On Holding Our Collective Breath

Southsea Shoreline

Up early this morning and managed to catch the sunrise. It’s important to find space, to find moments of peace, especially at times like these. Today’s weather is forecast to be glorious. And yet, and yet.

Another 980 confirmed hospital deaths. Countless more in care homes and the wider community. A sycophantic media prioritising celebrating a “Good Friday” because our PM has survived over highlighting all the key workers dying for an entirely preventable lack of PPE. The Health Minister criticising NHS workers for the overuse of said equipment on the same day as the Nursing Times reports that nurses are terrified because they can’t get what they need. The NHS itself being criticised as a lumbering behemoth in the Daily Telegraph even at this stage, before we have reached the peak of cases and deaths. The blame game positioning has started already it seems.

And yet, and yet. What was the government doing in January and February? Why did it take them until March to ask other companies to switch manufacturing to make additional ventilators? Ventilators that for the most part aren’t expected to be ready until after the peak? Scratch beneath the surface of the government’s approach in these two months and you will see plenty of other examples of what seems like a lackadaisical , nonchalant attitude , which when combined with their complete mismanagement of health and social care over the past ten years doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence -remember Andrew Lansley’s top down reforms, shortly after David Cameron came to power, explicitly breaking one of the Conservative Party’s main policy commitments?

It is also easy to write this with 20/20 hindsight – and of course we won’t truly understand which government has got it right until those whose approaches seem to have worked, such as Germany, New Zealand and South Korea, fully come out of lockdown, and we hold our collective breath waiting for the second wave. I fervently hope that despite all my doubts that the UK government has got it right. I guess we will all have to wait and see.

Keep safe, and good luck over the coming weeks.

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