New Year, New Lockdown

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live”

Jim Rohn

Is Lockdown the same this time for Healthcare?

Yes and No.

The reasons are the same, to “Protect the NHS and Save Lives”.  

The numbers of COVID-19 cases diagnosed, requiring admission to hospital and ITU, and unfortunately, deaths of loved ones are continuing to rise.

Things that are the same as the big lockdown of March 2020

  • 1. The NHS is under enormous pressure and is a risk of imminently being over-run
  • 2. The most vulnerable require to shield
  • 3. Everyone must pull together to follow the rules to protect our loved ones and ourselves
  • 4. Priority needs to be given to the most urgent medical cases
  • 5. Routine and scheduled care, will be affected and likely delayed.

But we have vaccines!!

Correct. And most importantly we have hope and a light at the end of this dark tunnel.

However, the logistics of vaccinating a whole population is complex.

Here in the UK, we are one of the first countries in the world to have started rolling out our vaccination programme. Despite acquiring millions of doses of the vaccine, from multiple pharmaceutical companies, the demand still massively outstrips the supply.

The primary focus at this time is for those at highest risk of dying from COVID-19, and the healthcare workers who care for them need to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Until that happens the tightest of restrictions need to be implemented. This is because the ‘R’ number (the reproduction rate of the virus), or the number of people that will get infected from one person, is increasing.

So what is different about Healthcare this time?

We know much more about the virus and how to treat it.

Many more patients are surviving COVID-19, because of increasing understanding from the Scientific and Medical communities.  What still remains unknown is the long-term effects that both COVID-19 and prolonged periods of restricted activity will have on our physical and mental health.

Things that are different about lock-down this time

  • 1. Hospitals and care providers have pathways in place
    • ‘Red’ – COVID +ve
    • ‘Amber’ – ‘unknown status’
    • ‘Green’ – COVID -ve
  • 2. The Nightingale and the Scottish equivalent (Louisa Jordan) hospitals are in place
    • staffing these hospitals remains a concern due to significant numbers of staff shortages.
  • 3. The Private Sector remains open for Private Healthcare. Private Hospitals continue to support the NHS at this time by providing in-patient and theatre capacity for urgent cancer patients who are on a ‘Green’ – COVID -ve pathway.
    • The Private Sector has retained some of its capacity for Private Patients, particularly for those in essential industries who may have Private Health Insurance policies for their workers. E.g.
      • Oil & Gas
      • Manufacturing
      • Key Workers such as the Police Federation
    • This helps to ensure that a significant proportion of the population can help to remove any additional burden on the NHS at this critical time.
  • 4. Technology allows for more Virtual and Online Appointments
    • Face-to-Face appointments are still available if an examination, investigation or treatment is required

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