HAGLEY doctor David Nicholl has accused the Government of ‘prioritising new year’s eve parties over the health service’ in England by not bringing in similar restrictions to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
And he said relying on vaccines alone and not introducing further measures to help the economy could lead to a worse economical impact in the future.
Dr Nicholl backs the ‘vaccines-plus’ approach used in other countries which, according to the BMJ, uses public health measures, and financial support measures as well as jabs.
The methodology being used by the Government is opting for a combination of infection and vaccination which is reliant on the healthcare system being able to cope.
Although Dr Nicholl admitted the number of patients being admitted to ICU was not going up, general hospital admissions were.
“I can’t believe we are still getting sticking plaster solutions rather than looking at the long term picture.”
He added, with one main Birmingham hospital having eight per cent of its workforce off, it was not just health workers isolating which had to be considered.
“The higher staff to patient ratios leads to more stress and anxiety and healthcare workers being off with that instead.”
One member of staff broke down when she was asked to return to a frontline Covid ward and another had a resurgence of their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Dr Nicholl said Worcestershire vaccination rates were good compared to other areas and urged anyone who had not had their jabs or the booster to get them.
But he added more testing was needed – there have been reports of shortages of Lateral Flow Tests which has led to people having to travel miles to find out if they have Covid.
Dr Nicholl himself had to travel to Telford – an 80-mile round trip – for his son to be tested for Covid.
“I was able to do that because I have a car but what about people who do not have access to a vehicle and rely on public transport?”
With schools going back he said the Government should be ensuring air filtration systems are introduced to classrooms as has been done in other countries which could, as another benefit, create jobs among the British manufacturers which make the machines.
Ultimately he said ‘we are where we are’ and the impact of not introducing extra restrictions would be fully known in the next six weeks.
Health Secretary and Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid has maintained restrictions would only be brought in as a last resort.
He tweeted: “We start the new year in a far stronger position than 12 months ago, thanks to vaccines, testing and new treatments.