Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1078/30440
Coronavirus hospital worker: amazing response from staff - but worst still to come
Some parts of the hospital seem strangely normal. Like the orthopaedic wards - where we seem to have more than the usual number of hip and knee replacements taking place, perhaps in readiness for when these are deemed non-essential procedures.
Of course, everywhere is still very short of staff. But families are making visits, and patients are being treated and discharged.
In and around A&E, things are very different. Advice and procedures are changed, sometimes hourly, as the situation evolves. We have to set up 'clean' and 'dirty' areas as we attempt to isolate patients who may have Covid-19.
Personal protective equipment shortages mean we have to improvise when covering equipment and protecting staff. We still have the same numbers of trauma-related injuries and other serious conditions, but now we have many patients walking in or arriving by ambulance with all the symptoms of the virus.
The response from staff is amazing as we support each other with understanding and humour, but the worst is still to come. I see young staff who are shellshocked and scared.
The hospital trust has promised that self-isolating won't count on sickness records and that vulnerable frontline staff can be redeployed to other areas. But make no mistake, we are also angry that cuts and 'rationalisation' over recent years makes us ill-equipped to deal with this crisis.
An NHS health professional
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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 18 March 2020:
Workplace news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns