Perhaps that’s why hospitals are reporting accident and emergency departments are quiet or empty, and medical staff are standing around doing nothing. The new Nightingale Hospitals are empty or virtually empty and demand on the Ambulance Service is falling. It would seem that many have been frightened stiff by the hysterical reporting of the virus pandemic in the media and all the contradictory expert advice on T.V. Not only are they frightened of contracting the virus they are terrified of getting medical advice too.

‘But’ you may say: vulnerable people are being ‘helped’.  Hundreds of thousands of people have been sent letters telling them that they are vulnerable, should stay at home and that they would be sent a ‘free’ food parcel.  My friend, who as I said is elderly, vulnerable because of long term cardiac problems, hasn’t received a letter, or food parcel or anything else for that matter. And could somebody please explain why the food parcels, which are apparently very good and cost £25.00 plus delivery if anyone else wants one, are supposedly being sent to everyone on the list? Does that mean that all vulnerable people have either no income or other support? How did they live before March I wonder? I can’t remember any publicity that informed vulnerable people a free food parcel was to be delivered to them courtesy of the taxpayer.  I am aware though, as most will be, that ‘food banks’ have seen requests for assistance soar over the last year or so. To my certain knowledge free food parcels, like the winter fuel allowance, have been sent to all vulnerable people regardless of income. I certainly know of people who don’t need free food, are more than capable of ordering food online and have done so. They certainly don’t need the taxpayer to pay to feed them. I wonder what many of the homeless or hard up feel about all this.

Try being a self-employed person who has had their business destroyed by this; no income for two months now or for the foreseeable future. When they see free food parcels being sent regardless of need, all NHS staff being treated as heroes regardless of their role, and being given free transport, free car-parking , priority in shops, food parcels (for some reason not apparent), they are being paid are they not? Or have I missed something here? Are all NHS staff unpaid volunteers and front-line A & E ,  ITC or HDU staff because the last time I looked there were over 30,000 admin and management staff ,  and pay grades range for nursing and care staff along with technicians and admin staff from around £24,000 to well over a £100,000 a year. And all carrying the same I.D. card which affords them priority in shops along with everything else a kind and grateful public has agreed.

Blue flags have now appeared with the logo ‘Love the NHS’ printed on them, I wonder where these are produced and whether it is, in this time of lockdown and crisis, the best use of essential workers time. Other people and some NHS staff  are not so enamoured by this hero-worship,  and find it embarrassing and offensive that some nursing staff think it appropriate to prance around in their ‘blues’ doing dance routines,  while others at the sharp end are working hard and getting on with it are also now seriously concerned that many non-COVID patients are not getting treatment or operations that they deserve.

But back again to my friend. Worries about his regular blood test were put to rest when he received a letter delivered by the postie, another unsung key worker,  just after two more key workers-  the bin men –   forgotten by everyone except it seems except the Duke of Edinburgh, had taken away his rubbish bins, telling him that an appointment had been made at his local hospital at such and such a time on such and such a day. ‘Great’ he said, it’s a bit of a worry all this, as I must have this regular monitoring and blood tests taken so that they can adjust my medication. Like many older people, he doesn’t like to be late for an appointment, arrived and parked his car on the hospital car park.  Once inside he finds, in his words, three dozen or more people waiting in a packed waiting room and down a corridor.  All having been given an appointment for the same time. This, when older people have been told they are vulnerable, don’t go out, don’t mix in crowded places and so on. He was there for two and a half hours. ‘Don’t blame the nurses’, he said’ it wasn’t their fault, what could they do, one was nearly in tears’ and very worried about the implications for the patients. I’m glad somebody is then… but not ‘management’ or the ‘Trust’ it seems.

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