GPs denounce Tory plans to roll out vaccine for putting patient lives at risk


VER 1,000 GPs have written to Tory Health Secretary Matt Hancock demanding that the government produces a ‘full plan’ for the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine.

GPs are furious over government plans to create 1,500 vaccination centres, most of which will be based at GP surgeries, giving them the deadline of December 1st to be up and running to deliver the at least 1,000 vaccinations a week.

The whole plan by the Tories to rush out mass vaccination with absolutely no planning has provoked a backlash from GPs across the country, with them objecting that the speed and absence of any forward planning places demands on local doctors that jeopardise the health care of other patients.

The campaign group EveryDoctor, which coordinated the letter to Hancock, said the Tories have ‘critically underestimated’ the ability of GP surgeries to administer the vaccine at the speed and volume they are demanding.

According to the group, GPs have been told that in order to facilitate the mass vaccination programme they ‘might have to cut back on other patient services to do so.’ In their letter they bluntly ask Hancock to come out and say openly what services he intends them cut back and ‘how can this be done in a manner which keeps our patients safe?’

Dr Siema Iqbal from EveryDoctor said: ‘Doctors believe that a rapid vaccination programme is not only possible but essential. But they are clear, it will require adequate planning, resources and coordination from the Department of Health.’ He added: ‘The government has had eight months to prepare for this, we expect much better.’

Dr Julia Patterson added her voice saying: ‘Matt Hancock should have been preparing for this programme since April. After months of chaos and thousands of lives lost, doctors, NHS staff and the whole country need and expect this programme to be delivered right on the first attempt.’

Last week, as the UK’s official coronavirus death toll reached 50,365, the head of the doctors’ union BMA, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: ‘This is a point that should never have been reached. In March, Professor Steve Powis said that if the public adhered to the nationwide lockdown the total toll could be kept below 20,000.’

He added: ‘As we look towards the hope of a vaccine, it’s vital that lessons are learned from the last nine months to ensure that nothing on this scale ever happens again.’ In fact, none of the chaos was accidental but was the inevitable outcome of a Tory government determined at all costs, including the cost in lives, to get capitalism working again and restore the profits of the bosses.

They not only ignored scientific advice back in April but deliberately buried the Cygnus report that in 2016 warned the UK was not prepared for a flu-like pandemic and which particularly warned about the risk in care homes.

Instead, they carried out a policy of forcing residents out of hospitals and back into care homes which became a killing ground for the elderly. At the same time the Tories rushed to end the original national lockdown that should have continued until the disease was crushed – as it was in China.

The fact remains that throughout this pandemic the Tories have been driven, not by any concern for the lives of workers or the elderly, but to reopen the economy for the bosses to salvage whatever profit they can from the wreckage of a bankrupt capitalist system.

Now they are desperately grasping at the prospect of forcing a reopening by rushing out a mass vaccination programme with no consideration for the practicalities or any cost in life resulting from forcing the NHS to turn away patients with other life threatening conditions.

The unmistakable truth is that capitalism, with its insatiable drive for profit at all costs, is incapable of fighting this pandemic and providing for the health of workers and young people.

The only way to defeat coronavirus is to go forward to a socialist society where production is planned to satisfy the needs of all the people not for the profit of a few billionaires.