Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The government is forced to act on face masks - but probably too late

The Labour government are now starting to try and run to catch up. The Telegraph reports orders for 30 million face masks. ( How realistic is that at short notice with very high world demand ? But better to try than to give up ! )

I think they have just woken up to the political implications of being the only country not to be able to provide masks to its population.

And Her Majesties loyal opposition is starting to push the government. See this quote of Andrew Lansley in the Telegraph:

    Andrew Lansley, Shadow Health Secretary, said: "The Labour Government were warned by the industry and urged by us for years that they needed to get a stockpile of face masks ready for front line staff.

    "It is now unlikely that we will be able to get these masks by the time we need them. I only hope that NHS staff do not suffer as a consequence. This does not inspire confidence that Alan Johnson is in control of the situation."

He's quite right and this is about time.

It will take more than wheeling out the odd "expert" to say that the British don't need face masks for the "general public" to convince people that the government did a good job in not taking a relatively cheap measure to help protect the population.

For those who are intrested a set of gloves could be more important in public settings.

By the way the most use for face mask would be for preventing disease spread within families in home nursing situation ( see CDC advice here ), and given that the only way to handle the peak of an epidemic is to have people looked after at home this should have been a basic consideration. Brown tells us we are well prepared, its clearly not the case.

To those who read this who are in a position of authority - we don't want panic, but we do now want urgency, effectiveness and competence. Forget about being re-elected and if you can't handle things be honest and hand over to someone who can.

1 comment:

Alfie said...

You can bet your mortgage that the Cabinet and selected advisors, mistresses, kiddy-winks, etc will already have their face masks.. courtesy of comrade Johnson.