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News

People with mental illness and learning disabilities given ‘do not resuscitate’ orders during pandemic – The Telegraph

Patients with mental illness and learning disabilities were given “do not resuscitate” orders during the pandemic, The Telegraph can disclose.

Families, carers and doctors have said that medics decided that patients with these conditions should not be resuscitated if their heart stopped – a decision which in one case appears to have led to the patient’s death.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/06/09/patients-mental-illness-learning-disabilities-given-do-not-resuscitate/

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Opinion

Why relaxing freedoms on June 21 will not come close to overwhelming the NHS – The Telegraph

Do we risk swamping the NHS with Covid-19 cases if the government proceeds with Step 4 on time on June 21st?   In the Spring of 2020, there were about 22,000 Covid cases per week admitted to hospital, at the peak.

In January 2021 there were about 29,500 at that peak.  

Neither of those occasions produced any British equivalent of the distressing scenes we recently saw in India where hospitals ran out of resources and turned sick people away, with relatives forced to watch their loved-ones die, untreated, in hospital car parks.

The NHS was not swamped, in that sense, on those occasions. And we should not understate how important it was that it was not.

Source: The Telegraph, 5 June 2021

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/06/05/relaxing-freedoms-june-21-will-not-come-close-overwhelming-nhs/

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Opinion

There is no reason why new variants should prevent us from reopening – Professor Robert Dingwall, The Telegraph

SARS-Cov-2 is a more stable virus than influenza. Trillions of replications have thrown up a handful of variants of concern, clustering around a small set of mutations. These variants are worth monitoring but the vaccines effectively prevent them causing serious illness. There is a theoretical risk of a more dangerous variant but it does not seem more likely than a shift in the influenza virus. If it were to occur, we could now manage it with short-term measures and rapid vaccine modification.

…Vaccination protects the vaccinated. It helps protect others but it means that we take no greater risk in the autumn of 2020 than in the autumn of 2019. Interventions should be proportionate to that – which means that most cannot be justified.

Some are worth retaining, like improved hygiene in public places or greater readiness to stay at home with respiratory symptoms. It is probably a good idea to invest further in the search for effective antiviral therapies. Promoting better population health through diet and exercise is always a good thing. But it is time for a bonfire of face masks and the despatch of lateral flow tests to landfill.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/29/no-reason-new-variants-should-prevent-us-reopening/

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News

Death rate in England is lowest since records began – The Telegraph

Just 851.2 people per 100,000 died last month – the lowest figure since the ONS started recording mortality rates in 2001. At the height of the first wave of the Covid pandemic last April, death rates were 1,859 per 100,000.

The latest figures show that 38,899 people died in April – 6.1 per cent fewer than the five-year average.

Just 2.4 per cent of all deaths mentioned Covid on the death certificate, a 77.6 per cent decrease from March and the largest month-on-month decline since the pandemic began.

The new data provide more evidence that the NHS is in little danger of being overwhelmed in the near future, with deaths from most causes lower than normal. Covid is now the ninth most common cause of death in England and Wales, behind conditions including heart disease, dementia, several cancers and influenza.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/20/death-rate-england-lowest-since-records-began/

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Opinion

We really need an inquiry into how Sage forced Britain into lockdown – The Telegraph

The case for the prosecution of Johnson is likely to be heard in a parliamentary inquiry (with Dominic Cummings as the star witness) which should bring scrutiny of the Imperial College cliff-edge hypothesis. This suggests that Covid cases surged every day until lockdown, so Prime Ministerial dither cost thousands of lives. Only when he eventually agreed to lock down on March 23, says Imperial, did cases collapse. This theory is one of the most influential ever deployed in government – and now looks as if it could be bunkum.

We don’t have to guess anymore, given how much Covid data exists. The ONS, Zoe/King’s College, the React-2 study run by a different team at Imperial: none support Neil Ferguson’s cliff-edge theory. All show Covid cases falling before lockdowns. So what forced the virus into retreat, if not stay-at-home orders? We can look at another form of contagion: news, spread digitally. People saw how things were getting dangerous and stayed home of their own accord. This is more than theory. Mobile phone data offers rich detail of this worldwide trend.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/05/13/really-need-inquiry-sage-forced-britain-lockdown/

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News

Were fears of a third wave overblown? – The Spectator

So, the third wave is officially no more. New modelling by SPI-M, the government’s committee on modelling for pandemics, has, at a stroke, eradicated the predicted surge in new infections, hospital admissions and deaths which it had pencilled in for the autumn or winter as a result of lockdown being eased. 

