London ambulance. Photo: Wikimedia Commons London ambulance. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Elderly and disabled people being asked to refuse treatment shows the Tories are sticking with herd immunity and it’s unacceptable, argues Lucy Nichols

The Coronavirus pandemic has allowed for the emergence of a dangerous and worrying ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality amongst the ruling class.

Elderly and disabled people around the country have been asked to sign ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ forms in order to alleviate the pressure on the NHS as the coronavirus reaches its peak. Patients in South Wales, for example, were warned that they might not be admitted to hospital if they had underlying health conditions, and that it was even more unlikely that they would be given ventilator beds.

It is often the case that people who are very elderly or seriously unwell choose to sign DNR forms, but this is a deeply personal and sensitive decision. No one should ever be pressured into refusing treatment, or encouraged to ‘sacrifice’ themselves for the good of society.

The number of coronavirus cases is rapidly growing, and the strain on the NHS will soon become unbearable. The sad truth is that this means doctors will have to make very difficult decisions on who they treat; but this decision is not up to the government, and a reversion to eugenics must be opposed at all costs.

It is especially repugnant that people are being grouped into categories (such as elderly or disabled) and assessed based on these, rather than having their personal health taken into account. This take is ageist and ableist – those who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus are not a ‘burden’ on society and must not be treated as such.

The reality is that Britain, one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, should be able to offer treatment to whoever needs it. Obviously, we are living in exceptional circumstances – however the lack of PPE, hospital beds and ventilators are man-made problems. The government has been exceptionally poor in its response to the virus; and is now looking to push the blame on whoever it can; the elderly, people with underlying health conditions and the disabled.

We must be clear: the Tories have blood on their hands. The years spent underfunding the NHS, the reluctance to provide PPE and the refusal to test people for the virus will lead to thousands of preventable deaths. The targeting of the weak and old is just another means for the Tories to save money over lives.

Tagged under: