Author Topic: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?  (Read 8134 times)

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Offline Faithlilly

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #150 on: March 28, 2020, 02:30:57 AM »
Advice on protective gear for NHS staff was rejected owing to cost
Exclusive: DoH dismissed call for eye protection – now needed for coronavirus – in 2017
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Harry Davies
 @harryfoxdavies   Email
Fri 27 Mar 2020 15.04 GMT Last modified on Fri 27 Mar 2020 18.20 GMT

 Guardian documents may help explain the shortage of protective gear in the NHS that is currently hampering efforts by medical staff to manage the coronavirus outbreak.
The Department of Health rejected high-level medical advice about providing NHS staff with certain protective equipment during an influenza pandemic because stockpiling it would be too expensive, the Guardian can reveal.

Documents show that officials working under former health secretary Jeremy Hunt told medical advisers three years ago to “reconsider” a formal recommendation that eye protection should be provided to all healthcare professionals who have close contact with pandemic influenza patients.

The expert advice was watered down after an “economic assessment” found a medical recommendation about providing visors or safety glasses to all hospital, ambulance and social care staff who have close contact with pandemic influenza patients would “substantially increase” the costs of stockpiling.

The documents may help explain a devastating shortage of protective gear in the NHS that is hampering efforts by medical staff to manage the Covid-19 virus pandemic.

Doctors are threatening to quit the profession unless they are properly equipped, and NHS trusts across England have been asking schools to donate science goggles due to the shortages, the Guardian revealed on Wednesday. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has acknowledged “challenges” with the supply of protective material to NHS staff and has drafted in the army to get supplies to frontline workers.

In recent days, his department says, more than 15m face masks have been delivered to the frontline, including 24.6m gloves and 1.9m sets of eye protection delivered on Wednesday.

However documents seen by the Guardian suggest officials working under his predecessor resisted advice about stockpiling supplies of eye protection in case of a pandemic of this kind.

In 2015, what is now the Department of Health and Social Care tasked one of its independent advisory committees, the new and emerging respiratory virus threat advisory group (Nervtag), to review the UK’s approach to stockpiling personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in an influenza pandemic “to help inform future stockpile and purchasing decisions”.


Nervtag had been created the previous year to advise the government on pandemic influenza and new virus threats to the UK. The advisory group made a series of “formal recommendations” to the department in March 2016, which had been compiled by a subgroup of senior NHS clinicians and scientists, and agreed by the wider committee.

Asked what items of PPE would be required in a pandemic, the government’s advisers recommended “providing eye protection for all hospital, community, ambulance and social care staff who have close contact with pandemic influenza patients.”


They said the protection could be either visors or safety glasses, adding such equipment was necessary because there was some evidence of risk of infection via the eyes when in close contact with pandemic influenza patients.

However, according to minutes of a Nervtag meeting in June 2017, a health department official told the advisers to reconsider their advice as information had emerged about “the very large incremental cost of adding in eye protection.”

A minute from the meeting stated that “a subsequent internal DH health economic assessment has revealed that following these recommendations would substantially increase the cost of the PPE component of the pandemic stockpile four-to six-fold, with a very low likelihood of cost-benefit based on standard thresholds.”

The department asked Nervtag “to clarify the detail of their advice in light of the costings, and reconsider its recommendations against the strength of the scientific evidence of the ocular route as a source of infection, and the likely incremental cost-recommendations”.


The advisory committee then changed its official advice. The recommendation over protective eyewear was rewritten so that it instead told the department to buy enough eye protection for “exceptional usage” in higher-risk circumstances and when used with respirator masks during aerosol generating procedures.

According to a January 2018 minute, the update was made “in light of emerging evidence around cost-effectiveness, and the evidence around the incremental benefits of wearing eye protection.”

It is not clear at what level of seniority in the health department the Nervtag recommendations were considered back in 2016 and 2017. In a statement to the Guardian, DHSC said it would be incorrect to say ministers “intervened in this decision making”.


“As the public rightly expects, decisions of this nature are evidence-based and take into account a number of factors, including expert clinical guidance, cost effectiveness and practical consideration, such as shelf life and storage,” a DHSC spokesperson said.

“The government has prepared and stockpiled for an influenza pandemic. The documents clearly state that the scientific evidence did not support a vast increase in procurement expenditure on face masks with integrated eye protection for pandemic influenza.”

