CoVid-19 – NHS workers facing ‘carnage and chaos’ and feel like ‘cannon fodder’

19th March 2020 / United Kingdom
CoVid-19 - NHS workers facing 'carnage and chaos' and feel like 'cannon fodder'

We should all be concerned about the demands all frontline health service workers facing with the impending coronavirus pandemic that is now sweeping across Britain. One thing this event will demonstrate is just how prepared the NHS is and just how much support they are getting right now and how much they have been undermined over the last decade. One thing is for sure – NHS staff are complaining of a lack of support at a time of crisis and the money men have suddenly run away.

Front line staff, from ambulance crew, hospital crew and cleaners are all as important as medics in a crisis like this. All the cogs need to be turning and any that fail can bring the operation of an entire hospital grinding to a halt. There is no doubt that all staff are issued with the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) such as proper gowns, masks, gloves etc at all times to protect themselves and patients and to prevent the spread of this virus.

However, ambulance workers across the UK turned up for shifts this morning to find no hand sanitiser, face masks or wipes and faulty testing equipment, the GMB Union says.

Paramedics and ambulance workers are also being forced to deal with inconsistent guidance and fatigue due to increased workloads as colleagues self-isolate.

Meanwhile, 111 call numbers are up to 70% higher than this time last year.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said:

The stories we are getting from the front line are obscene. How can you expect our emergency workers to deal with the COVID-19 crisis without hand sanitiser, wipes or masks? Our hardworking ambulance members will always put the patients first  – but they shouldn’t have to unnecessarily risk their lives to do so. This terrible situation is the direct result of ten years of crushing cuts to our NHS. Managers of ambulance services are at a loss as to what to do – they want to protect staff but are unable to. But the Government and Public Health England can take steps to make it right – starting by meeting our five key demands to keep the country safe.

The same has happened at hospitals where porters who are transporting patients from ambulances and patients arriving on their own have been left with no protective equipment at all. In one hospital, porters need permission from senior staff to even use PPE. Many NHS workers who are transporting coronavirus patients from major hospitals in London – including St Georges NHS, Croydon NHS and Kingston Hospital NHS –  are not being given even the basics such as hand sanitiser.

ITV news are running a blog this morning from the NHS front-line. It reports of doctors and nurses now off with the virus as they have no proper equipment to protect them. There’s a desperate call for frontline staff to be tested for CoVid-19 and are warning of ‘carnage and chaos.’ Doctors here are asking “Why gamble with our lives.”

The BBC reports this morning that – doctors felt like “cannon fodder” as they do not have access to equipment such as face masks and that not enough of them were being tested for the virus.

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Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, from lobbying group the Doctors’ Association, said she had heard from doctors who had not got access to PPE – or it had expired or run out.

“All these doctors are worried that that’s increasing their likelihood of contracting the virus and then ultimately spreading it to patients,” she said.

Dr Frances Mair said her GP practice in Scotland – “like many others” – still did not have “the PPE that we require to keep us safe”.

Tooting Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan – who works shifts in her local hospital – said the government must secure safety equipment for NHS staff. And she begged Boris Johnson in the Commons to provide more protective equipment for doctors on the frontline of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“NHS colleagues on the frontline are already stressed with the pressure they face. “We are in unprecedented times, I would like to know, where was the forward planning for PPE for our NHS and care staff? Where is the testing for medics? Why are waiting so long for mass testing? And why are social distancing measures merely just suggestions?

Even the right-wing gutter press is going for the government amid the crisis. When the Daily Mail (we don’t do links to the DM) has a pop, you know the government is in meltdown and it’s obvious even they have to report something relating to what is actually happening. It reports of yet another government U-turn and asks the government to “get a grip,” protect NHS staff and increase testing. They even accused their selected leader of making Britain fight the epidemic ‘blindfolded.’

And if there was a signal that anyone needed that the Boris Johnson government are clearly not in control, and leading many to their deaths whilst not aiming government aid at the right places, one only has to look at what capitalism itself thinks – the Pound has fallen to its lowest level against the US dollar since 1985, in what is a damning verdict on the government’s response. When it comes to Britain’s repsonse, the money men are running for the hills.

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