Last year we took the testimony of ordinary everyday people about their experiences of the NHS and healthcare services; to ensure their opinions could be placed in the public domain we are publishing them over the coming week.
“My partner is a lockdown policy death.”
“HE WAS a serving police officer for 40 years, retired, and died in the first lockdown, on June 15th. He wasn’t seen face-to-face until our 999 call, and died within 24 hours of heart failure. He had been very, very ill all through since January 2020, he did have a heart scan eventually in April. We were told he would be seen as a matter of urgency, but he wasn’t, nobody ever saw him until he called 999 and he died the next day.
The cardiologist told me that in fact when my partner had that scan in April he was a palliative patient then. But his GP refused to see him face-to-face, then lost his scan, then told him he wasn’t sure how to refer him on to a specialist as it was lockdown. He lost 2.5 stone and they told me all his organs had packed up by the time he was admitted via A&E. I’m not sure anyone will tell this shocking story, although there will be many more.
I’ve emailed my MP who just glossed over the facts and sent his condolences! Typical avoidant response, I guess.”
“To our horror, my once gorgeous girl started to hurt herself by slicing parts of her body…”
“INITIALLY it felt like a crisis that would wipe out huge swathes of people and families, including my own parents, one of whom is a transplant patient.
When we first saw the media pictures from Wuhan and Italy we were distraught for their families and worried about our own health and how best to follow advice and guidance (I even wash my food shopping). However, the last year has brought home some reality in terms of the measures and the effects on my family and friends. As a self-employed carpenter I have been excluded from any financial help which has left huge holes in my finances, the worst measures of all though have been the closures of schools. I have two children 5 and 13, my oldest was a very bright and energetic child, full of beans and a fantastic student with drive and ambition, that is no longer the case.
I now struggle to get her out of bed, she has slipped into a mental health abyss with no or little access to her teachers and no access to her friends, it came to a head in November when to our family’s horror, my once gorgeous girl started to hurt herself by slicing parts of her body. Being distraught at this news we approached the school and children’s services for help and support. The excuse I got from the deputy head was that live classes and Zoom classes were too uncomfortable for teachers due to children being in bed, partly dressed and other horror stories.
I have repeatedly written to my MP and Welsh Assembly Member with no assistance. Quite frankly my family has suffered more by the intolerable Covid measures than we have by a virus. Reopen the schools and leave our kids to heal.”
“ ‘Sorry, Stage 4,’ they told us, ‘nothing to be done…’ ”
“MY UNCLE – early 70s – found blood in his urine last Feb. It was Oct before he was fully tested and diagnosed. ‘Sorry, Stage 4, nothing to be done. We cannot say for certain that the delay made any difference.’ I bloody can!”
“Siblings who travelled from UK made to feel they had no right to be at their own mother’s funeral.”
“UNABLE to visit my mother in hospital for three weeks after she had a stroke even though she had dementia, or get reliable consistent information as to her treatment. Only allowed in once we were told it was now palliative care with her just having over a week to live. Small funeral but from very large extended family. Siblings who travelled from UK made to feel they had no right to be at their own mother’s funeral.”
“The wait for mental health services for young people is months long”
“MY TEENAGE daughter has begun cutting herself. This may not be entirely because of lockdown, but the wait for mental health services for young people is months long. Meanwhile she feels like she’s under house arrest with only digital screen time as an outlet.”
“I have been in extreme pain since March 2020”
“I HAVE an implant for nerve pain. My review which was due has been cancelled three times and as yet I still do not have an appointment. I have been too afraid to switch my device on in case something went wrong, worrying that they would be unable to see me. So I have been in extreme pain since March 2020. My breast cancer screening was also delayed by over 6 months. I live alone. My brother, sister and nephews live in different parts of the UK. Being unable to see them for several months at a time has been devastating for me, as we are a close family who usually see each other every month at least.
As I live alone friends are also very important to me. Despite them living more locally I was unable to meet with them during the first lockdown at all. Spending months alone has been devastating. The level of deliberate fear mongering by government and mainstream media has in my opinion been utterly outrageous. I think it has been in the realm of brain washing.
Because I have a scientific background, I am an analytical thinker who is used to questioning and not taking information at face value. This has been a tremendous asset and saved me from the intense fear I have discovered some friends and neighbours experience. I have observed neighbours wearing face masks and gloves to put out their own dustbins, in their own drives. A ridiculous level of fear. I am appalled at the level of freedom that has been taken from me and I would never have believed it possible in the UK. It has felt like living in post-war East Germany and still does.
I usually vote Conservative. In future I will vote for any anti-lockdown party, which I expect will be the Reform Party. If I don’t have a candidate, I will spoil my ballot paper.”
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This sample of testimonies was curated by the Time for Recovery team. Photo by By Hector Pertuz from Adobe Stock.