In one of the bleaker days of our Covid year I heard the news of the Wales lockdown and the impact it will have on the livelihoods of those running small businesses.
Some of the stories of livelihoods that will be lost – as a result of the ridiculously named ‘fire-breaker’ – in the retail and hospitality sectors almost brought me to tears.
I was listening in my car on the way to Leicester’s Apple shop in the once thriving Highcross Shopping Centre. That city has been under some form of lockdown for a few months now and the affect was clear with a great many shop units now empty.
I had a coffee and scanned my daily newspaper and found two stories that beggared belief and yet both read like matter-of-the-fact articles with no comment.
The first described how Gillian Orman was outraged when she rang the NHS after her mother Kathleen Bricknell passed away following a long illness.
Mrs Orman said: “The doctor rang and said she wanted to confirm the death via video link. I couldn’t believe it – what she was suggesting was so undignified.
“I know we’re in the middle of a Covid epidemic, but you expect support when something like this happens.”
This, it turns out, isn’t an isolated example as health chiefs have admitted that doctors are making requests to inspect dead bodies remotely to avoid having to make house calls.
I just couldn’t get my head round this. Having gone through the trauma of watching your mother die almost all of us as a basic need would want the physical support and confirmation that a doctor would bring.
I then started to wonder what sort of video would be required, just her face, opening her eyes, perhaps. Unbelievable that someone in a supposed caring profession would have the gall to even ask.
Then a NIB – News In Brief – as we journalists call them caught my eye headed ‘Deaf children taught by teachers wearing masks’.
According to a survey 27% of them are being taught in this way. Extraordinary when you consider that children pose virtually no risk of spreading Covid.
Our two most important public services missing in action and at a time of global crisis.
Sometimes I find it difficult to conclude anything other that large parts of our public sector operate for the benefit of the people who work in them than for those they are supposed to be supporting.
At the same time the private sector which funds them is being laid to waste.