A proportionate reaction?
By the end of the year it looks as if the numbers who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid will hit around 65,000. Whatever the arguments about the way these deaths are recorded, that’s an awful lot of people. My sympathies are with them, whatever the circumstances.
Cancer Research UK, meanwhile, show average annual deaths are around the 165,000 mark, figures taken from 2015-17. Some 450 people a day succumb to this killer disease. It’s not a seasonal disease, it’s not a once in a lifetime pandemic, and there are no disputes over diagnoses. This year, the government have borrowed around £300bn to fund measures put in place for Covid. Yet cancer kills 2.5 times more people.
In all the chaos and panic, hospitals have delayed treatment and put off diagnoses. Amongst the extra deaths this year have been an estimated 35,000 extra cancer deaths, with a time bomb ticking for the future of tens of thousands more.
We also know, from NHS figures, that the average age of death from Covid is around 81. For cancer, we all know it is a lot less than that. We all know of someone suffering, maybe even dying from this. We also know that around a third of Covid deaths have been in care homes following hospital policies of discharging suffering patients. Those numbers should have been far lower.
As a libertarian, I do not want the government to go out and borrow an amount of money to match Covid spending pro rata – that would be mean eye-watering £750bn. I’d also much prefer that the health service was independent, competitive and free from political control. But we are where we are, with it being a national religion run by a man with a god complex – Matt Hancock.
So let’s just ask for a small mercy. Let the spending be in proportion to the risks, the “cases” and the deaths. Let cancer spending be 2.5 times that spent on Covid. Let the spending be relative to how it affects people’s lives.
This year has been a terrible one for many people due to Covid. Apart from the deceased, millions more citizens are now relying on Universal Credit. Tens of thousands of businesses have collapsed, including giants of the High St; Debenhams, Peacocks and Top Shop. Children have had their education interrupted.
But cancer has been a curse for generations, with no shiny new vaccine to look forward to. It’s time to put things in perspective.
Martin Day – Party Secretary