Sunday , May 19 2024

The Public Sector is a Disaster

Challenges like COVID test organisations.

NHS England shows no sign of appreciating the urgency of the vaccination program.  It is asking potential vaccinators to show evidence of “skills” such as diversity awareness before they are hired.

How vets, student doctors and nurses, dentists etc. who could be used in the vaccination program will satisfy such entry requirements is a mystery.  Pharmacists, travel clinics etc. perform vaccinations daily all over the country without needing to be so highly “qualified”.   It is almost as if the NHS is deliberately putting obstacles in the path of a mass vaccination programme.

The PPE crisis was due to failures in NHS Purchasing.  NHS Purchasing had cunningly used its role as a near monopoly consumer of PPE to terminate PPE production in the UK.  Instead it used a handful of SE Asian and Chinese suppliers which had little surplus stock during the pandemic.  NHS Purchasing is a Civil Service department.  It neglected the need for strategic medical supplies in the UK.

The March epidemic in the UK was caused by advice from Public Health England that international travel would have little effect on the epidemic.  Subsequently it has been admitted that the entry of tens of thousands of infected travellers caused the huge UK outbreak.  Any numerate individual could have predicted that millions of people entering the UK from Europe in March would have catastrophic consequences.

Public Health England (PHE) somehow forgot that it presided over a dispersed organisation of Local Authority health departments that had been set up in the 19th and 20th centuries to combat epidemics by tracing contacts.  PHE was eventually spotted as being inadequate and has now been reconstituted as the National Institute for Health Protection.

NHS England hospitals were the source of 17% of COVID infections.

Hospital Acquired Infections


NHS England returned infected patients from hospitals to care homes in the early phase of the epidemic.  Care home acquired infections led to 19000 deaths in the March peak which was near to 50% of all COVID deaths in the period.

Although doctors and nurses have shown immense commitment and courage during the pandemic the public sector organisations that deal with health have let them down and let the country down.  The UK ranks as tenth in the world for COVID deaths per million population and third in the world when only large countries are considered.

The other public sector organisation that let down the country is the BBC.  As the National Broadcaster it had a responsibility to clarify what was happening and explain new regulations as they occurred.  It was shocking that the BBC would respond to each change with “no-one understands what is happening”. Even Sky News has regular updates detailing the regulations before some news bulletins.  One can only assume that the BBC were continuing their battle against the Government that began with Brexit and cared not a jot for the country or their responsibilities.  When the epidemic is over the government will have to decide whether to defund or mend the BBC.

The UK public sector performed like an old Eastern European communist bureaucracy.  After this pandemic it will be crucial to reset the public sector to meet the needs of the nation.

This post was originally published by the author on his personal blog:

About John Sydenham

Dr John Sydenham has worked in International Pharmaceuticals and for one of the "big four" International Consultancies. He ran a successful company for 15 years and after selling the company devotes his time to travel, science, black labradors and freedom.

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