutely right to call for them to be publicly shamed.
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