The coronavirus and an overstretched NHS | Letters

There will be no Dad’s Army-style workforce of retired doctors as the government claims, writes Dr Pete Ford, while Dr Brigid Purcell says the health system is already struggling to cope after a decade of cuts. Plus letters from Judith Kent, Steve Flatley, Martin Angell and Michael Cunningham

With an evolving Covid-19 virus epidemic, on 1 March the UK health secretary released a press statement setting out a government “battle plan” that included the emergency registration of retired health professionals to allow them to come back to work in the NHS. This message has been repeated a number of times by MPs in the ensuing few days in an effort to reassure the public that the NHS will have the capacity to care for them.

However, this couldn’t be further from reality. There will be no Dad’s Army-style workforce saving us from an imminent disaster, no cavalry on horseback coming over the hill armed with their expert knowledge and skills. This workforce is lost, never to return. Why would any nurse or doctor who had survived a lifetime on the frontline want to return?

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Source: The Guardian
The coronavirus and an overstretched NHS | Letters