Campaign group Recovery has taken the testimony of NHS workers concerned about the way our NHS is being run during the pandemic. In this series of articles Thinkscotland.org is publishing a selection of staff comments about the reality of the NHS during the pandemic.
From a General Practitioner…
“I’VE WORKED as a GP in the NHS since 1986. I have been horrified at the way the government have handled the pandemic. Stopping me seeing my patients face-to-face overnight has been a nightmare for me and my patients.
With no training as managers retreated to working from home, no laptop for me to work from home, poor IT systems which weren’t fit for purpose, and weren’t up to telemedicine and elderly patients unable to cope with video consultations or sending photos in, and difficulty hearing on the phone.
I have seen immense suffering in so many groups of people entirely due to lockdown.
I have seen only a handful of patients with serious Covid symptoms but hundreds of patients suffering due to lockdown.
Cancers diagnosed too late, heart disease due to delays in tests and treatments. Mental health issues in all ages. Care home patients not allowed visits. Toddlers bedwetting due to stress. The list is endless.
My dad died alone in a care home as I was banned from visiting at all.
I have written to Matt Hancock, Boris, Helen Whateley, my MP. No answers or just a standard reply. I’m on the verge of resigning.
Still not able to see many patients face-to-face because of social distancing meaning only two allowed in waiting room. I despair. This is no service. It’s a disgrace.”
From a nurse in neurology…
“I HAVE BEEN working in the NHS for many years and always loved what I do however the last 18 months has shown me that patient care isn’t at the forefront.
I specialise in Neurology, working with pre-op and post-op care however the amount of patients in my department through the last 18 months has been way below the expected rate, the reason for this was because Covid took precedence so those patients who needed neurological treatment were pushed lower. The beds were minimal, most of my shifts had me working with up to 5 patients maximum.
Sadly this also led to unnecessary deaths.
I tried to raise my concerns but was given many verbal warnings, pulled into the offices and spoken to about going above my pay grade and whistleblowing.”
Personally I know that other departments suffered because a family member of mine was due to have an appointment with a specialist due to a tumour found. This appointment was cancelled and the waiting time for a next available appointment was way off. My family member now has the diagnosis of terminal cancer and will heartbreakingly lose his life. His specialist told him this could have been avoided.
Given this, I handed in my resignation and will be moving on.
I certainly don’t feel like a hero, I feel like a failure.
I feel that our roles are vital but too many patients were failed when they shouldn’t have been.”
From a dental practitioner…
“THE REDUCTION in access for NHS Dentistry must be explained.
NHSE and PHE forced the closure of ALL dental practices at the end of March 2020 with only a handful of practices able to see patients face-to-face during early April building eventually to about 600 practices Nationally. It was only on 8th June that all practices could re-open and see patients face-to-face.
So from 25 March to 7 June 2020 Dentists were triaging (fobbing off) patients and dishing out antibiotics like smarties under what was billed ‘Triple A’: Advice, Analgesics, Antibiotics. An appalling way to treat toothache but forced by State obsession with Covid. An excessive response not used elsewhere in the world.
Things only improved slightly in June with practices operating under excessive protocols for PPE and the introduction of fallow time requiring surgeries to be tested for an hour after every use of the high speed drill. No science applied and a talk to the band approach from PHE who refused to consider evidence coming from the EU and rest of the World that fallow time was not required.
NHS practices were only required to do 20 per cent of the activity provided in the same period last year. This ran from July to December 2020. Many did much more than this but the activity included telephone calls so for some activity was exceedingly low.
From Jan to March 2021 activity only needed to be 45 per cent and from April to October 2021 60 per cent. All this against backdrop of continued use of excessive PPE and fallow time (although this has reduced in time).
The protocols we operate under deny patients access. Nowhere in the world requires these procedures, they protect nobody.
It is essential pre-Covid protocols return as they have everywhere else in the world. Only then will access recover.”
Photo by Florincristian from Adobe Stock.