When we broke the story in March that practices were receiving out-of-date face masks with a sticker covering the expiry date, the Government came out very quickly to reassure practices they were safe. Many were willing to give the Government the benefit of the doubt. Which makes this week’s news that many weren’t actually safe particularly galling.
The sticker over the expiry date is a pretty good analogy for the Government’s whole approach to this. Yes, it wasn’t easy to source this volume of PPE, just as responding to the pandemic wasn’t easy.
Scores of GPs may well have been harmed
But if we had complete honesty from the start, people would know where they stood. As I argued last week, the messaging seems to suggest that it is becoming safe to return to normal life – when the infection rate and daily number of deaths say otherwise.
Equally, if GPs were told from the start that these expired face masks may not be perfect, there would have been more understanding. And, more importantly, action would have to be taken to rectify this.
But by playing down the risks, scores of GPs may well have been harmed. And trust in their next guidelines or their next reassurance will be close to non-existent.
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org