COVID-19 has shaken the health and social care community from the ground upwards, we all know someone has either had the virus or who has sadly died.
Yesterday the UK’s total loss of life reached a sobering 10,000, with around forty-one of these deaths being front-line health and social care workers serving their patients.
Two weeks ago, Matt Hancock sat next to Dame Donna Kinnair, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, and told her that “some nurses” had died – he didn’t know how many and certainly did not know names.
While the public has been consistently told that the NHS has “massive” amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the British Medical Association (BMA) report consistently of front-line staff either being forced to work with no PPE or inadequate PPE.
While it is impossible to say that every single one of these deaths is due to a lack of PPE or preparedness by the Government, we can say with some level of certainty that it is a contributing factor.
Who do you believe more – those on the front-line fighting or a politician?
My inbox is filled with emails from scared colleagues who go to work worried about their families, about how to care for their patients, and about how to tackle a shortage of PPE.
The NursingNotes memorial shows that we do know their names. We pay tribute to every single health and social care worker that has lost their lives due to either confirmed or suspected COVID-19. In the coming months, we will also plant trees as a permanent reminder of the price they paid.
Last night after previously making the implication that PPE supplies were low due to staff overuse, Mr Hancock was given the opportunity to apologise for the Governments failings – he declined.
My question to Matt Hancock, the person ultimately responsible for the safety the health and social care workforce, is; how many more mums, dads, sisters, daughters have to die? These may only be numbers to you, but to us, they are people.