Intensive care doctor reveals horrors of working during Covid, after leaked Matt Hancock texts

1 March 2023, 15:37 | Updated: 1 March 2023, 15:42

Intensive care doctor describes the horrors of his work during Covid

By Alice Bourne

Expressing the difficulty of his job during covid, this intensive care doctor told Shelagh Fogarty a lack of testing recourses was not an excuse for NHS failings involving care homes.

The doctor told Shelagh Fogarty that with the limited testing capacity, there was it was about "what you do with those tests when you’ve got them".

He gave an example of the government's failed carrying out of hospital testing: "If you test on the Monday and kept your patient from the nursing home in until Thursday, how do you know they have not caught covid in that time?"

He added, "you are keeping them in an environment where you are intentionally admitting covid patients", suggesting tests should have been done prior to patients being sent back to care homes, not upon arrival at the hospital.

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Under that policy, the "results become meaningless" Ben argued, and those limited tests we did have were wasted.

This comes after leaked WhatsApp messages showing how the government operates at the height of the pandemic. They reveal that, as Health Secretary, Matt Hancock ignored advice from England's chief medical officer, Sir Chris Whitty to test everyone going into care homes in England for Covid-19.

According to the messages, Sir Whitty told Matt Hancock in April 2020 that all those "going into care homes" should be tested.

The texts reveal that on the 14th of April 2020, Hancock informed his aides of Whitty's "evidence review" which recommended, “testing of all going into care homes, and segregation whilst awaiting results”.

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Mr Hancock has flatly denied the accusations that he avoided clinical advice on the grounds that he was told at the time that there were not enough tests to include Whitty's measures in the action plan.

When Shelagh asked the intensive care doctor about his experience of working on the frontline during covid, Ben responded: "Most people are glad they did it… but I’m not convinced I could do it again."

He said: "Shift patterns were brutal, 13 hours in full PPE, no relatives... holding up an iPhone when people died so their relatives could be with them."

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