…As Philip Thomas explained here on Sunday, Imperial College has also assumed strangely low estimates for the number of people in Britain carrying antibodies. If you are going to use assumptions that are far more pessimistic than real world data suggests, it is small wonder that SPI-M keeps predicting waves and surges that turn out to be wide of the mark. The question is: why are these modelling teams using such negative assumptions?

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/how-likely-is-a-third-wave-

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Opinion

Hospital wards are filling up again – with fakers – Dr Anton Gilbert, The Spectator

How do I know that Britain’s Covid crisis is over? The fakers are back. The hypochondriacs, the psychosomatics, the pseudo-fitters, the attention-seekers and the lonely. They’ve started to return to the acute medical ward where I work. They’ve been gone so long I actually almost missed them.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/hospital-wards-are-filling-up-again-with-fakers

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News

Exercise Cygnus: UK Government Exercise Justifies Covid-19 Lockdown – UK Column

Following the publication of the 2011 preparedness paper, however, the number of ICU beds continued to fall. Then, five years later, government held an unusual and secretive event called Exercise Cygnus.

It involved all government departments, all local authorities, and the NHS, right across the UK. Its report has not been published for “national security reasons” and so as not to “frighten the public”. However, according to those with first-hand knowledge of the operation, Cygnus’ script contained a scenario of a patent lack of capacity in ICU beds and personal protective equipment.

https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/exercise-cygnus-uk-government-exercise-justifies-covid-19-lockdown

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News

Revealed: What Really Happened In The Nightingales – The Huffington Post

  • Only three of England’s seven Nightingale hospitals have ever been used to treat Covid patients.
  • Cost to the taxpayer is more than £500m to set-up and keep on standby.
  • Four of the Nightingales have never treated people with Covid-19.
  • Only two of the hospitals have been used to treat Covid patients in during the second wave.
  • Nightingales totalled up to £1.27m per inpatient as of January 2021.
  • Only 272 inpatients were treated at the Nightingales up until January 2021.
  • Nightingale Birmingham, which was the most expensive to set-up at a contracted budget of £109million – has never been used at all.
  • Each Nightingale building cost between £409,000 and £1.2m a month to keep on standby.
  • The bill to set up the hospitals was £346m, according to contracts awarded by the government to NHS trusts.
  • NHS England has forecast total costs will run to £532m for the financial years 2019-21.
  • At least £850,000 was also spent with consultancy firms on the construction of the Nightingales.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/nightingale-hospitals-covid-patient-numbers_uk_605a0dd6c5b6cebf58d220eb

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Opinion

Zero Covid is a mirage, says JONATHAN SUMPTION – the virus is here to stay and we all (even Sage scientists) need to learn to live with it – Daily Mail

But then Ministers discarded a decade of planning in a few hours and embarked on a sinister and untried experiment with the lives of millions. They ordered a national lockdown which was both coercive and indiscriminate.

That decision, I believe, was nothing to do with the science. They were panicked to act by seeing recently ordered lockdowns in Italy, France and Spain, following the lead of totalitarian China. Ministers seemed convinced that the public would blame them if they failed to do what other nations were doing.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-9231807/Zero-Covid-mirage-says-JONATHAN-SUMPTION-virus-stay.html

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News

Hospital Bed Occupancy in England 2020/2021 is lower than last year – UK Column

Source: UK Column News, 8th January 2021
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News

How busy are hospitals in England? – BBC News

When announcing the national lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the NHS risked being overwhelmed if the measures weren’t taken.

But statistics suggest that the proportion of beds currently occupied by patients is actually lower than usual.

So how can both things be true?

…To create that wiggle room, there has been a big decrease in patients coming in for non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments, to ensure that space is there and pressures are not increased.

Even in September 2020, when hospitals were beginning to increase the number of operations carried out, these were still 25% lower than in previous years.

This also helps explain why there are also fewer patients in hospitals this year, as well as fewer beds.

