"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced" - James Baldwin
Tuesday 28 April 2020
BBC Panorama - Coronavirus crimes
BBC Panorama exposes government Coronavirus ‘crimes’. If you didn’t watch it you can find it on YouTube at link below.
The programme made the following allegations ….
Government ministers repeatedly claimed that the UK has delivered over one billion items of PPE since the crisis began. Panorama said it had received documents from “inside the supply chain” which show the government’s claim is a lie.
Firstly, over half the items are surgical gloves. These are not the items there is a shortage of and this number has been doubled by counting them per glove rather than per pair.
Secondly, the figure includes cleaning equipment, waste bags, detergent and paper towels.
Thirdly, the second-biggest item are plastic aprons. These have short sleeves and do not give same protection as medical gowns.
One A&E doctor on described these aprons as “like something you would expect a dinner lady to wear. It’s like a pinny, it’s plastic, it’s flimsy. You put it round your neck. It does nothing.”
Out of date masks are being used. One nurse showed his box of masks were out of date. When he lifted up the date sticker, it showed that the original use-by-date was even longer ago than the update use-by-date. So they’d gone out of date twice.
The government didn’t stockpile any gowns.
Panorama said that successive governments had failed to buy any hospital gowns at all – despite their own advisers warning that gowns were needed in a stockpile.
Public health expert Professor John Ashton commented: “It’s breathtaking that there were no gowns at all in stock. Breathtaking!”
20 million respirator masks have gone missing.
According to Panorama, 33 million respirator masks were on the government’s original stockpile procurement list in 2009 but only 12 million have since been handed out.
The government refuses to explain what happened to the other 20 million, but said that there was “limited demand which is one reason why they haven’t all been distributed”.
UK-made PPE is being exported abroad because the UK has failed to make adequate orders.
The boss of a company who makes the special fabric needed for a lot of PPE said he wanted to supply the NHS. He’d been writing to ministers, MPs and Public Health England but had not heard back. So was exporting his fabric to the USA.
In January, the government put coronavirus into the category of a “high consequence infectious disease”. For this category of disease, the Health and Safety Executive recommends all staff wear a full face visor, a respirator face mask and a gown.
The government had a legal requirement to ensure staff have all this. In mid-March, the government downgraded coronavirus. As it was no longer a “high consequence infections disease”, the government could then legally get away with providing less kit to staff in all but the most dangerous situations.
Instead of a gown, they just have to provide a plastic apron. Instead of a respirator face mask and a full face visor, they only have to provide a surgical mask.
According to Professor John Ashton, coronavirus was downgraded for political reasons: “This must have been done because they realised that they weren’t going to have enough equipment and they needed somehow to have a story that stacked up with being caught out on supplies.”
The comment that follows is from Dr Irial Eno who was interviewed for the programme …
"I’ve just finished a shift and heard the news and I’m fuming. Are you SERIOUS?? Is Matt Hancock seriously still talking about the amazing hard work (“herculean effort” in his words) the government are doing to try to secure us with PPE? Why are we still having these conversations??!! This should have been sorted WEEKS ago!
I’ve used the same (disposable) mask for 3 days. We’re still sharing a limited supply of visors. Last night a nurse from another department turned up in mine and begged me with tears in her eyes for a FFP3 mask as she didn’t have access to any, despite caring for respiratory patients. (We’d also ran out, so I couldn’t give her one).
We’ve had multiple staff members coming in as patients (many healthy and young), and three of them die. All of us at work are talking about which of us is going to be the next one to fall ill.
NONE of us have been tested yet, despite all this chat about testing being prioritised for healthcare staff. We’ve all had (or have) mild coughs, colds, sore throats etc and are constantly paranoid about these being the onset of Covid symptoms.
When we’re exposed to so many Covid positive patients, it feels cruel not to offer us testing. We need to know if we’ve had it and are immune, or if we’re still at risk. Not having access to PPE and tests is causing us real psychological distress.
I know healthcare workers are getting in trouble for speaking out about this but bloody hell, our colleagues are dying and we are STILL not protected and I am terrified, so it feels important. This government is a shambles.”