Michael Mansfield QC doesn’t pull his punches….
The government ignored the pandemic to begin with, ignored the recommendations from Exercise Cygnus, repeatedly ignored the science, had decimated public services, then ignored the cries of those working in the NHS, in social care, and in other crucial services, and as we have heard, ignored the offers of procurement from those working inside the NHS for PPE.
The Government was reluctant to put us into lockdown, because it was feared that the British public would have lockdown fatigue. By the time this eventually happened on 23rd March 2020, it was too late for many people.
THE IMPORTANCE of PUBLIC SERVICES We are supposed to have a framework of public services which are in place for a purpose. In times of emergency, it makes sense to allow those existing public assets, in which the staff are the best placed to know what to do to help and support citizens, to be supported to carry out that unprecedented additional work. Instead, the government has chosen at every stage to prefer private contracts.
POLITICAL CHOICE: TO LOOK TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR: NHS capacity, public health, procurement, education Private test and trace, at a staggering cost of £37 billion, has never worked. GP surgeries all over the country would have been best placed to know their patients, their demographics, their health issues, manage language barriers, and rely on established relationships and trust with them. Doctors were not trusted to look after their own patients.
Private hospitals, the capacity for which was bought up for months at the beginning of the firstlockdown, at most only treated between one and 67 Covid patients per day, at a staggering cost which hasn’t been disclosed.
Private contracts for ventilators, when it is clearly better for those who already make ventilators to be asked to create more of them. Just because you manufacture cars doesn’t mean you can be paid to build helicopters overnight.
Private tutors, to help children in education to catch up from the disruption caused by Covid; rather than the teachers who already know the children they teach, now more intimately than before Covid, having seen into their own homes in Zoom classes.