DAUK in The Independent: Coronavirus has exposed a number of problems with the NHS – skills and funds must be better distributed

We are right to celebrate the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. It is a positive and much-needed sign of progress to brighten an increasingly bleak national picture. But despite signalling the potential end to the reign of coronavirus, a vaccine is only the beginning when it comes to fixing the problems facing our overburdened National Health Service.

The NHS was struggling to cope before Covid struck, so the scale of the crisis quickly widened the cracks. It has highlighted the communication silos that slow progress between community care services and hospitals, and exposed the red tape and inefficiencies that exacerbate staff shortages and waiting lists. Clinicians are exhausted, patients are being let down, and the situation is set to worsen, as GPs scale back care to ramp up the vaccination programme.

The expectation is that GPs will start to deliver vaccinations as early as December. It will be a monumental logistical and human effort, consuming hundreds of hours of clinical time. We’re incredibly lucky to have so many skilled individuals poised to deliver this essential function. But stretched GPs will be forced to funnel yet more resources into the Covid response, worsening backlogs and reducing already limited community care provision.  

More public money (in excess of £150 million) will be spent reacting to the crisis and bolstering our defences. This is essential expenditure, but we also need funds to simultaneously start building a brighter and better functioning future for the NHS. Covid might become more manageable once enough of us are vaccinated, but there’s a long way to go before the NHS will be released from the virus’ grip.

Our healthcare workers themselves are another crucial piece of this complex puzzle. Without them, we have no NHS. Without them, we have no hope of recovery. But in the throes of the most debilitating health crisis in the NHS’ history, the prognosis is looking increasingly grim for the individuals at its heart.

Preliminary research has shown increased instances of depression, anxiety and insomnia in frontline workers, who have been up against the pandemic since March. A recent Doctors’ Association survey found that more than 1,000 doctors have seriously considered quitting this year, with 45 per cent of those asked citing the crisis’ impact on their mental health. Gruelling 12-hour shifts, exhaustion and burnout are also leading growing numbers of nurses to quit within three years of joining the profession.

Full article here: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nhs-covid-funding-vaccine-patient-care-b1721861.html