Poet’s lines on NHS investment

Thursday, 28th January 2021 — By John Gulliver

Michael Rosen indoors landscape. Credit Dave Stelfox_preview

Michael Rosen. Photo: Dave Stelfox

FULL marks to poet and children’s writer Michael Rosen – a Covid-19 survivor – for his support for a campaign to raise a massive extra investment in the NHS.

The campaign – led by a patient group, Just Treatment – is calling for an additional annual sum of £33billion for the NHS.

Michael Rosen, who battled the disease in intensive care for 48 days, points out how the money can be raised, arguing that if extra billions can be pumped into the NHS in an emergency this shows how such sums could be made available in government bonds.

Many people I talk to seem to think the Covid-19 vaccine is a one-off jab while it is more likely to be given annually, similar to the flu vaccine.

The trials for the various vaccines around the world were short-cut, completed within a year, whereas such trials normally take much longer and involve far more patients.

How long immunity is possible with today’s vaccines probably won’t be known until the end of this year when mathematical modelling on patients currently being vaccinated may be able to present a picture of success or failure.

What’s obvious is that further pandemics are threatened through the coming climate change and that governments need to strengthen their health services.

In Britain we are woefully short of doctors in many disciplines as well as nurses – pay is poor, recruitment difficult. Too many young doctors and nurses emigrate looking for better prospects.

We have been getting the NHS on the cheap for years. The present acute shortage of specially trained intensive care nurses means that many hospitals cannot provide the essential one-to-one care. More medical schools need to be set up.

This is the level of investment the NHS needs.

But a campaign setting out a programme for investment shouldn’t have to be left to patients to organise – the need should be recognised by the government and the Opposition – and it isn’t.

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