From: Dr David Wrigley, BMA council deputy chair.
THE latest waiting time statistics are a stark reminder that, despite falling Covid-19 infection rates and the progress of the vaccination campaign, the National Health Service remains in an incredibly precarious state.
With the waiting list for treatment reaching another record-high, almost 388,000 people have waited for longer than a year for routine operations in England – a staggering 240-fold increase from 12 months ago. Behind each of these shocking figures are people – people facing months of pain and anguish as they wait for vital treatment.
Doctors want so desperately to provide care to patients, and it distresses them to see so many people not getting the care they need.
Meanwhile, staff are exhausted after spending a year battling the pandemic on the front line, and are now looking with severe trepidation at the largest backlog in care ever, so it is vital that their own health and wellbeing are protected – allowing them time to rest and recover.
With other recent data suggesting a small rise in hospital admissions for Covid-19 in recent days, now is a critical time for the health service.
As restrictions begin to ease, it is crucial that everyone does their part in preventing the spread of what is still an incredibly dangerous virus, and continues to practise physical distancing, wearing masks when required and following public health guidance.
The NHS, its staff and patients – already stretched to the limit – cannot afford to be overwhelmed by a new surge in infections.
From: Mike Padgham, Chair, Independent Care Group, York.
WE agree that the vaccine is very important in care settings and that it has undoubtedly saved many lives. The message coming out from the Government seems to be in favour of legislation but I think we ought to consider all sides of this argument very carefully.
My view would be persuade, cajole and convince rather than legislate. We don’t want any more barriers to recruitment into the care sector.
I have always been of the belief that we shouldn’t force someone to have an injection and it should be voluntary.
The Government must work harder to persuade everyone to have the injection to help move the country back to normality. If it is to be made compulsory in care settings then it must surely be the same in NHS care settings and in other areas, too.
The question is, where might this stop?