Updated: May 16, 2020
Now then, Back in October 2016 the UK undertook an exercise called Cygnus. The purpose of this was to ascertain the level of preparedness should the country be plunged into the throes of a flu like pandemic. All very forward thinking and indeed the way a forward thinking and highly civilised way any society should conduct itself. Actually, you would be correct in thinking along those lines. Any reasonable person would have only positive things to say about this forward looking exercise. Thing is though, for it to be of any value it would have to be acted upon and the suggestions and warnings it produced embraced with genuine enthusiasm. Therein lay one or two serious problems. An in depth report was produced.
The UK is indeed a well developed country. The residents here have become used to seeing reports on their screens of diseases ravaging far away countries, seeing appeals for donations to ease famines. Never once has it entered the blank (regarding such things) minds of UK society that the day would arrive when donations were asked for to sustain good old Blighty.
Yet, that has indeed happened. Just last night on the appalling One Show they had a piece about how to make yourself a face covering. We are often hearing that we should be using old T shirts etc to help the national effort. A 100 year old veteran walked 100 laps of his garden to raise money for the battered NHS. Many others have been busy raising cash for carers and all sorts of other things. Sheffield (and many other places) is alive with volunteer groups performing admirably in getting food to those who can't get it themselves. A truly magnificent effort by all concerned.
So, back to Exercise Cygnus. It produced many massive issues. Our leaders were made fully aware of the shortcomings it highlighted. 2016. We are now in 2019. Three years have elapsed since. The NHS during that time has been a major news story, I cannot for the life of me understand why the Labour party did not use it as their main theme during the GE, but that's another set of stories. You would expect that the lessons offered by Cygnus would have been seized upon and learned with gusto. However that would seem as though it would be a rather shortsighted way of thinking.
During those three wasted years the NHS has been the subject of much haranguing, the Govt steadfastly denying any intention to flog it off to our American friends, obviously anyone who can spell cat or house sees straight through this painfully obvious and blatant lie. Trump, odd character eh?, has stated that he doesn't want it and pantomime buffoon Johnson has also put forward that it is very definitely not for sale. Nuff Sedd.
It really is the main part of any trade deal with the USA. You can take it from me that Truss and her negotiating team will be salivating at the thought of stuffing their accounts with as many digits as is humanly possible via its sale. The consequences to you and me will be viewed as barriers to business. No thought will be given to the weak or those at the wrong end of the social scales. I think it was that fine warm hearted politician Boris Johnson who put forward that once people had to start paying for NHS services they would come to value them. This idiotic comment was meant to bolster support for the leave campaign. Hmmm, in the USA monthly insulin bills for diabetics run at around £200. Good luck with that eh?
Many high ranking Govt individuals will have been involved in preparing the NHS for its sale. It has to be made to look as appetising as possible to Uncle Sam. Hence we see it being starved of cash over the last decade. Profitable sections have been protected but the humdrum everyday stuff they have laid waste to. All over the country Walk in Centres A&E Depts, Care Services, anything that would possibly represent a drain on profit has been basically annexed. Just amble along to any A&E or Walk in Centre and you will see what I mean, it is no stretch of the imagination to say that 3rd world is how things at times are. The staff are continually battered.
So, Cygnus, what did it reveal?
Then Chief Medical Officer -Sally Davies- stated that it was apparent that in the event of a pandemic the UK could not cope with the number of bodies. This really is a stunning revelation, even more jaw dropping is the fact that the UK went on to be ravaged and, we have the appalling situation we now have. She also talks about the effects a severe pandemic would have on the UK, as in everyone being "stretched". As we have seen the NHS has been pushed far beyond any reasonable limits. Staff fatalities, old folk being herded into ill prepared care homes, people dying alone due to it not being safe to have relatives around, funerals where the mourners are kept away, on and on. Cygnus assumed 200K to 400K fatalities. The current number of UK deaths is difficult to ascertain. Govt figures say around 32K other estimates say around 55K, Cv19 is rated to go on for much longer yet and there is great concern regarding it sweeping the globe again. It is also seen as a nasty and severe disease. The days are rolling by.
THREE YEARS of notice , notice that was issued by leaders in their medical fields. So, one has to ask, how the hell could we be so ill prepared regarding PPE? It is shocking and unforgivable. This whole episode cannot be allowed to pass us by and drift into the history books. Somewhere within Govt people have dropped the ball big style. Those responsible should called to account and severely dealt with publicly. Hospitals sent supplies of PPE that was years out of date, not only that, the date labels had been hidden by having newer labels adhered to them. Cold, deliberate falsification. In any court of law this would invite direct and sever reactions. Millions of testing kits hastily bought, that turned out to be of no use, the Turkish airlift fiasco, that turned out to be very fruitful for some small Turkish company. One that was incapable of producing that which the Govt hastily bought from them. Imagine this in Industry! Costs must be huge, all good tax payers money tipped down the drain by high ranking incompetence.
It is reported that as much as 80% of the UK stockpile of PPE was unusable due to being out of date, this results from a lack of stock rotation. I have worked in a warehouse, this is basic stuff. In that warehouse, any manager responsible for wasting that amount of stock would have been removed instantly. Do Tory ministers have a free pass? I was working with tins of paint, Govt is working with life preserving kit. Shocking. I have to stress, the Govt WAS starkly aware of how ill prepared the UK was, care homes were specifically highlighted, look at what is now unfolding around us. The old are shoved into homes to die. While they're at it they can infect others, including staff. These decisions over the years were not taken by junior ministers, these are executive level calls.
Those years brought one or two other notable indications of how the Tories think, Windrush and Austerity are bloodstained examples. The blame game following Grenfell was also typical, as you would expect the Firefighters came in for heavy criticism. We are now starting to see the first signs of the NHS staff coming in for the same treatment. There is mention of front line staff not respecting hygiene, or being reluctant to change kit as often as they should. Soon you will start to hear such things about all those poorly paid care home staff. Anyone but the Tories will be blamed.
They normally get away with such callous behaviour via the subservient media the UK is afflicted with. I'm not so sure that will be the case this time. Tory Grandees are mainly super rich business types, hedgefund managers, media tycoons, huge business owners. Thing is, as we have all seen, they have been chomping at the bit trying to dictate when such things as pubs can reopen, public opinion has forced the Govt to decline. All those megga rich Tory backers noses are out of joint, there will be retribution. When the time comes the blame will fly in all directions, the rats in the sack will fight like hell. Johnson is a very low grade human being let alone PM, he will be cruelly/rightly exposed in the harsh light of public disgust. Non of this will make any difference to the dead.
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