The British Medical Association’s Doctors Union said doctors had suffered unforeseeable damage and suffering and that the government had “failed to fulfill its duty of care” in the management of medicine. Coronavirus covid infection-19 pandemic.
In his assessment of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, c BMA looked to see if doctors had been protected in the last two years.
The union warns that “chronic” underinvestment in health services in the UK has meant it is ill-prepared for a pandemic.
A key issue addressed in the report was the lack of PPE, and doctors ’reports indicate that during the first wave of the pandemic, they did not have access to proper protective equipment.
The report said: “Some doctors were particularly poorly protected. Female doctors often struggled with poorly selected PPE, which left them open. Doctors from ethnic minorities disproportionately reported that they felt the risk assessment was less effective than their white counterparts. ”
Evidence in the BMA report includes a survey conducted after the first wave of the pandemic, which found that 81 percent of doctors do not feel fully protected.
One doctor said in a report: “Some of us have been told not to wear masks in rehab wards so as not to scare patients. That was the case in many hospitals, and I think it was a top-down policy. “
Another doctor said: “I was pressured to continue and” support my colleagues. “
The report also highlights the challenges doctors face with long-term covid, with surveys published earlier showing that 51 percent reported that while they were still working, their quality of life was affected.
The junior doctor told reviewers, “I picked up Covid-19 in March 2020 from a co-worker. Since then, I’ve mostly been bedridden. My life, as I knew, was over. It is supposed to be the best years of my life, but I spend them alone, in bed, feeling that I am dying almost all the time. “
According to the report, in the period from February 2021 to January 2022, the BMA Advisory Service recorded an increase in calls by 173 percent compared to the period from February 2019 to January 2020.
“I felt this experience was the most disturbing in my career because of the stress of uncertainty, frustration with the slow national response, the extreme pressure we were under, and the emotional loss of almost everyone I worked with. I did not sleep, I often felt angry and suffered from post-traumatic stress for some time, ”said one senior doctor in Scotland.
The BMA has made a number of recommendations to the government, including:
· That the UK government and the relocated countries continue to conduct pandemic preparedness exercises for the most likely types of infections
· To ensure well-being, timely assessment of occupational health and access to psychological support.
· Introduce mechanisms to the NHS experience that is less variable in origin
Dr Chaand Nagpol, chairman of the BMA Council, said: “It is the moral duty of the government to protect its health workers from harm while on duty as they serve and protect the health of the nation.
“However, in reality doctors were desperately disappointed by the UK government’s refusal to properly prepare for the pandemic, and their subsequent making erroneous decisions with tragic consequences.
“Many doctors were left unprotected due to a critical lack of personal protective equipment when the coronavirus hit our shores, leaving health workers infected more often than the rest of the population.
“Hundreds of health workers died after being infected with Covid-19. 95 per cent of the doctors who died in April 2020 were from an ethnic minority, and that figure calls on the UK government to address the issue of deep racial inequality affecting our NHS workforce.
“Without a break, doctors worked at the forefront, exposed to the virus, while most of the population stayed at home during the closure.
“They saw a level of illness and death that they had never learned before. With the anti-utopian reality of the lack of hospital visitors, doctors had to hold phones in front of dying patients so they could say goodbye to loved ones. ”
The Department of Health and Social Welfare asked for comments.