My apologies for the fact that today’s report has been in two parts. I have provided you with the data for today and now I will turn more to the commentary.
The WHO have now complained to the UK Government about their plans to discontinue the testing via the track and trace system. This is a long way from over and basic common sense means we should in certain circumstances, continue to test and take appropriate precautions. It seems now we are likely to have to pay for testing in the near future.
The WHO have also suggested to Ukraine that they take steps to destroy dangerous disease causing pathogens stored and worked on it their various public health labs. There is a significant risk that the bombing could destroy a lab releasing all manner of disease causing organisms into the atmosphere. Worse still might be if the Russians captured material from laboratories and used it for germ warfare, I do not believe that smallpox is being held in their labs, if they do have any it would be illegal to store it. They will however have Anthrax, swine flu and influenza and ebola. We have heard in the last few weeks about chemical warfare being threatened. It sounds as though I might have to dust off my chemtight protective equipment I was issued with during the cold war. The plans then were for elderly members of the population to be the first to do this kind of decontamination, leaving the younger members of the population free to procreate to re-establish the community once the crisis was over. I even have a certificate somewhere to show I had been trained to train other NHS staff. Believe me I never want to use that training.
I would like to ask all of you for help. I have with other colleagues been asked to comment on the planned terms of reference for the Governments proposed terms of reference for the forthcoming Public inquiry that has been established to examine the UK’s preparedness and response to the Covid 19 pandemic and to learn lessons for the future. Baroness Heather Hallett, who was a senior judge in the Court of Appeal has been appointed the chair of the inquiry.
I would therefore appreciate it if as many of you as possible comment on this to enable me to respond on a wide range of views. What issues should the Inquiry consider? They will produce a factual narrative account of the decision making at central, devolved, and local Public Health levels and their consequences. How should changes of policy over time be explained.?
They will look at the response and resilience of the health and care sectors to rapidly increase capacity and resilience. The management of the pandemic in hospitals, including infection control, triage, critical care capacity, discharge of patients, do not resuscitate decisions, workforce testing and impact on staff and staffing levels.
I am particularly interested in the Occupational health depts of hospitals to ensure patients are protected from staff, and staff from their patients. Compulsory immunisations are necessary ?
What about visiting policies and isolation.? And the procurement of essential supplies. At one time the UK had 3 months supplies stored in large warehouses up and down the country which was rotated to ensure it was up to date. This was our civil defence stores but were all disbanded. There have been scandals with millions of pounds wasted of poor quality, sub-standard PPE.
Then there are the massive economic aspects of the impact of a pandemic. How well did we do. What worked, what did not?
Lastly there is a chance to identify the lessons learnt from all the above and how to inform the UK’s preparation for future pandemics. Should pandemics be managed primarily by health or should it be managed differently to other types of catastrophe or disaster? There is a call for disaster management and planning to be a recognised specialty and such managers would have a special science of their own.
I anticipate this ending up as a very valuable resource. At the moment I am just looking at its terms of reference and what areas it should cover. I will be most pleased to receive ideas from any of you. Please either comment after my reports or if you prefer message me or send a more private email.
Keep staying safe. Applied Common sense is still the best approach.