Government's plan FAILED leaving NHS in 'chaos', Lancet editor says
Government’s contain and delay plan FAILED because ministers did not follow WHO advice to ‘test, test, test’ for coronavirus cases leaving NHS in ‘chaos and panic’, Lancet editor says
- Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, argued numerous warnings were ignored
- He added that Government’s Contain-Delay-Mitigate-Research plan had failed
- Total of 759 people have now died in UK hospitals after being diagnosed
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
NHS bosses could have prevented ‘chaos and panic’ in a system left ‘wholly unprepared for this pandemic’, according to the editor of a British medical journal.
Dr Richard Horton, writing in The Lancet, argued that numerous warnings were issued to the NHS but that they were not heeded.
He added that the Government’s Contain-Delay-Mitigate-Research plan had failed.
Dr Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, has argued that numerous warnings were issued to the NHS but that they were not heeded.
In an article published earlier today, Dr Horton cited an example from his journal from January 20.
It read: ‘Preparedness plans should be readied for deployment at short notice, including securing supply chains of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, hospital supplies and the necessary human resources to deal with the consequences of a global outbreak of this magnitude.’
He said: ‘It failed, in part, because ministers didn’t follow WHO’s advice to ‘test, test, test’ every suspected case. They didn’t isolate and quarantine. They didn’t contact trace.
The statement comes after a total of 759 people have now died in UK hospitals after being diagnosed with coronavirus with more than 14,500 confirmed cases
Dr Horton went on to express concerns over the Government’s new Suppress–Shield–Treat–Palliate plan. Pictured: An emergency department nurse during a demonstration of a coronavirus pod
‘These basic principles of public health and infectious disease control were ignored, for reasons that remain opaque.’
Dr Horton went on to express concerns over the Government’s new Suppress–Shield–Treat–Palliate plan.
He added: ‘But this plan, agreed far too late in the course of the outbreak, has left the NHS wholly unprepared for the surge of severely and critically ill patients that will soon come.’
‘The result has been chaos and panic across the NHS.’
In response, Professor Keith Willett, NHS Strategic Incident Director for Covid-19, said: ‘Actually the NHS declared a Level Four – the highest – National Emergency on January 30, the day before his magazine article that Dr Horton claims should have been the signal, and fully six weeks before the World Health Organisation itself declared coronavirus a pandemic.
‘Since then the NHS has mobilised right across the country at every level – to free up 33,000 beds for coronavirus patients – a third of all hospital capacity. We’ve enabled 18,000 nurses and doctors to return to practice, supported by 730,000 new volunteers.
‘And we’ve struck an unprecedented deal with the independent sector to use en bloc their 8,000 beds, as well as building three new Nightingale hospitals and procuring all available ventilators and clinical equipment.
‘So in respect of our NHS responsibilities and response, the facts clearly speak for themselves.’
The article echoes Dr Horton’s sentiment broadcast on BBC Question Time on Thursday where he said: ‘Honestly, I am sorry to say this, but it’s a national scandal’
Dr Horton reiterated his sentiment on BBC Question Time on Thursday where he said: ‘Honestly, I am sorry to say this, but it’s a national scandal.
‘We shouldn’t be in this position. We knew this was coming.
‘The message from China was absolutely clear that a new virus with pandemic potential was hitting cities, people were being admitted to hospital, admitted to intensive care units and dying – and the mortality rate was growing.
‘We knew that 11 weeks ago and then we wasted February when we could have acted.
‘It was a time where we could have ramped up testing, time when we could have got personal protective equipment ready and disseminated.
‘We didn’t do it.’
Dr Horton’s warning came as the UK saw its biggest day-on-day rise in deaths since the Covid-19 outbreak began with Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock both testing positive for coronavirus.
A total of 759 people have now died in UK hospitals after being diagnosed with coronavirus with more than 14,500 confirmed cases.
But the government also announced that NHS staff would be tested from next week after hospital bosses reported a 50 per cent staff absence rate as many self isolated after showing symptoms.
More than 18,000 doctors, nurses and other former NHS staff have volunteered to return to work to fight the virus.
The en masse effort came after NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens was forced to defend his track record heading the service after the country’s proportion of intensive care units before the crisis among the lowest in Europe.
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