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Rage, relief and recognition: the TV version of my book Breathtaking has opened a floodgate| Rachel Clarke

During the Covid pandemic, NHS staff were treated as expendable. The emotional response to our series suggests they still feel this way

Three days before the first national lockdown, in March 2020, the then deputy chief medical officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, looked us all in the eye and denied that there were any national problems with supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). While admitting to “some differential deliveries in some areas”, the second most senior doctor in the country confidently asserted to the press gathered at the daily pandemic briefing that such problems had been “completely resolved” and that “the country has a perfectly adequate supply of personal protective equipment at the moment”. For frontline staff, including me, it was a jaw-drop awful moment.

Perhaps Harries – since made a dame and the CEO of the new UK Health Security Agency – sincerely believed she was performing a public service in reassuring an anxious nation, as opposed to helping the government spin its way out of a growing scandal. But we – the staff whose necks were on the line – knew precisely how wrong her claims were. Up and down the country, staff were scrambling pitifully for PPE. Some of them resorted to wearing bin liners, or visors made by local Scout groups, or masks dropped off by building firms and veterinary practices.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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