On the 30th April Owl received a series of e-mails from a spokesperson for the Devon CCG demanding that a change be made to the headline in an earlier post concerning reports of NHS hospital running short of PPE:
“The Sunday Times headline which you have copy-and-pasted [on Sunday 26 April] is incorrect in that it states hospitals have ‘no gowns’. This is not true. Unless you can evidence your headline, which is not supported by the copy-and-pasted story, please amend it. You may or may not have noticed that later editions of the Sunday Times used a re-written story and headline.”
However, it was obviously a close run thing, as Owl found the post of the precautionary advertisement [20 April] for: boiler suits, lab coats, painting suits, chemical suits and disposable (or washable) overall with full length sleeves, on the Torquay Chamber of Commerce website, quoting the Devon CCG contact.
This level of surveillance and reaction intrigued Owl at the time.
Perhaps the post Owl made yesterday entitled Revealed: How elderley paid price of protecting NHS from Covid-19, also from the Sunday Times, gives a possible explanation:
The NHS withdrew into itself as the waves of cases hit the hospitals. It suspended the publication of critical care capacity figures, which meant nobody outside the corridors of power would be able to tell whether hospitals were being overrun, and issued a general ban on information to the media without sign off from central command.
Pressure was also exerted on NHS staff to prevent public disclosure of problems on the wards. Some trusts were alleged to have trawled staff social media accounts and given dressings-down to medics who mentioned PPE shortages or staff deaths. One surgeon working at a hospital in west London said: “There was an active drive by certain trusts to tell doctors to shut up about it because they didn’t want the bad publicity.”