NOW that unvaccinated NHS workers have been granted permission – albeit with a somewhat hollow compassion – to continue looking after the sick and vulnerable, how is it that hospital visitation protocols, even for the triple-jabbed, have not been loosened accordingly?
Since beginning his tenure, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has persistently bullied the nation into painstakingly restructuring their lives around protecting the NHS, particularly via uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Yet in what is a sort of strange perversion of mercy, in revoking the NHS vaccine mandate he has not only inadvertently rubbished all sacrifices made by the public to date, but continues also to deny them fair access, if any at all, to loved ones in hospital.
There exists many a disgraceful caveat to the rusty version of freedom Javid so likes to trumpet these days, one being that in New Normal England, a boostered citizen may still be prohibited from visiting a boostered family member in hospital, even upon presentation of a negative lateral flow test.
Unvaccinated health workers however, may come and go as they please. It is like an admittance not only that natural immunity is superior to vaccine-induced ‘immunity’, but also that it somehow now only applies to those who wear the NHS badge.
How utterly ridiculous. Above all others, the scrapping of this mandate in particular means absolutely nothing if not then accompanied by the abolishment of all other interrelated pandemic regulations – for care settings in particular.
As it stands, this isn’t living alongside Covid-19, this is the Government flat-out refusing to fully relinquish its powerful new public health-based mechanisms for behavioural control.
Despite the Health Secretary’s vainglorious proclamations that we are now the most open society in Europe, it remains one set of pandemic rules for Downing Street, one for hospital workers, one for care home workers, one for schoolchildren, one for international travellers, and one for the general public at large; and with schools, businesses and NHS Trusts – ward staff even – all permitted it seems, to enforce their own personalised visions of what living alongside Covid-19 looks like, at will.
I don’t care what Javid says: We still inhabit a landscape governed by divide-and-conquer stratagems, executed to prolong the erosion of our autonomy, pandemic or no pandemic.
The revocation of the NHS mandate was welcome news for all pro-choice advocates, although one can’t help but suspect Javid will now pursue it by stealth, or reintroduce it either at the arrival of the next highly transmissible variant, or as part of the next autumn and winter Plan, whichever comes first.
Regardless, concerned only with macro-level damage control, he remains a man content to play God with people’s lives at the micro-level. He appears to have no qualms with allowing hospitals to remain in a state of Omicron-based hysteria – hospitals still implementing cruel visitation protocols designed in the Lockdown of Winter 2020/21 – even after he has openly conceded the variant to be of no elevated threat.
Take, for example, the dire predicament my partner’s parents now find themselves embroiled in. Mary is a 73-year-old long-term sufferer of what various doctors have offhandedly described to the family as either Alzheimer’s or dementia. She lives at home with her husband Ken, who for a number of years now has acted as her primary carer (both names have been changed).
Without Ken by her side, Mary would barely eat, nor move from her chair. She doesn’t know how to operate a phone, is doubly incontinent, and requires frequent hand-feeding in order to adequately complete a meal.
As well as seeing to her basic health and hygiene requirements, Ken does all that he can to help stimulate her mind by singing to her and taking her for walks around the village, and is one of the only people capable of making her laugh. As my partner puts it: ‘He is quite literally her only link to reality.’
After several blackouts and falls over the autumn and winter, Mary now finds herself in Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester, for the sixth time in as many months. Yet due to the hospital trust’s strict visitation protocols, triple-jabbed Mary’s likewise triple-jabbed husband and full-time carer is not permitted to visit.
This in spite of the fact that she not only declines to get out of bed and has stopped talking altogether, but in spite of my partner’s reiteration to staff that it is only Ken who holds the key to her revivification, and thus discharge.
Ken has been resigned to peering through the ward window and waiting by the phone for calls promised but rarely returned. He cannot even talk to Mary on the phone as only he, in person, is able to prompt her into how to use one.
Hampshire Hospitals Trust states that visits may be permitted only in exceptional circumstances (‘because of Covid’), and even then they remain at the discretion of the relevant ward staff. Yet Mary’s ward will not budge, its staff scandalously refusing to recognise her predicament as exceptional.
A swift check on random NHS trusts up and down the country reveals that most visitation protocols have changed little in light not only of Omicron’s proven reduced threat, but the revocation of the NHS mandate.
While Mary and Ken continue to suffer at the hands of their local hospital, 140 miles away in Devon a friend was recently admitted to Torbay Hospital in Torquay with a stomach pain so severe the paramedics who responded had first to administer intravenous morphine before contemplating just how to extricate her from her flat, paralysed with agony as she was.
Upon her admission (her second attempt, by the way) she was promptly dumped in a spare office of sorts located at the end of a corridor, inside of which she then perched unattended on a plastic chair, next to a broken, out-of-commission bed for the next seven excruciating hours – with neither call button, water, additional pain relief or further communication with staff – her unvaccinated but tested-negative partner having been denied the opportunity to remain at her side.
At his wits’ end, he was resigned to listening to her screams and sobs over the phone, trauma she later admitted had her scouring the room from her chair for any sharp object that might offer a grim escape.
It was a needlessly harrowing and lonely experience which in hindsight, for all they both know, could ironically have ended with her being seen by an unvaccinated yet likewise negative-tested doctor, and then a surgeon, no less.
One wonders if the Health Secretary would deem either of these two examples ‘exceptional circumstances’. Or is he content for the NHS to remain on a war footing despite the only war remaining that of the backlog his government has elected to manufacture and which looks set not to contract but expand into the coming years.
It is time Sajid Javid ordered an end to the heaping of unwarranted additional misery upon all hospital patients and visitors. There no longer exists even the feeblest shred of evidence to support such inhumane Code Red protocols.
But the Health Secretary doesn’t want to do that, does he? He would rather continue banging the drum of a vaccine that doesn’t work, and thus prolong this most lucrative, inaugural era of public health panic by whatever means necessary. And by lucrative, I mean that the Treasury remains brimful of the fear-dollars which are now the new global currency of the post-Covid International Order.
What a coward the man is.
The situation is grimly similar in Italy, where a triple-jabbed friend recently returned home to Taranto to spend time with her dying father in hospital, only to find that she likewise is being refused visitation entirely.
And so, in light of England’s equally barbarous hospital regulations, I would like to know just what Sajid Javid means when he speaks of us being the freest country in Europe, way ahead of the curve when it comes to living with Covid.
Or does the role of Health Secretary now exist purely as a means by which liberty itself may be fraudulently redefined by the State – two years of total subservience, including three injections with a potentially hazardous experimental gene therapy, resulting in the freedom to drink a pint but not to visit with our dearly beloved during their most desperate hours of need.
And we are supposed to be grateful for this?