The DHSC is now scrambling to find ways to better supply hospital staff as it faces Covid-19, a highly infectious respiratory disease, with reports of doctors and nurses frantically trying to buy their own PPE and a particularly acute need for eye protection.

At prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, highlighted that the Healthcare Supplies Association had appealed to DIY shops to donate PPE. On Twitter, the association said it needed visors and protective glasses, tweeting: “Do we have to commandeer the stocks of DIY stores?????”

Hunt, who ran the department between 2012 and 2018 and now chairs the House of Commons health select committee, has in recent days led calls to better equip frontline staff battling the coronavirus. Last week, he told the BBC: “We must sort this out. We are asking people to put their own lives at risk on the NHS frontline...It is absolutely heartbreaking when NHS frontline professionals don’t have the equipment that they need.”

His spokeswoman told the Guardian: “Jeremy does not believe he was personally involved in decisions about PPE for NHS staff, but was acutely aware of the shortage of funds in the NHS budget which was why that year he fought for and secured an £8bn rise in the NHS annual budget followed by a £20bn rise two years later.”

However, the documents suggest the efforts by Hunt’s department to water down the advice on PPE impacted a round of procurement that was due to take place in 2017 to stockpile for a possible pandemic.

In addition to the discussions over eye protection, the documents also raise questions about the UK government’s policy regarding face masks for doctors, nurses and other health professionals dealing with Covid-19 patients.

In 2016, Nervtag advisers told the government that intensive care units (ICUs) should be designated “hot spots” carrying out aerosol generating procedures. Therefore, they said, a particular kind of mask known as an FFP3 respirator “should be recommended for all staff at all times in these areas when a patient with pandemic influenza is present”, except for some circumstances.


One intensive care nurse at a hospital in Yorkshire told the Guardian earlier this week she had had to spend £100 of her own money to buy a full FFP3 respirator mask online. In her unit on Monday, there were no masks or surgical gowns, another vital piece of PPE kit which has also been in short supply.

There have been other reports in recent days of NHS improvising in the face of insufficient PPE, with nurses in the Royal Free hospital in north London affixing clinical waste bags around their legs, while at North Middlesex hospital they have been tying plastic aprons around their heads.

Back in 2016, Nervtag advisers also recommended the government commission an update to its infection control guidance, which by then was seven years old. The guidance, they said, needed to recommend PPE usage “in line with the current evidence base and guidelines”.

In June that year, the department responded to Nervtag’s initial recommendations about pandemic stockpiling, saying work to reflect the advice was being prioritised and progressed. However, with regard to updating the control guidance to bring it in line with current evidence, officials replied: “This work is not considered a priority at this time and will be deferred for consideration at a future time.”

Frontline doctors and nurses have said recent changes to official advice in the UK have meant many NHS staff have been wearing less protective gear than the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends when caring for Covid-19 patients. The WHO’s advice recommends different standards of PPE to the UK advice in certain clinical situations.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/27/advice-on-protective-gear-for-nhs-staff-was-rejected-owing-to-cost
#Borishasfailed

Offline Vertigo Swirl

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #151 on: March 28, 2020, 08:47:29 AM »
“On Friday (March 20), the cabinet and medical group co-ordinating the project gave us the go ahead to prepare for production.

“However last evening (March 26) they advised that they did not want us to proceed at this time.

Your explanation?
There must be one (unless the government is insane), I already posited a couple of possibilities,  so I will hold off judgement until the full facts are known if that’s all the same with you?. 
"The answer is that no-one here believes the parents were directly involved in MM's disappearance" - G-Unit.

Offline Vertigo Swirl

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #152 on: March 28, 2020, 08:50:39 AM »
Fairhlilly, imo you really should try and get more sleep instead of pouring out your bitterness about Boris et al on here at two thirty in the morning.  It really can’t be good for your health or well being. 
"The answer is that no-one here believes the parents were directly involved in MM's disappearance" - G-Unit.

Offline Vertigo Swirl

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #153 on: March 28, 2020, 08:59:37 AM »
If the government has acted madly or badly then our death toll will be huge.  The latest predictions from the statisticians at Imperial College London is that around 5700 will die, far fewer than originally predicted.  Are they not factoring in government action (or inaction) when calculating their figures?
"The answer is that no-one here believes the parents were directly involved in MM's disappearance" - G-Unit.

