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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Blame game

This report in this morning's Guardian is astonishing, if only because in the midst of a major national crisis it is alleged that senior politicians in the government are briefing against civil servants in an attempt to pass the buck for failures on testing and PPE:

From the BBC to bin collectors, shop workers to care home staff: all have suddenly been recognised as vital and appreciated by public and politicians alike.

However, as pressure mounts over the capacity for coronavirus testing and the supply of personal protective equipment and ventilators, finding someone to blame rather than fixing the problem seems to be the priority for some at the heart of government. Well-placed anonymous sources have started pointing fingers at everyone from the cabinet secretary, Mark Sedwill, to Public Health England.

They “bumble along, occasionally banning Coco Pops or something, but for the most part entirely out of sight” is how one source from within government described some of the most senior public health professionals in the country. Elsewhere, an unnamed minister has been happy to lay the blame for the lack of testing at the door of Public Health England, while a “senior figure” was busy pointing the finger at NHS England for a “system” that had given “incorrect” and “overly optimistic” information to ministers.

Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA Union sums it up: 'Right now, we need ministers and their advisers focusing on saving lives, not their careers. While public servants across the UK are working night and day – literally putting their lives on the line for the country – some within government are still putting self-preservation first. It is not only cowardly and shameful, it’s also destructive.'

And so say all of us.
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