Hang on. I get that QCovid is damn clever. I’ve just tested it on myself and it takes into account pretty much all the risk factors you’d expect: age, sex, ethnicity, postcode, illnesses, inside leg measurement etc. And it gave me a one in 2577 chance of dying of Covid in the next 90 days, which I can live with (or rather, which I have a 2576/2577 chance of living with).
And I get that the computer coding and patient informing is all sorted centrally, which means that, for once, GPs have dodged a work-dump.
And I also get that this means another 1.7 million patients will now be viewed as clinically extremely vulnerable, to which they might respond: ‘A bit bloody late now’ and: ‘Can I have my Covid jab then?’, which will lead to them phoning we GPs, so we haven’t actually avoided that workload dump after all.
But what I don’t get is why, among all this clever number-crunching science, Newton’s third law of motion doesn’t apply. After all, if QCovid can refine our view of who should be added to the shielded list, why isn’t there the equal and opposite reaction of subtracting those who never should have been put on it in the first place?
And I don’t get why they don’t realise there are plenty of those. After all, about a year ago, we GPs were specifically asked to augment the centrally generated shielded list using some rapidly dreamed up criteria courtesy of the RCGP, BMA and probably other esteemed bodies. It’s all a bit of a blur now, but I recall those criteria seeming at best vaguely logical and at worst frankly whimsical. But it gave us something to do in those bizarre post-apocalyptic weeks of the first lockdown.
Also, I don’t get why those with a legacy CEV label who, using the QCovid retrospectoscope, shouldn’t have been shielded in the first place, can’t be liberated from their restrictions. True, some are perfectly happy hunkering down binge-watching box sets while waiting for the NHS volunteer to stagger in with their Government funded D Vits. But the majority would view their reclassification as a relief.
So I don’t get why QCovid can’t cut both ways. Run the same search on those already coded as CEV, and unshield those beneath the threshold. Maybe it’s Newton’s first law – something about inertia. Then again, I never did get physics, either.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/views/copperfield