Offline Faithlilly

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #154 on: March 28, 2020, 11:06:11 AM »
There must be one (unless the government is insane), I already posited a couple of possibilities,  so I will hold off judgement until the full facts are known if that’s all the same with you?.

Of course you will.
#Borishasfailed

Offline Vertigo Swirl

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #155 on: March 28, 2020, 11:32:24 AM »
Of course you will.
Is that so bad - not to jump to conclusions and apportion blame without having all the information?  If so I am happy to be bad.
"The answer is that no-one here believes the parents were directly involved in MM's disappearance" - G-Unit.

Offline Faithlilly

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #156 on: March 28, 2020, 11:32:52 AM »
Fairhlilly, imo you really should try and get more sleep instead of pouring out your bitterness about Boris et al on here at two thirty in the morning.  It really can’t be good for your health or well being.

And you make my case for me.

I post an article from the Lancet no less in which the government and NHS England’s reaction to the pandemic is called ‘a national scandal’,  another in which cost was put above the safety and well-being of our NHS staff in the event of a pandemic,  another which questions the government’s investment in vital equipment and yet another where we have clearly been lied to by our government and you see my ‘bitterness towards Boris’ is the problem.
 
The government has been bounced by criticism into every decision they have made. Bounced into abandoning their herd immunity strategy, bounced into joining the EU procurement scheme for ventilators, bounced into locking down the country, bounced into more testing, bounced in fact into making sure you and other self employed individuals had money to live. In fact if you’re not ‘pouring out your bitterness about Boris’ at this time you’re part of the problem and not the solution.

I’m afraid if we’d left things to people like you women still wouldn’t have the vote.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2020, 12:21:25 PM by Faithlilly »
#Borishasfailed

Offline Faithlilly

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #157 on: March 28, 2020, 11:33:51 AM »
Is that so bad - not to jump to conclusions and apportion blame without having all the information?  If so I am happy to be bad.

If only you gave the Labour Party such consideration.
#Borishasfailed

Offline Vertigo Swirl

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #158 on: March 28, 2020, 01:05:28 PM »
If only you gave the Labour Party such consideration.
What have they got to do with the price of fish?  What blame have I apportioned to the Labour Party without having all the information?  Is this another of your little diversionary tactics?
"The answer is that no-one here believes the parents were directly involved in MM's disappearance" - G-Unit.

Offline Faithlilly

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #159 on: March 28, 2020, 01:08:04 PM »
What have they got to do with the price of fish?  What blame have I apportioned to the Labour Party without having all the information?  Is this another of your little diversionary tactics?

And again you deflect by accusing me of deflecting....a tactic which is becoming boringly familiar.
#Borishasfailed

Offline Vertigo Swirl

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #160 on: March 28, 2020, 01:09:25 PM »
And you make my case for me.

I post an article from the Lancet no less in which the government and NHS England’s reaction to the pandemic is called ‘a national scandal’,  another in which cost was put above the safety and well-being of our NHS staff in the event of a pandemic,  another which questions the government’s investment in vital equipment and yet another where we have clearly been lied to by our government and you see my ‘bitterness towards Boris’ is the problem.
 
The government has been bounced by criticism into every decision they have made. Bounced into abandoning their herd immunity strategy, bounced into joining the EU procurement scheme for ventilators, bounced into locking down the country, bounced into more testing, bounced in fact into making sure you and other self employed individuals had money to live. In fact if you’re not ‘pouring out your bitterness about Boris’ at this time you’re part of the problem and not the solution.

I’m afraid if we’d left things to people like you women still wouldn’t have the vote.
Can we have the evidence that the government has acted only on receipt of criticism please?  Are you suggesting if it hadn't been for people like you harping on in the Guardian Boris would still be advocating we all shake hands with a Coronavirus victim?  How about growing up and accepting that the government is being flexible and adapting to the situation as it unfolds rather than waiting to be told what to do by the likes of you and other bile-pourers. 
"The answer is that no-one here believes the parents were directly involved in MM's disappearance" - G-Unit.

Offline Vertigo Swirl

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #161 on: March 28, 2020, 01:10:08 PM »
And again you deflect by accusing me of deflecting....a tactic which is becoming boringly familiar.
You WERE deflecting but I am not allowed to point it out?  PLEASE.  Get a grip. 
"The answer is that no-one here believes the parents were directly involved in MM's disappearance" - G-Unit.

