According to the Guardian, a report that they have seen suggests:
People are dying in the back of ambulances and up to 160,000 more a year are coming to harm because they are stuck outside hospitals unable to be offloaded to A&E.
Patients are also dying soon after finally getting admitted to hospital after spending long periods in the back of an ambulance, while others still in their own homes are not being saved because paramedics are trapped at A&E and unable to answer 999 calls, said the report by NHS ambulance service bosses in England.
They then note that about 12,000 of the 160,000 are suffering “severe harm” such as a permanent setback to their health.
Nothing about this surprises me. We saw that the policy in the spring of 2020 was to outsource deaths into the quiet of care homes and people’ s own homes, where the call for help was simply not answered.
The NHS is now at capacity. Sajid Javid can blame GPs, ambulance services and anyone else he likes but the responsibility is his, alone. A finite number of people, even when fairly well organised, can only do so much. The NHS is doing all it can.
Given short term measures to increase capacity cannot be achieved the only alternative is to cut demand. Right now that means reducing Covid cases. They remain stubbornly high, and with half term over the trend is upward. That is likely to remain the case until Christmas, when mass socialising will make things worse.
And it seems people are mass socialising. I walked through the town where I live early on Saturday evening. Restaurants were either full, or filling. Pubs were busy. People were still coming into town. Traffic was heavy, for here. And, of course, there was not a mask in sight. And no social distancing at all.
It seems as if some people are choosing that we should have health crisis.
Some countries are now locking down again. They have realised the folly of not doing so. We are nowhere near that. Politically it seems unlikely that we will go there as yet, just as it seems very unlikely that measures to stop the spread in schools will happen.
That, though, transfers the stress onto people in the NHS. I have seen the ability of the NHS to push the people who work for it to their limits. That is what will happen this winter.
The government is now playing a very dangerous political game with people’s lives. Many will die as a result. That is a fact. But if the NHS fails as a system matters will be worse.
Of course, ministers will use this as the argument for privatisation. But that could never address this crisis. Only more resources and proper public health can do that.
Amongst the many failings of the current government the deliberate failure to appreciate this is very high on the list.