Dr Jonathan Snow

Has Covid Revealed the NHS’s New Clothes?

by Dr Jonathan Snow Many times during this pandemic we have been told that we must sacrifice our civil liberties, jobs, mental health and children’s education. Why? Because excess infections will lead to surge demand on the NHS that cannot flex capacity, leading to patients being denied the care they need. Back in March the public and society was rightly sympathetic – there was very little time to plan for such a situation. But come Christmas, we are told that the NHS is still unable to cope with similar levels of demand, despite having had some nine months to make plans for a fairly predictable eventuality. Please don’t misunderstand me here – this is not in any way a critique of the fantastic clinicians and hospital workers who work tirelessly caring for patients at the coalface. Blame for the current situation has rightly been directed at the Government, but also, and rather unfortunately, at the public for not following the rules. But surely NHS and hospital leaders have some responsibility for not planning for this current wave – why are difficult questions not being directed at them? Of course, it isn’t possible to train more ICU nurses in nine months – ICU nursing is a highly specialised form of nursing that takes years to complete. But it is very possible...

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