Offline Vertigo Swirl

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #162 on: March 28, 2020, 01:16:53 PM »
It seems that the Carpers who are hell-bent on making political capital out of this crisis are in the minority:
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-03-28/coronavirus-gives-boris-johnson-s-political-immunity
As elsewhere, the coronavirus has turned British politics on its head. Unlike Brexit, which continues to divide opinion fairly evenly, the coronavirus crisis has prompted an outbreak of recently unfamiliar unity. Number Cruncher polling (excusive to Bloomberg) finds personal ratings for Boris Johnson -- himself now diagnosed with coronavirus -- that have not been seen for a British Prime Minister since the early days of Tony Blair’s premiership in 1997.

Fully 72% of eligible voters are satisfied with Johnson’s performance as Prime Minister, with 25% dissatisfied. Ninety-one per cent of those currently supporting the Conservatives count themselves as satisfied, along with about half of Labour voters and those voting for other parties and a large majority of undecided voters. Johnson’s government gets similar approval ratings, both overall (73% to 24%) and on its handling of the Coronavirus outbreak (72% to 25%).

The 1,010 interviews were conducted Tuesday through Thursday, following Johnson’s televised address on Monday, but completed before Johnson himself revealed that he had tested positive for the virus. There is some evidence in our data to suggest that these figures were higher in the immediate aftermath of the pre-recorded broadcast, which was watched by around half of the adult population.

The strongest numbers of all are for the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (77% satisfaction). Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose successor will be named on April 4, remains in negative territory (with 54% dissatisfied).

While wartime metaphors are now commonplace, this pandemic is not, of course, a war in literal sense -- people are being killed by a disease, not each other. But it does share many of the same characteristics and a similar “rally around the flag” sense. The most obvious of these is the unity against a common enemy, with a lot of agreement across parties and across the public. There is also clear sense of “national effort,” and some extremely large government spending on its way
"The answer is that no-one here believes the parents were directly involved in MM's disappearance" - G-Unit.

Offline Faithlilly

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #163 on: March 28, 2020, 06:56:49 PM »
Can we have the evidence that the government has acted only on receipt of criticism please?  Are you suggesting if it hadn't been for people like you harping on in the Guardian Boris would still be advocating we all shake hands with a Coronavirus victim?  How about growing up and accepting that the government is being flexible and adapting to the situation as it unfolds rather than waiting to be told what to do by the likes of you and other bile-pourers.

Give your head a wobble. Anyone with a modicum of sense can see what’s happening.
#Borishasfailed

Offline Faithlilly

Re: Is Boris’s Lax Leadership Putting Us All in Danger ?
« Reply #164 on: March 28, 2020, 07:05:53 PM »
It seems that the Carpers who are hell-bent on making political capital out of this crisis are in the minority:
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-03-28/coronavirus-gives-boris-johnson-s-political-immunity
As elsewhere, the coronavirus has turned British politics on its head. Unlike Brexit, which continues to divide opinion fairly evenly, the coronavirus crisis has prompted an outbreak of recently unfamiliar unity. Number Cruncher polling (excusive to Bloomberg) finds personal ratings for Boris Johnson -- himself now diagnosed with coronavirus -- that have not been seen for a British Prime Minister since the early days of Tony Blair’s premiership in 1997.

Fully 72% of eligible voters are satisfied with Johnson’s performance as Prime Minister, with 25% dissatisfied. Ninety-one per cent of those currently supporting the Conservatives count themselves as satisfied, along with about half of Labour voters and those voting for other parties and a large majority of undecided voters. Johnson’s government gets similar approval ratings, both overall (73% to 24%) and on its handling of the Coronavirus outbreak (72% to 25%).

The 1,010 interviews were conducted Tuesday through Thursday, following Johnson’s televised address on Monday, but completed before Johnson himself revealed that he had tested positive for the virus. There is some evidence in our data to suggest that these figures were higher in the immediate aftermath of the pre-recorded broadcast, which was watched by around half of the adult population.

The strongest numbers of all are for the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (77% satisfaction). Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose successor will be named on April 4, remains in negative territory (with 54% dissatisfied).

While wartime metaphors are now commonplace, this pandemic is not, of course, a war in literal sense -- people are being killed by a disease, not each other. But it does share many of the same characteristics and a similar “rally around the flag” sense. The most obvious of these is the unity against a common enemy, with a lot of agreement across parties and across the public. There is also clear sense of “national effort,” and some extremely large government spending on its way

Just over 1,000 interviews....very representative.
#Borishasfailed