Patrick Christys: Is it time we stopped protecting the NHS and it started protecting us?

'If you’re poor, you’re now more likely to die, now, I’m pretty sure the NHS was set up to prevent that from happening.'

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Is it time we stopped protecting the NHS and it started protecting us? We have around 5.5m people on an NHS waiting list, not just for routine operations, no, for major procedures.

In fact, people are having to dig through their life savings to pay for life saving operations by going private – apparently it costs around £20,000 to have a stent fitted in your heart. So, you can put a price on life?

And that’s where I’m at with it – if you’re poor, you’re now more likely to die, now, I’m pretty sure the NHS was set up to prevent that from happening. How do you feel, then, about the fact that Doctors are now being paid £100-an-hour to work remotely? In fact, the NHS is incentivising them to work from home by giving them remote appointments to hit.

The British Medical Association wants doctors to be able to dictate the speed of their return to normality. Well, people who find a lump and struggle to get a face to face GP appointment can’t dictate the speed at which their cancer spreads. Covid is a terrible virus, there’s no question about that, and there probably was about a two week period where I thought the world was going to end.

Whitty was ill, Boris was in intensive care, Dominic Cummings was seen physically legging it out of Downing Street like a rat off a sinking ship, Matt Hancock was forced into isolation – a sad metaphor of things to come for the bloke – and there were so many ambulances with the blues and twos on that it sounded like a deadly rave outside.

But we’re not there anymore. I’m going to go out on a limb here – I don’t think most people care about the fact that covid cases are 26 times higher than they were this time last year. Maybe I’m wrong but I honestly don’t think most people still want to see our daily covid figures beamed out to us.

Yep, there were thousands and thousands of Covid cases last week, but there was a 7 day average of 112 deaths, every death is a tragedy of course. But more people are dying of flu and pneumonia now - 4,564 in July to be precise, compared with 3,876 Covid deaths.

We were told to lockdown to save lives, now we’re being told that because of the lockdown, people will die waiting for NHS treatment – how does that work? All the while, there were 420,000 fewer face-to-face GP appointments last month alone. Who are the biggest losers in all this? The elderly – old people. The most vulnerable. How do you expect a 75-year-old woman to log onto Skype and speak to her doctor?

I know some old people who, to be honest, would probably struggle to find the laptop, let alone turn it on and use it. And if we’re not letting people catch an illness early, doesn’t that mean that it ends up costing us more in the long run?

Look, I know doctors had it rough at the height of the pandemic, I know that actually it’s their union that’s dragging its feet more than the actual doctors, but I also know that in July we had 16,248 heart disease deaths – 4.3 times more than our Covid death rate.

Covid isn’t the only show in town, we need to stop prioritising it over everything else – and if the British Medical Association actually cared about patients’ health, it would be telling GPs to get back to their practice and see people face to face.

Like I said, I want the NHS to protect me, it shouldn’t be me protecting the NHS.