The impact of this is a large backlog and the potential for certain treatments – such as cancer care – being delayed.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210107152338/https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/55536762

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News

Hospitals have 13k FEWER patients taking up beds – so why are millions more in Tier 4?

HOSPITALS had almost fifteen percent fewer patients this December compared with 2019, despite the Covid crisis.

But they are being ovewhelmed by the surge in infections because of a lack of beds and staff, experts said.A freedom of information request to NHS England revealed that on December 22, three days after Boris Johnson introduced tier four for millions, more than 13,000 fewer beds were occupied than the same date in 2019.

The new data suggests a key reason hospitals are struggling is this lack of capacity.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210103103002/https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1379012/covid-cases-uk-tier-4-areas-hospital-beds-NHS

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Videos

It’s not possible that the new mutant strain is 70% more transmissible – Dr Clare Craig, talkRadio

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News

Why ARE the Nightingale hospitals lying empty? London unit still only ‘on standby’ despite capital being thrown into Tier 4 measures and Christmas cancelled over rising cases – Daily Mail

Nightingale hospitals built during the first Covid-19 lockdown still remain ‘on standby’ despite parts of England being plunged under draconian Tier 4 measures.

It has been suggested the hospitals are largely deserted, despite Boris Johnson’s dramatic decision to plunge a third of those in England under tough Tier 4 measures from Sunday. 

https://web.archive.org/web/20201220150458/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9071593/Nightingale-hospital-lies-standby.html

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Opinion

How to stop the NHS being overwhelmed – Dr. Ann Bradshaw, Spiked

There are approximately 30,000 student-nurse places in the UK each year, which, given nursing is a three-year course, means there are about 90,000 student nurses in total (notwithstanding dropouts). Moreover, there are 84 university nursing departments throughout the UK, each with a body of nursing professors, senior lecturers and lecturers, many of whom will be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (although they are not required to work clinically to maintain registration). In this emergency pandemic, it would seem quite rational for these students and teaching staff to be deployed by government to staff the Nightingale Hospitals.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201218143426/https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/12/18/how-to-stop-the-nhs-being-overwhelmed/

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News

Are hospitals REALLY creaking under the strain of Covid before Christmas? NHS data shows trusts are STILL quieter than last December – with seven times fewer wards close to being full – Daily Mail

  • Intensive care ward occupancy down to 75% from 84% this time last year
  • Hospitals across country declaring incidents as they struggle to cope
  • But wards are less busy too – 89% full compared to 95% in December 2019
  • NHS warns of invisible pressures unique to Covid, such as ward segregation

NHS data still shows hospitals to be quieter than they were this time last year even as coronavirus’s second wave bites and the number of Covid patients approaches levels seen in the crisis’s peak in April.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201218125851/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9043583/NHS-data-suggests-hospitals-England-December.html

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News

ER visits, long waits climb for kids in mental health crisis – AP News

When children and teens are overwhelmed with anxiety, depression or thoughts of self-harm, they often wait days in emergency rooms because there aren’t enough psychiatric beds.

The problem has only grown worse during the pandemic, reports from parents and professionals suggest.

With schools closed, routines disrupted and parents anxious over lost income or uncertain futures, children are shouldering new burdens many are unequipped to bear.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201205170423/https://apnews.com/article/anxiety-mental-health-boston-coronavirus-pandemic-massachusetts-004adb5ee0ef17ff4b5e2e294e36ff3d

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News

Does the NHS really need protecting? – BBC

A quick glance at the latest data on hospital beds shows there were nearly 13,000 beds free at the end of November.

That’s 50% more than last winter.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201202041425/https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-55151832

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Publications

Leaks reveal two-thirds of private hospital capacity went unused by NHS – HSJ

  • Two-thirds of the private sector capacity that was block-purchased by NHS England was left unused over the summer
  • Unprecedented block contracts in place for almost all the private hospital capacity, thought to be worth around £400m per month
  • Comes as waiting times for elective care and diagnostic tests have steeply increased
  • Capacity to carry out chemotherapy treatment was among that not fully used
  • Insiders blame confusion and communication over contracts, and some argue the contracts were not needed

https://www.hsj.co.uk/finance-and-efficiency/leaks-reveal-two-thirds-of-private-hospital-capacity-went-unused-by-nhs/7029000.article