Labour’s Stephen Brown writes in response to the very serious situation arising over coronavirus.
It is clear something more needs doing. The Government’s response to Coronavirus has been shambolic. Their advice has flip flopped, been inconsistent, we are told one thing one day something else the next, they are at odds with global epidemiology opinion, they have not properly prepared, they have wasted 2 valuable months, and they are only now wanting ventilator manufacturing stepped up. What’s more, they have refused to get involved in EU tele-conferencing to discuss measures to combat coronavirus in order to keep Brexit ‘pure’. This is ideological madness.
Just like during the recent flooding crisis, they have been found seriously wanting.
Is this what we can expect from them for the next 5 years? The country will not be able to take it.
No wonder people are making their own decisions to self isolate, look after their own, stay off work, and keep their kids off school. Panic buying is just the visible evidence of this presently. We have seen more coordinated responses from both our communities self organising to help the vulnerable, and businesses or even the Premier League than our own Government.
Is it that they can’t be bothered to do the job they were elected to do only 3 months ago?
We know from his school master’s report that even back then he was lazy and refused to put the work in, expecting he would get rewarded simply for being him. These are not the qualities we need from a Prime Minister in a crisis.
For Labour nationally, Jon Ashworth, Shadow Health Secretary, has called on the Government to “leave no stone unturned” in search of intensive care units to treat the sick. What’s more, private sector hospital beds should be requisitioned to help the NHS cope. Jon Ashworth also says Ministers should use “emergency powers to guarantee that doctors have access to beds in privately-run hospitals and clinics, should NHS capacity run out.”
Meanwhile, medics have cautioned that there could be a national shortage of critical care beds. Not least because as well as coronavirus patients, people with serious conditions may also require emergency treatment.
It is thought there are as many as 8,000 beds in the UK’s 570 private hospitals, and that some could be turned into intensive care units in an emergency.
Labour has long criticised the Tory Government’s running down of the NHS, its Health and Social Care Act 2012 paving the way to more privatisation, and the fact we have 10,000 too few doctors, 40,000 too few nurses, and reduced hospital beds to a third of those available in Germany. The NHS has needed investment for years that the Tories have simply not provided, nor the leadership required.
We see Worcester Royal A&E now officially unable to cope with current demand. During this crisis capacity is needed more than ever. Sadly, it just isn’t there. People want their services ready and able to cope and locally placed. Whilst our NHS and its staff do a fantastic job, they have been let down by the Government.
Our local MP, Mark Garnier, once again, is nowhere to be seen. Where are his demands of his Government for immediate resources, and the money our NHS and social care beds needs locally? He’s literally only retweeted Boris Johnson once and his ‘stay at home for 7 days advice’.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on the Government to do more. He has said the Government “should bring in a payment holiday for rent and mortgages as part of its emergency legislation to support people affected by coronavirus.” He’s also written to Boris Johnson calling for “improvements to sick pay, the suspension of requirements at jobcentres, and support for food banks distributing supplies.”
To round up I’ll say this – It is quite clear the Government needs to do more. It’s handling has been shambolic. Right now it should be closing schools, shutting down all events that attract numbers of people, supporting those self isolating or who are sick already with day one sick pay, and/or with special payments to freelance/self-employed workers, helping business with measures for staff where possible to work from home. It should also be looking at or considering shutting down all national public transport and international transport links; except for essential supplies and necessary coronavirus co-operation/co-ordination, including for health and care workers. Unless we go into a reasonable level of lockdown, the consequences of this virus for our country and the deaths arising will be hard felt. Boris Johnson’s message that we “should take it on the chin” or that “herd immunity” will protect us is imbecilic nonsense.
It’s not too late however but the Government really need to up their game.