Responding to a government drive to urge British manufacturers to increase ventilator production and buy up beds in private hospitals Dr Rinesh Parmar, Chair of the Doctors’ Association UK and an intensive care doctor said:
“This announcement will be welcomed by doctors across the country who have been shouting from the rooftops about the lack of intensive care resources. Doctors have closely followed the events in Italy where ventilators have run out. Whilst NHS hospitals make emergency plans to create ITU beds and the government purchases more ventilators, the elephant in the room is the lack of highly trained intensive care nurses and doctors. The NHS faces this pandemic on a background of severe understaffing with almost 43,000 nurse and 10,000 doctor vacancies. It is pointless acquiring new ventilators without enough highly trained staff to operate them.
The purchasing of extra capacity in private hospitals may solve the issue of a lack of physical space in the NHS but there are very few intensive care beds in private hospitals in the UK. The systematic under-resourcing of the NHS and exodus of staff that the government has presided over has ultimately left the country with a severe lack of specialist intensive care nurses and doctors.”