Over 70's "would rather go to jail" than shield for another 12 weeks, Maajid Nawaz told

3 May 2020, 13:42 | Updated: 3 May 2020, 17:19

By Seán Hickey

The British Medical Association circulated the view that over 70s should not be further shielded in an extension of lockdown.

Elderly citizens have been vocal in their anger at being singled out in the Covid-19 response claiming the measures to be draconian and are putting them at risk of a deteriorated mental state as a result of being separated from their families.

Baroness Ros Altmann is an expert in UK pensions and a political campaigner. She spoke to Maajid Nawaz on how the UK's shielding strategy has had a negative impact on the lives of British pensioners and should not be extended if lockdown goes on longer.

Maajid wanted to know how seniors are handling the prospect of a further 12 weeks of lockdown. Baroness Altmann told Maajid that she spoke to many people who would "rather go to prison" than to be isolated for another three months.

"Do we live in a democracy or are we part of some Chinese authoritarian regime" she wondered. Baroness Altmann added that many people cannot stay home for such a long period as their sanity takes a hit if they stay inside for such a long period.

Maajid argued that the shielding is largely unfair, stating that these people should be able to spend their twilight years as they please and should also be mindful of the advice, so there should be no reason that they cannot be outdoors and practice social distancing.

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Maajid wanted to know on this vein how seniors are treated in end of life care in general during the pandemic. Baroness Altmann quipped that it "depends on were they are".

Baroness Altmann stated that she knows "dozens of people that have been turned away from hospitals" because they are an at-risk category and being treated in hospital is the last resort as a part of the government coronavirus strategy.

She revealed the heartbreaking scenario whereby these people who cannot get access to hospital services or even GP services "have ended up in either care homes or at home with their loved ones unable to visit them".

"Compassion that is often automatically available may not be available to people now because of a policy to protect the NHS, a policy which has now led to tens of thousands of beds being empty" Baroness Altmann told Maajid.

"End of life care in this country should be the same as it should be in any civilised country" she argued, suggesting that at this moment in time it is nowhere near where it should be.