Friday, 1 May 2020

The ventilators that can kill

It’s been reported by The Guardian that Chinese ventilators bought by the UK government to tackle coronavirus were so dangerous that they could have killed patients.

Government ministers had heralded the purchase of the ventilators as vital to the NHS’s efforts during the pandemic.

But they were discovered to be badly built and unsuitable for use in hospitals.

All of the devices in a consignment of 250 ventilators that arrived from China on 4 April posed such serious problems that they could not be used and were ditched.

The newspaper reported that doctors in NHS hospitals in the West Midlands, were so concerned that they wrote to Matt Hancock, the health secretary, warning that the ventilators could kill patients. They wrote in a letter, which was obtained by NBC News:
“We believe that if used, significant patient harm, including death, is likely.”
Other items ordered from China also turned out to be of the wrong quality, or the wrong thing altogether. For example, said one 'NHS source':
“like T-shirts instead of long-sleeved surgical gowns.”

Due diligence is vital in ordinary times, but in the middle of a pandemic, lack of diligence costs lives.

The government’s actions, such as:

▪ acquiring untested ventilators from China;

▪ ordering the manufacture of ventilators from British companies that had never made them before;

▪ turning down, for political and ideological reasons only, a generous offer from the EU to supply medically approved ventilators,

all smacks of a government that’s desperate, not thinking straight, acting in panic, in haste and under pressure.

This is a government health warning: Britain is on course to suffer the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 in all of Europe.

Boris Johnson can huff and puff and gesticulate as much as he likes, but his convoluted, disjointed, unChurchillian, Trumpian words can’t cover up the ineptitude of his government.

His words can’t hide incompetence. His spin doesn’t reduce the number of deaths.

Yesterday, at his first Number 10 briefing since leaving hospital and having a baby, Mr Johnson said:
“I genuinely think – and I look back at what the UK has done - I think that - and by the way, when we put in the lockdown, it was earlier in the curve of our epidemic than it was relatively speaking in France, Italy and Spain - I think we did the right measures at the right time…
“I do think, that broadly speaking, we’re learning lessons every day, we’re learning lessons every day, but I do think that broadly speaking, we did the right thing at the right time.”
Does anyone honestly believe this crap? It’s all nonsense.

It’s all disgusting spiel against a backdrop of tens of thousands of deaths from Covid-19 that have left a trail of shocked and grieving families right across the country.

Is there any confidence left in this government and its cavalier leader?

And where is this going?

What makes anyone think that Boris can now deliver the promised land with Brexit? It’s going to be another disaster.

This is a government that, for political and ideological reasons only, won’t extend the Brexit transition period.

And then, we all know what will happen.

There will be a mad rush to replace EU trade with panicked new deals with countries across the world, believing they can be achieved in weeks and months instead of years, with mistakes galore along the way.

▪ Chinese ventilators, all over again.

▪ Getting manufacturers to make things they’ve never made before, all over again.

▪ Making decisions based on politics and ideology, even if it’s not in the best interests of the country, all over again.

Come back next year and tell me I’m wrong. Believe me. I want to be wrong.
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