Following a country-wide show of solidarity for the NHS, in which members of the public applaud National Health Service workers at 8pm every Thursday evening, some have also called for a weekly round of applause for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Suggestions for a show of support in the government come on the back of Johnson testing positive for the Coronavirus last week, but many have criticised the plan, pointing out a variety of short-comings in the government response to the crisis.
Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet said, “[The government] said it took a study from Imperial to understand the likely burden of COVID-19 on the NHS. But read the first paper we published on COVID-19 on Jan 24. 32% admitted to ITU with 15% mortality. We have wasted 7 weeks. This crisis was entirely preventable.”
NHS workers who are placing their lives at risk to combat the insidious virus have added their voices to those denouncing the call for a celebration of the government’s response to the crisis.
Frustrated NHS doctor, Sonia Adesara said the Government needed to act more quickly, following in the footsteps of nations like Singapore, China and South Korea as they took severe measures to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
Adesara said, “how this virus spreads and the number of deaths caused by this virus are not inevitable. We have seen this from other countries like Singapore, China and South Korea.
“If the Government enforced radical fast action, extensive testing and accurate up to date public information all of these things could have made a difference and slowed the spread of the virus.”
Other NHS workers have lamented a lack of effective personal protective equipment (PPE) and many have voiced their concerns that, after 10 years of relentless Tory austerity, the National Health Service is in no fit state to contend with the unfolding disaster.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s recruitment pledge to employ 50,000 new nurses failed to bear fruit in the New Year, with only 19,000 posts filled by newly trained nurses. At the same time, the £350 million pledged by Boris etal for NHS hospitals is conspicuous in its absence, leaving a vital health service floundering at a time when the country needs it most.
Doctor Bob Gill, outspoken proponent of a public NHS, said, “[the government] is returning one of the best performing, most cost effective systems, which had very little waste before reforms, into something which is driven by the need for profit, syphoning away as much money as possible from the delivery of care. The privatisation of the NHS has been a well planned, long term project.”
Political analyst Keith Spears said, “as the architects of this plan stood outside Number 10 Downing Street and applauded the selfless work of thousands in the health service you could have cut the hypocrisy with a knife.”
“This is a government who have spent a decade grinding nurses, doctors and patients into the dirt with their boot heels, all in the name of abject greed. How can the people of this country, who now may desperately need the expertise of those same doctors and nurses to save their lives, be shortsighted enough to applaud that same government?”