The Prime Minister yesterday gave one of his sadly too familiar speeches yesterday announcing increased restrictions. You know all the restrictions by now. But one line stood out. We are seeing increased rates due to ‘too many breaches’ by the public.
This is pure chutzpah. Did the public ‘eat out to help out’ too many times? Did they go into work to support Pret workers too many times? Or did they make a 300-mile round trip while symptomatic too many times?
This latest attempt at shifting the blame is designed to detract from the Government’s most egregious mistake (in a field of many) during the pandemic: the mixed and ever changing messaging, which has left the public, GPs, MPs and health editors alike confused over what the rules are.
And I fear that this confusion, inevitably leading to understandable mistrust in the authorities, will make the lives of GPs all the harder this winter. Will they pay heed to any warning to stay away from GP services, especially after being told that practices aren’t doing enough to see patients face to face? Will they self isolate with flu like symptoms, with no access to Covid testing to let them know whether it is the flu or coronavirus? Will they even wear face masks, having told them it’s not compulsory in GP practices?
The Prime Minister could have taken responsibility yesterday for the muddled messaging we’ve been receiving. Hold his hands up and say ‘we got some things wrong, but we need your help to save lives’. This would have engendered some belief in the process, at least. But instead, all we have is too many breaches of trust.
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.