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Friday, May 20, 2022

Government’s vaccination strategy is not designed to support the NHS

Government’s vaccination strategy is not designed to support the NHS

Shaun Soper on why a well-functioning health service is at odds with the Tory privatisation agenda, and Dr Tim Owen on training people to vaccinate

Dr Beth Rimmer’s suggestion that the NHS employ retired doctors, nurses and pharmacists to administer Covid vaccinations appears to be the obvious solution to what is already a serious problem facing the service – ie too much to do with too few resources (Letters, 5 December). Unfortunately, such a solution does not fit with the Tory government’s long-term strategy for the health service. By ensuring GPs give Covid vaccinations priority over the day-to-day, yet essential, services that the NHS provides, the backlog will continue to increase.

On top of that, we are already hearing senior Tories complaining that GPs are not doing enough with regards to face-to-face appointments. Over time, this will all add to a growing acceptance among the public that the NHS, as it is currently configured, just cannot cope.

The Tories realised many years ago that they would not be able to privatise the NHS because the public treasure it more than any other public service. The plan, therefore, is to undermine their faith in the health service by demonstrating how it is no longer the excellent service people thought it was. I predict the government’s response to any inquiry into its handling of Covid will place all blame squarely on the shoulders of the NHS. It will then argue that the only way a post-pandemic NHS can even begin to get back to anything approaching normal will be to involve the private sector. Sadly, employing retired doctors would undermine this strategy.

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