Patrick Christys: 'The NHS has broken down and tens of thousands of people may die - but not from Covid'

'People are getting an ambulance, being taken to hospital, then dying in the back of it as they wait to be admitted.'

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The NHS has broken down.

Not my words, but the words of an emergency worker who is at their whits end.

Guidelines state that it should take 8 minutes for the ambulance to arrive if the call is life threatening or an emergency.

Not only are people waiting hours for an ambulance now, some dying in excruciating pain on the floor of their own homes, but the latest debacle is this:

People are getting an ambulance, being taken to hospital, then dying in the back of it as they wait to be admitted.

It's reported that at times, there can be around 25 ambulances waiting outside a single hospital. And some crews are waiting up to nine hours to offload patients.

Can you imagine the feeling of being in the back of an ambulance, knowing that you’re on the way out, knowing that just yards away is the hospital, the gates of safety, the cure…and you’re not allowed inside…

What are the reasons behind this? Well, bed shortages is reportedly one of them. The number of beds was reduced to increase distancing during the Covid crisis.

That’s one of the reasons they built the Nightingale Hospitals, which were then closed. Some of them still have the capacity to be operational.

More than one in six NHS trusts across England had declared a critical incident due to ‘Covid pressures’ in recent weeks, adding that the Omicron variant was putting “very real” pressure on the health service.

But I don’t really see how bed shortages due to Covid can be the main problem. Figures published on the 29th December showed COVID-19 hospital admissions are DOWN more than 50 per cent compared to this time last year.

A total of 8,474 people were in hospital with coronavirus on the 27th December - a huge drop on the massive 19,277 admissions recorded on the same day in 2020.

So I think it’s reasonable to suggest that one of the main reasons for the admissions crisis is staff shortages - the amount of health staff self-isolating.

Recent data from NHS England shows 39,142 NHS staff at hospital trusts in England were absent for Covid-19 reasons on January 2, up 59% on the previous week, when it was 24,632, and more than three times the number at the start of December, when it was 12,508.

As it stands we’re making NHS staff relentlessly self-isolate because of Omicron. They’re doing lateral flow tests ALL the time, PCR tests as well - those same PCR tests that can detect dead virus in your system for up to 90 days after you’ve had Covid.

The government now seriously has to consider removing the requirement for NHS staff to be vaccinated. I know that many of you would hate to be treated by someone who hasn’t taken the Covid vaccine, but if it’s a choice between that and not being treated at all, or there not being enough staff to treat elderly relatives, then would that change your mind?

King’s College London, one of London's biggest hospitals, could lose 10% of its staff if the government doesn’t change its mandatory vaccination rules for NHS workers.

It’s a really bizarre situation this, but we do have to now consider whether or not NHS staff should be forced to take time off work if they have Omicron…I know, it sounds nuts doesn’t it - how can we consider having people potentially with Covid treating hospital patients.

Well, if we don’t, then perhaps thousands of patients won’t get treated at all…I know that sounds insane but, I think it’s worth asking the question, especially if we’re going to have to learn to live with this thing.

I can’t help but wonder whether or not we’re now starting to see the impact of our original response to this pandemic. When we locked down, when we shut everything down, certain things happened: like, 740,000 people not being referred to a cancer diagnosis, like people not being able to get a GP appointment, like operations being cancelled, like people being misdiagnosed with illnesses over Zoom and FaceTime.

I wonder how many people in the back of these ambulances now waiting outside hospitals are now more sick, because they couldn’t get treatment a year ago…We’ll never know.

The government’s solution to this is to strike a deal that sees some patients treated in private hospitals…well. How does that solve the problem? That surely just means people paying for private healthcare might have to wait longer for their treatment.

And the irony there is that many people paying for private healthcare now are only doing it because they can’t get treated on the NHS!

The government released a statement saying they were increasing NHS capacity by building onsite Nightingale hubs.

Well, hang on a minute, the taxpayer forked out half a billion quid for the original Nightingale hospitals and they were left empty, why? Because we didn’t have the staff to man them…so given that we currently have a staffing crisis forgive me for thinking this current Nightingale bright ideas might not really be a go-er.

The fact is, it’s a bad time to get ill. And money isn’t the solution. If our NHS doesn’t learn to live with Covid, or if our government doesn’t let it learn to live with Covid, then tens of thousands of people may well die…not because of Covid.