This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

The waiting game

The Government is happy with a laissez faire approach (except for GPs)


I have a confession. When the Prime Minister gave his speech on the next stage of lockdown on Sunday, I thought it was ok. I was worried that, following Donald Trump in the US and the calls from some of the mainstream media, he would abandon lockdown in favour of the economy. So the minimal changes – opening parks, allowing exercise – seemed sensible.

But the communications since have aged that opinion badly. I have no clue what is allowed, encouraged, discouraged or outright banned. Employers don’t seem to know who should be working from home or outside. And the rules around meeting people outside the home are baffling.

The public is crying out for more instruction

The only thing that seems clear is that the responsibility for interpreting the rules has been given to the public. Which doesn’t seem like a great way to manage a public health crisis – you only need to look outside to see life going on as normal.

But there is an exception to this. One group has been instructed on what they must do. And that group is… well, you can guess. The latest diktat is for primary care networks to ensure every care home has a named clinician. If this isn’t happening, there may need to be regulation, says NHS England.

GPs don’t need telling about the crisis in care homes. But this administrative burden will not do anything for those residents. It simply deflects from the errors made from sending potential Covid-19 patients back into the homes.

The public is crying out for more instruction. So reverse the situation where they are getting suggestions, while the professionals who understand this a lot better are getting diktats.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at

Rate this article  (4.7 average user rating)

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (10)

  • Good points with which most of us would agree.......Sadly the hierarchy in NHSe is not based on competence. The lack of insight and the inability to lead is starkly obvious.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Wow a radical idea, letting the public take personal responsibility... Instead of wanting more oppression of the public, like some of us would... Maybe we GPs should also start 'leading the way' and taking some of our own decisions instead of being dictated to by our own authorities... even more radical...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I would be very happy to assess and treat patients in care homes it's what I did most of my career. Triage for hospital/palliative care and relieve distress in the dying. I sit waiting to hear from NHS England...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The spread in care homes was predicatble and expected. The decision not to do anything about it was calculated and deliberate. Opening schools early is also a deliberate plan to start spreading COVID again. The plan is to develop herd immunity by gradually letting the infection spread through the UK. The aim of lockdown was to stop the NHS getting overwhelmed by us all getting it at the same time. With no vaccine anytime soon they decided to go for herd immunity.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Merlin I though you were saying it was premature for the blame game and that it was unhelpful?????? :-)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If Herd immunity is realistically the only long term solution isn’t that a good plan? I’d feel safer if we had it rather than places like New Zealand where it could just keep appearing.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Merlin is right. The lockdown was to build up resources and then we will have some more, staged infections, hopefully with hand-wringing and long-faces but just what the FTSE100 needs.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


    Euthanasia by COVID?
    But why kill off healthcare workers by lack of PPE

    Politicians are good at lies and false promises

    You give them too much credit assuming an economic conspiracy theory..

    The economy is taking a huge hit with furlough schemes universal credit
    Etc etc

    What's going to happen with brexit...
    Postponed or delayed..

    What if Europe discovers a safe working vaccine first??

    Can we have our cake
    And eat it

    In Europe when it suits us?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


    Left to the public... people prefer to ignore all risks....

    With a second wave
    The lockdown will have to be tougher...
    Home made masks
    Enforced mask use outside

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Youtube: Lord Sumption on the UK Lockdown BBC News 17 May 2020

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say