UK doctors told to ‘postpone’ standard care to administer COVID vaccines
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LONDON, U.K, January 8, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Doctors in the U.K. have been told to abandon standard procedures in order to prioritize administering the new COVID-19 vaccinations, promoting concerns about huge rises in undiagnosed health issues.
U.K. newspaper The Telegraph reported that local doctors, or General Practitioners (GP), have been told to “stand down” their routine appointments, and “postpone other activities” in order to make rolling out the COVID vaccines the “top priority.”
As England enters its third national lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has linked the roll-out of the vaccines to the easing of restrictions, saying “If the rollout of the vaccine program continues to be successful, if deaths start to fall as the vaccine takes effect, and critically, if everyone plays that part by following the rules, then I hope we can steadily move out of lockdown, reopening schools after the February half term and starting cautiously to move regions down the tiers.”
He has identified four top “priority groups” who should receive the vaccine first, and in order to do so, 13,900,000 vaccines need to be administered by the middle of February.
In light of this goal, GP’s have been told to “stand down non-essential work,” although it is unclear what is considered non-essential. Clinics in London were told that for a two week period, ending on January 15, they should “focus on urgent care including care home support, serious acute illness and deterioration in long-term conditions.”
However, the orders have caused great concern about the effect on non-COVID related illnesses.
During the first national lockdown, the government asked the public to “Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.” In fact, so persuasive was the propaganda that already in April, the NHS had to urge people to have health issues attended to as Accident & Emergency admissions nearly halved, and 40% of people polled were “too concerned about being a burden on the NHS to seek help from their GP.”
As a result, in the so called “first wave” of COVID infections in the UK in the spring, over 27 million GP appointments were “lost.” Surveys found that when people did try to arrange appointments, over half of patients found it more difficult to obtain an appointment, either in person or on the phone. NHS figures showed that in July 2020 there was an 85% drop in GP appointments compared to July 2019.
Research by the Health Foundation also suggested that over 700,000 patients could miss out on face-to-face appointments due to COVID measures.
Cancer treatment has also plummeted, as only “319 patients had surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or another procedure in July, compared to 1,890 in July last year.” U.K. medical journal, The Lancet, estimated that due to COVID restrictions on health care accessibility, there could be “3291–3621 additional deaths” within 5 years from breast, oesophageal, colorectal and lung cancer. “Substantial increases in the number of avoidable cancer deaths in England are to be expected as a result of diagnostic delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK,” the journal warned.
The delay in standard health care procedures is also impacting children, as research conducted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health found that “one in three” paediatricians performing “emergency admissions” found children had presented themselves late for “diagnosis or treatment.” In fact, more children have died as a result of not receiving timely treatment due to COVID, than have died of the virus itself.
As the country moves through the normally busy period for hospitals, figures show that NHS capacity is under less pressure than during a standard winter.
Even the left-leaning BBC has reported on the phenomena, noting that hospital bed “occupancy rate is actually noticeably lower than a usual year.” Shortly before Christmas, UK newspaper the Daily Mail recorded that only 11 hospitals were at a capacity of 95% or more, compared to 80 in December 2019. For December 2020, the average intensive care occupancy was down to 75%, compared to 84% the year before.
In an attempt to return focus to normal procedures, the Patients Association have released a statement calling for normal care to be maintained during COVID times: “We have already built up a backlog of important treatment, and are certainly storing up substantial long-term problems relating to mental health, frailty and untreated illness. Economic dislocation always worsens health outcomes, and that now seems a major threat too if not mitigated. We know the burden is falling heaviest on those already at a disadvantage and least able to bear it.
Journalist Neil Clark recently commented on the way in which the public has become the keepers of the health service: “The public’s job is not to ‘Protect the NHS’, it’s the NHS’s job to protect/help us when we have need of its services. After all, we pay for it. Likewise with the police. They are meant to serve us, not persecute us. Ditto politicians. We need to get things the right way round.”
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