Now then, this new Nightingale Hospital in London. Trumpeted across all news channels in the UK. 24/7 endless PR, all sorts of grand claims, not one person in the UK did not hear about the 4 mile long oxygen line, or the 4K beds claims. We were led to believe that it had been "built" in record time and would be heroically staffed and would contain the best technology available to fight the virus. Prince Charles opened the place - via video link obviously - Mr Hancock made sure he was front and centre, The Prince termed it a "spectacular and almost unbelievable feat of work", he added "in these dark times this place will be a shining light", The chief nursing officer of England Ruth May said it was fitting that the place was named after Florence Nightingale as she was an "iconic nursing leader of her time", and, "one who pioneered infection control".
Just for the record this facility was not "built", it was a series of partitions erected inside a conference centre. Let us move onto staffing. These people are mostly students who have been rushed into service, therefore having very little, if any, experience. Alongside them people who have come out of retirement, so, with all due respect to their altruistic intentions, this place could hardly be called a centre of excellence. That bit was left out of all those brainless news reports. The public needed a good story. As we all know, you should never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Thing is, this is far from a good story.
Mr Hancock stated " this place is testament to the work and the brilliance of the people involved" and showed the "best of the NHS". Stirring stuff eh? Seemingly the place would require 16K staff. That really is a huge number given the acute shortage of nurses we have had in the UK for years . There's another thing that is conveniently forgotten by our media. Staff shortages in the NHS seem to have stopped being news worthy.
Remember Hancock putting forward that any nurse who does not leave is therefore a new nurse? This is the level of incompetence we are enduring.
So, let us fast forward to now. Some harsh truths are emerging about this appalling PR stunt. Some of this stuff you are not going to believe. I'm writing it and I don't believe it.
Firstly, there are several of these new "Hospitals" springing up around the UK, I chose not to say "being built" because not a single one of them is actually being "built".
They are all conversions being put up inside already existing buildings, see how long it is before a Tory tries to link these places to Johnsons wild claim about 40 new hospitals.
From here on in things become genuinely worrying. These new places have an admission criteria. One that ensures they do not see the sickest patients. This is to ensure that their mortality figures look good. So, clear and obvious proof that they very definitely are putting PR above medical risk taking. To put it bluntly, they don't want to be actively involved in any of that risky life saving stuff. Maybe I'm getting this the wrong way around. I worked in the NHS for seven years, it always seemed to me that saving lives involved a lot of risk taking. Something Hancock knows nothing about.
It gets even worse, hard to do that but here we go.
Any patient that is admitted to these places has to fetch with them the staff required to look after them. This is truly staggering. What this means in practice is these facilities drain staff away from proper hospitals. During a national, no make that global, deathly health crisis. I struggle to think up anything encouraging to say about this garbage.
Let me compound this nonsense. They are also required to fetch the necessary equipment with them. STUNNING.
That last paragraph illustrates in graphic detail that these places serve one purpose and one purpose only, PR. That PR comes with a costly side effect, weakening the NHS.
Hancock and Co put it forward as ray of light in a starless night.
Make your own minds up.
Where does banging pans together on doorsteps at night fit into all this?
The current PR fantasy seems to be talk of vaccines. Let me put you straight on that one, it's likely 18 months away. Then there will be the pantomime of getting any to the population. Do you really believe they are any where near capable of that? There is a good reason why you should be angered about this, as illustrated last week by Gove getting one of his kids tested. I'm in the high risk category, where's my test? Just for balance, if it ever came down to me or a kid getting the vaccine I would let the kid have it. I do however think that is my call to make, nobody else has that right.
Over the Easter weekend the one in London treated 19 patients. This is in part due to proper hospitals (ones which have been built) doubling their ICU capacity. Well, it was either that or see valuable kit and staff disappear away to a converted conference centre. I have no idea of the running costs of this place, or the actual cost of the conversion of the conference centre. However I am convinced it would have enabled many sets of the non WHO rated PPE that our NHS staff are being forced to wear to be washed. That is another story, another horrifying episode which the Tories are overseeing. One which really should be turning this awful country upside down.
We are not hearing any forthright talk about this stuff. Where are the voices echoing what I have written here? This isn't politics, it's the most basic of Human Rights,
that being The Right to Life.
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Society not Economy.