When Pulse broke the news last week that GPs were being told they could only order blood tests for the most urgent cases, it was rightly broadcast across the media. Problems with Roche’s supply of chemistry analyser reagents left labs with limited capacity for chemistry testing.
But this didn’t at all affect the Covid swabs, which Roche said will be prioritised. Now, I understand why this is. Putting this extra pressure on Covid testing would feel like a step back in the Government’s (frankly awful) attempts to fight the virus.
But this more than anything clearly illustrates the point in the open letter from GPs warning about the dangers of a second lockdown. ‘Covid deaths alone can no longer be used as the unilateral measure of harm,’ they wrote.
This is an extreme example of putting all the emphasis on Covid. You don’t need me to tell you the potential harm for patients with these tests being cancelled or unavailable.
The balancing act between minimising the harm of Covid while minimising the harm of lockdown is a horrible one. But I fear as the Government gets more desperate as its policies to curb the pandemic fails, we will see more non-Covid patients being given the second class treatment.
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.