Skip to main content

Hidden costs of COVID-19

Many people will be affected COVID-19 beyond those directly infected by it.  Lives will be lost as a result of the efforts to save lives from the virus.  This is a sad reality of the response to the pandemic.

As we focus on the potential loss of life through the virus, we need also to consider why so many others have had to put off possible life-saving treatments, or had operations cancelled.



We must also consider that the long term impact of the economic consequences will be considerable.

The problems we face are due to a decade of austerity, which made preparations for a pandemic almost impossible to achieve.

Of course, resources are always going to be stretched in such circumstances.   But it would be wrong to assume that such a pandemic was unforeseen.   On the contrary, all NHS Trusts have made some contingency plans for such a virus.

It would be easy enough to imagine that a decade of underfunding of the NHS has had no significant impact.  But it has.  And as a result, some people will now die who would not have done otherwise.

We read today of cancer drug trials being put on hold because clinicians and researchers are diverted to finding a vaccine and improved treatment for COVID-19 patients.

Major cancer drug trials are stopping recruitment with significant consequences for patients who otherwise might benefit from being on them.

Being able to put patients on drug trials is often the only way clinicians can give specific treatments to cancer patients.  It can provide a potential lifeline and prolong life, or make the end of their lives better.

This is the hidden cost of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is the hidden cost of underfunded and overstretched resources.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Prioritising people in nursing care.

There has been in recent years concern that care in the NHS has not been sufficiently 'patient centred', or responsive to the needs of the patient on a case basis. It has been felt in care that it as been the patient who has had to adapt to the regime of care, rather than the other way around. Putting patients at the centre of care means being responsive to their needs and supporting them through the process of health care delivery.  Patients should not become identikit sausages in a production line. The nurses body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has responded to this challenge with a revised code of practice reflection get changes in health and social care since the previous code was published in 2008. The Code describes the professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives. Four themes describe what nurses and midwives are expected to do: prioritise people practise effectively preserve safety, and promote professionalism and trust. The

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

When Finance Drives Destruction

Tackling climate change means stopping the funding of rainforest destruction, says a significant study commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund.  The UK's financial services have provided directly over £8.7 billion to 167 different traders, processors, and buyers of forest-risk commodities (cocoa, rubber, timber, soy, beef, palm oil, pulp & paper) from 2013 to 2021.   With direct and indirect investment,  the figure rises to a staggering £200 bn.  Whilst not all that investment is in destructive projects,  the study concludes there is little transparency on the risk.  Finance is the oil in the economic machine.  But it also drives decisions. We all know the importance of money. We borrow to invest. So much depends on it, such as company pensions.  Do we really know what our pension pots are doing? We invest for the future. But what kind of future? Is all investment good?  Much investment is bad. Investment drives the nature of our economy. It drives our decisions as individuals,