Dr Tony O’Sullivan, a former consultant community paeditrician at Lewisham Hospital and Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public has released a video explaining why the herd immunity strategy was dangerous, the need for proper personal, protective equipment known as PPE for care workers, teachers, transport staff as well as NHS employees. He argues for serious policy changes.
At the start, Dr O’Sullivan quotes Richard Horton, the editor of medical journal The Lancet when he says: “Coronavirus is the greatest global science policy failure in a generation. Austerity blunted the ambition and commitment of government to protect its people. The political objective was to diminish the size and role of the state. The result was to leave the country fatally weakened.”
The years of austerity following the financial crash in 2008, have “undermined the ability of the NHS to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Specifically, the ideology of the free market, the ‘decimation’ of social care, ‘cruelty’ of universal credit and the ‘vicious hostel environment that has ended universal access’ to the NHS “endanger our entire population facing this national crisis” says Dr O’Sullivan.
Dr O’Sullivan explains and discusses herd immunity. A common implication of the term is that the risk of infection among susceptible individuals in a population is reduced by the presence and proximity of immune individuals – this is sometimes referred to as “indirect protection” or a “herd effect”. Immunity is often given by a vaccine or recovery from the infection itself.
In a quick calculation, Dr O’Sullivan reveals that 400,000 deaths in theory would result in a herd immunity policy that is thought to have been pursued by the Government in the early days of the pandemic:
“Some-one thought that was a price worth paying in order to keep the economy open” he says.
Dr Tony O’Sullivan supports and encourages concerned citizens to take action by signing a petition supported by Keep Our NHS Public and the Socialist Health Association.
“That’s why we’re calling on the UK Government and devolved governments to urgently take the following measures to protect NHS workers and the general public:
- COVID-19 testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be available for all NHS and social care staff now
- Those relying on social care (or ‘Direct Payments’) must be given immediate support if carers go sick
- NHS support staff (including those outsourced) must receive at least living wage, paid sick leave for illness or self-isolation and an increase in statutory sick pay
- Bring private health resources into public service without compensation to fight COVID-19 and aid NHS response
- Make all information that the Government is basing its strategy on wholly available for public scrutiny
- An immediate end to legislation enforcing eligibility checks and charging in the NHS, including those related to residency status or national origin, allowing all patients to use the NHS without fear.”
Councillor Alan Hall agrees that we need to fund the NHS fully. We need to fund and fully integrate, in the public service, the NHS and social care. The links have never been clearer. We need to fund public health properly. The savage cuts continue and it’s time to stop this.
Dr O’Sullivan concludes with this message:
“Coronavirus is a tragedy. The response is a political scandal. But out of this, we need to seize the opportunity to learn from these mistakes and call on the public to demand a return to a wholly public National Health Service and to create a wholly public National Care Service.”