More than 40,000 hospital admissions have been caused by the government’s so-called ‘Freedom Day’ for England, the British Medical Association has said.
According to the BMA chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the loosening of restrictions in July was a “gamble”, as the NHS was already lacking 90,000 workers and waiting lists were at an all-time high before the Covid pandemic even hit.
Nagpaul is expected to say at a BMA Annual Representative Meeting that NHS staff will not accept a return to the pre-pandemic state of the health service, which he labelled as “under-staffed and under-resourced”.
‘We truly did everything we could’ pic.twitter.com/Uw1kVA2d59— Paul Johnson (@paul__johnson) September 13, 2021
‘We will not accept an NHS in crisis’
He is also set to admit that nine out of 10 doctors are scared of medical errors every day and called for safe bed capacity and a pandemic-prepared NHS.
“We will not accept an NHS in crisis every summer, let alone every winter,” he will say, according to Sky News.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We have backed the health service at every turn, with an extra £29bn to support health and care services on top of our historic settlement for the NHS in 2018.
“This will see the NHS budget rise by £33.9bn by 2023/24.
“At the same time, we are backing the NHS with a further £36bn for health and social care and a ring-fenced £8bn to tackle backlogs and help the NHS deliver an extra nine million checks, scans and operations for patients across the country.”
Ahead of Freedom Day in July, Tory communities secretary Robert Jenrick said the current pandemic wave may not peak until this month, but still backed the lifting of restrictions.
September peak of Covid wave
His positioning was criticised by Good Law Project director Jolyon Maugham, who tweeted: “I guess Johnson’s political calculation was, better to undermine messaging around public heath than to suffer the political awkwardness of having to self-isolate on ‘Freedom Day’.
“In other words, his embarrassment is more important than your health.”
Jenrick had told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme: “Cases are still rising, hospitalisations are increasing and we won’t really expect this wave of the virus to peak until late August, maybe even early September.
“There are going to be some quite challenging weeks ahead.
However, Jenrick defended the decision to go ahead with lockdown lifting in England on 19 July.
He said: “We will all need to exercise good judgement.
“We are moving from that time when the state told you what to do, things were mandated as a matter of law, to one which had to come at some point where we trusted people, we trusted businesses and organisations, and gave them the information they needed to make good judgments.”