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Author Archives: Jean Smith

This is our twentieth weekly blog the series where we have commented on the course of the pandemic and the political context and implications from its impact on our country. The SHA has submitted our series of blogs to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), Chaired by Layla Moran (LD, Oxford West and Abingdon), who are taking evidence to learn lessons from our handling of COVID-19 in time for the high risk winter ‘flu season’. The Labour MP Clive Lewis is on the group This is an edited version of the seven main points we have submitted: Austerity (2010-2020) This […]
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The BMA is urging the Government to ensure more people take advantage of routine vaccinations after a concerning fall in coverage rates in recent years. In a report published today, the Association says that many immunisation programmes have been disrupted because of the pandemic as the NHS focused on responding to immediate health concerns and now it’s imperative that they are re-started and that people are encouraged to be immunised. It also notes that childhood vaccination in particular has plummeted during this time – dropping by around a fifth in total – despite advice that childhood immunisation should continue during […]
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In this week’s blog we will look again at the emerging Blame Game which is attempting to divert attention away from the PM and Health Secretary, raise again the unbelievable issue of the national Test and Trace scheme not sharing information on test results with local Directors of Public Health, salute the letter to the National Audit Office about PPE procurement and applaud the Vaccine Research group at Imperial College for creating a Social Enterprise company committed to sharing the vaccine globally. Blame Game The Prime Minister’s innate self-interest is exercising his mind at present and with the support of […]
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Week 18 In this week’s blog we urge the government to stop dithering and clarify the guidance on face masks; to get on with sharing all test results with local Directors of Public Health; and to stop shifting the blame for our world-beating COVID death rate onto Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS. Facemasks The important point to note with facemasks, which gets lost in translation, is that face coverings help prevent the wearer from transmitting the virus to others. Remember in the COVID-19 pandemic we have learnt that people without symptoms can pass on the virus to others […]
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In this week’s Blog we will have a look at the lessons learnt so far with the first City lockdown in Leicester and see what this tells us about the UK Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, raise issues again about their competence, outline why the social determinants of heath matter and assess the risks involved in privatisation of the NHS testing centres and public health functions. Local lockdown Leicester has been directed by central government (Hancock in the House of Commons on the 30th June) to remain in lockdown this weekend when other parts of England were being urged […]
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So here we are in Week 16 of our SHA Blog about how the Johnson government is mishandling and mismanaging – except where it comes to the interests of the profit-making private sector – the COVID-19 pandemic; and why the UK is “world beating” – in terms of the highest death rate from COVID in Europe! Test and Trace The “teething problems” with the centrally designed, and privately contracted, NHS Test and Trace scheme, continues. It is a privatised system organised through the likes of Deloitte, (Deloitte is one of the Big Four accounting organisations in the world, whose business […]
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We are now into the 15th weekly blog during the pandemic and confidence in the government is plummeting as the weeks roll on. The UK stands out as the sick man of Europe according to the Economist with the highest excess deaths per million population and with the OECD forecasting the UK as having the highest % decrease in GDP for 2020 compared to a year ago Channel 4 broadcast a speech by Prince Charles on Monday (June 22nd), saying how grateful the Nation was to the Windrush Generation who came to staff the NHS and other public services after […]
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So we are into our 14th weekly blog tracking our way through the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many issues which we have raised before which remain relevant over the past week. The most notable are the continuing blunders by the Johnson government, intent on appearing to have a strategy and being in control. The podium politics continue with premature announcements blurted out as intent, without having checked out their feasibility with professional advisers. The schools debacle was always couched in terms of recalcitrant Trade Unions rather than the fact that our school buildings have lacked investment over decades, class sizes […]
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This is now our 13th weekly Socialist Health Association Blog about the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our observations and predictions have sadly come true. The leadership group of the UK Tory government remains extremely weak, without a clear strategy or plan of action. Policy announcements at the Downing Street briefings are aimed at achieving media headlines. The Prime Minister has declared that he is taking charge but on questioning in Parliament was unclear who had been in charge up to this point! In this Blog we look at the poor political and scientific leadership and lack of a credible strategy; […]
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This is the twelfth week of the SHA COVID-19 blog in which we have responded to emerging issues in the pandemic response, from a politics and health perspective. As it stands the UK has performed “like lions led by donkeys”. The NHS and care home staff, plus all the other essential workers in shops, delivering mail and answering phones have been heroic, risking their lives, working long hours and generally going well above and beyond the call of duty, supported by armies of volunteers, delivering food to neighbours, sewing protective clothing, organising suitably distanced entertainment, and generally rising to the […]
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Public meeting Wednesday June 3 – Get your ticket! We would like to invite you to our first virtual Zoom public meeting Internationalism in the Post Covid-19 World Wednesday 3rd June, 6pm to 8.30pm Speakers are: Harsev Bains, Baroness Christine Blower, Dr Kailash Chand, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Jacqui McKenzie, Murad Qureshi AM. Please register for this event at liberation.org.uk/event  And pass it on to friends and colleagues! Joint event by The Socialist Health Association and Liberation. Please contact Jean Hardiman Smith at admin@sochealth.co.uk for more information.

The SHA has been publishing its COVID-19 Blogs weekly since the 15th March. A number of themes have cropped up consistently throughout as actual events have occurred. Too slow to act The slow and dithering response by the government has been one such theme. This has been exposed with embarrassing clarity by media investigative teams which this weekend include the Insight team. Their detailed report on the dither and delay leading up to lockdown showed that when Italy and Spain locked down on the 10th and 13th March respectively each had over a million estimated infections in their countries. In […]
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