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  • Writer's picturechris walsh

what seniors want

In the face of all the confusion of the government's instructions regarding national and local health requirements relating to COVID 19 ( including apparently our Prime Minister's own confusion over the details), I think it is useful to b clear about what older people want. Remember that there are at least 3 generations of seniors - older working age (50-66+), active pensioners, including the million plus still working ( 66- 75 / 80) and the elder old ( 80+. It is this older group, many of whom are in care homes, and many of whom have underlying health conditions or disabilities who are most at risk, but we all to some degree have common concerns and demands

1) We want to be as safe as possible from infection - when we go out, to shop or to work. That means enforcement of mask wearing on public transport ( including taxis) , in super markets, in shops, in offices. We want to have social distancing maintained particularly in doors. We want hand sanitisers available at the entrances to indoor spaces, supermarkets, stations, etc. This will give us all confidence to go out to work and to consume, at present most of us are not that confident and we make up the silver economy, as workers and consumers - a large and growing part of the economy - which will be a key component of rebuilding and renewing life in London

2) we want clarity and equal application of the rules and we want to know why these decisions are made, what are the levels of risk for each of us and we want to know this is drawing on scientific and medical best practice. This means applying the rules to everyone - including the political elite. Dominic Cummings outrageous behaviour and the fact that he got away with it is probably the biggest single reason that public support and application of the rules has broken down.

3) We want to know that actually this government puts caring for all the people it serves first, including and especially the vulnerable - with BAME seniors, those in the front line, those living or working in care homes and those with health conditions - and not that there is an underlying Malthusian belief that survival of the fittest and herd immunity is the answer and we are a price worth paying for an economic revival ( which will not happen until people trust it is safe to return)

4) We want to know that the test and trace system is actually fit for purpose and is actually working and those running it are properly trained, scientifically and medically literate and have local knowledge - this does not appear to be the case at present.

5) We want experienced, qualified people running these systems, ones that have local knowledge, and have been awarded competitive contracts. This is not the reality. Instead of expanding the NHS and local councils and public health expertise which have years of experience and have built up local trust, this has been discarded. A contact working in public health says that as many health staff were made redundant some years back, the privatised delivery company given the contract for test and trace - an accountancy and auditing global company - Deloitte, have hired thousands of staff at salaries much larger than the NHS workers, and who have no scientific or medical training and little practical experience or local knowledge, and the result is utter chaos - at enormous cost to our finances and putting our lives in danger. The ideological commitment to privatisation ( including again another global outsourcing company with a terrible track record of human and efficient service delivery -SERCO) has yet again resulted in poor badly trained staff, enormous expense to we the tax payers and a failure to deliver .

These are simple things to ask, yet we see incompetence, greed, croneyism and our money being spaffed against a wall and going into the hands of those in the government chumocracy. Please enough is enough, get this sorted before the 2nd wave engulfs us all

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