Socialist Worker

Avoidable coronavirus spike means hospitals will have to limit services

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2730

North Manchester General Hospital

North Manchester General Hospital (Pic: Steven Haslington )


Routine NHS care is being delayed in an attempt to cope with the devastating second Covid-19 spike.

Greater Manchester hospitals have suspended non-urgent surgery and appointments after a surge in the number of coronavirus patients.

Operations and appointments for cancer and other urgent conditions will continue, but other bookings are to be paused from Monday, the Manchester Evening News reported.

Another hospital trust has declared a major incident as demand for oxygen rises among Covid-19 patients.

Grimsby and Scunthorpe Hospital Trust has seen a big rise in coronavirus patients admitted.

Medical director Kate Wood said, “I can confirm that the Trust has enacted its Major Incident Plan due to the demands on our oxygen supplies.

“We have also put a call out for additional nursing staff to work extra shifts.”

Double

But due to lack of staff, revised NHS England guidelines will mean nurses will have to look after double the number of patients. NHS bosses are ruling that nurses can look after two critically ill Covid-19 patients at the same time.

Dr Alison Pittard, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care said the changes were “not sustainable in the long term.”

“There is sickness that makes the current situation worse, but the main issue is the longstanding failure to expand the workforce, and that is doctors, nurses and allied health professionals,” she said.

In Liverpool, the government’s claim to be testing the entire city may soon fall flat.

A rapid Covid-19 test being rolled out across the city was found to miss more than 50 percent of positive cases in its trial phase in Greater Manchester.

The tests, which give results in 20 minutes, flagged up only 46.7 percent of positive results last month.

“We felt abandoned by the state”—health workers speak out as they prepare for second wave
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So the government’s first mass screening effort is likely to miss vital opportunities to stop the spread.

Meanwhile, the Independent Sage group of scientists said Britain faces the prospect of “continual lockdowns”. It added that the government must provide proper financial support for people forced to self-isolate.

The group said a similar policy to the present lockdown would be needed again next year unless the test, trace, isolate and support system was fixed quickly.

David King, who chairs the committee, said people who were told to self-isolate needed to be sure that “they will not suffer by isolating”.

He said that the government’s strategy of simply fining people who break the rules was not working.

Some eight months after the beginning of the first lockdown, the Tories are still trapped in the headlights about how to deal with Covid-19.

Their delays and mistakes put us all at risk.


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