Why is NHS past breaking point? This thread will tell you…& it’s not an easy read

Free Covid tests should continue for the public and self-isolation rules must not be scrapped, according to a survey of NHS leaders.

More than 300 senior staff in England polled by the NHS Confederation found 79% strongly disagreed or disagreed with the plan to stop free access to Covid-19 tests for the public.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil his plan for living with coronavirus on Monday, with ministers having suggested that free tests will be axed.

In the survey, 94% of the 307 NHS leaders polled said testing for health staff and other key workers must also continue. At present, NHS staff are asked to test at home twice a week.

Professor Dame Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said: “This poll confirms what many of us have been thinking and saying since the announcement about relaxing the rules early in England was made.

“That is that it all feels very sudden and more driven as much by the current political pressures than by robust scientific guidance.

“We do have to learn to live safely with Covid in the medium term; that does not mean pretending the threat to our health and in some cases life simply no longer exists.

“We should take a more gradual, phased approach to relaxing the rules and carefully watch what happens to the rates of infection – particularly in healthcare settings or other environments where people are particularly at risk.

“We also need the ONS survey of cases to continue so that we have accurate data on which to base future decisions.”

Breaking point

Assuming the Covid crisis will eventually calm down, which is there is no guarantee, a doctor took to Twitter to outline the long-term infrastructure of the NHS is at risk regardless of the covid crisis.

Dr Dan Goyal a NHS Medical Consultant has written a thread about the current state of the NHS and it makes, at times, troubling reading.


Why is the NHS past breaking point?

I wish I could bring you good news. I wish I could tell you as the peak of Omicron passes🤞we are regaining the capacity to treat the millions waiting for urgent and routine care. But, honestly, it has never been as bad as this.


— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


There are streams of doctors and nurses raising the alarm…it is simply unsafe and patients are suffering. And yes, patients are undoubtably dying due to the level of healthcare rationing currently in place. https://t.co/LGrRreijqz

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022



It is a whole other kind of failure when we can’t provide semi-urgent care.

Every month thousands more cancer patients join the queue waiting 2 months to start their cancer treatment!

You have cancer…you know it can spread…but you have to wait two months! pic.twitter.com/fGjCku0Byw

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022





I’m sorry, it is scary. It is dangerous for the public. But meanwhile this government just keeps spinning the truth and focussing on those targets that will get them votes. As an ED Doc puts it…https://t.co/RsBDZxJriO

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


But why, when Covid has been ‘defanged’ should the UK’s healthcare system be failing?

1. Covid.
2. The UK Government
3. The lack of engagement from media

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


1. Covid
We are running on average with a 10% increase in workload from acute Covid. 10% in a system that works with 2-3% margins of activity.
Before this winter, had we hit November with a bed occupancy over 85% (safety level) panic would ensue. Nov 2021 we were already at 94%.

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


Then Omicron hit, took over 15% of our beds and led to 2k admissions per day. There is still 10% medical beds taken up and still over 1k admissions per day.

But there are the other effects of Covid on healthcare…

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


We know that following admission to hospital with Covid the use of healthcare increases 3.5 times for the foreseeable future. Similar albeit higher than pneumonia, we expect around 3 yrs of this for each patient.
We have had over 600k Covid admissions!

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022




We then have additional unspecified Long Covid cases, the consequences of prolonged lockdowns – delayed diagnoses, deconditioning, loneliness, poverty…, and the other consequences of people being unable to access care – presenting late and being very unwell!

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


2. This UK Government
Meanwhile we have a government who has demonstrated they will do whatever they can to avoid doing anything to strengthen the NHS. Even during a pandemic.

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


They shrunk the NHS by 8%. Yes, during a pandemic with an extra 10%+ new patients.
They bypassed GPs, pushing patients to commercial non-clinical providers of Covid tests and trace
They took the money for Covid and gave it to their mates. £36bn to T&T, £0.25bn to GP services.

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


And now, when we are all screaming that we can’t provide basic emergency care to the public, they are talking about investing ‘NHS’ money in new technologies and ‘waiting list initiatives’, which they aim to be provided by ‘independent sector’.

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


We, the clinicians are saying the patients need x, and the politicians are yet again (as they did with Covid) overruling us and providing, not ‘y’, but empty promises that will do absolutely nothing to improve patient care.

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


Undoubtably, the biggest risk to patient safety just now is This Government, Johnson’s Government, a government the Tory party are supporting.

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


3. Media
And I’m afraid many media outlets are failing to hold them to account! Highest EVER cancer waits, A&E waits, operation waits, resignations, vacancies…and it seems this is not newsworthy to some outlets.

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


There are solutions. In fact, there are very simple solutions
1. Improve pay and working conditions for frontline staff! A 15% across the board pay rise (junior docs, nurses, porters, secs, PTs…), proper overtime pay, rest rooms, even fecking tea and coffee would be a start.

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


2. Invest in more beds, not more tech! We need a 10% increase in bed capacity just to “live with Covid”…and if we are to drive waiting lists down, then more.
3. We need to drive down urgent wait times first, then semi-urgent wait times (e.g. cancer), and then elective care.

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


The focus must be on public safety and harm reduction. As it stands This Government’s policies are only going to increase harm to the public. Forcing a very stretched service to drive down election-losing waiting times only further comprises urgent and semi-urgent care.

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022


This Government is failing! They have failed to protect life and livelihood throughout the pandemic, they are again failing now!
I will remind you, the majority of excess deaths are in those under 65yrs! We can’t allow incompetence and corruption to destroy any more lives!

— Dr Dan Goyal (@danielgoyal) February 17, 2022

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