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Matt Hancock pandemic diaries: Ex-Health Secretary recounts 2021 Basildon Hospital trip

‘I don’t think we’ll see him again’: Matt Hancock reveals the doctor’s heartbreaking words as he put Covid patient on a ventilator during night shift at the height of the pandemic

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Matt Hancock revealed the heartbreaking moment a Covid patient was put on a ventilator when a doctor said: “I don’t think we’ll ever see him again.”

The former Secretary of Health had traveled to Basildon Hospital in January 2021, then one of the hospitals with the greatest pressure, to accompany doctors on the night shift.

The ‘unbelievably horrifying moment’ was one of countless horrors experienced by NHS frontline staff in the pandemic, which has claimed 212,000 lives in the UK.

At the time, there were still 37,000 people in hospitals receiving treatment for Covid, and staff faced the grim regularity of caring for patients in the last days of their lives.

Matt Hancock With Basildon Hospital Staff In January 2021

Matt Hancock with Basildon hospital staff in January 2021

Matt Hancock With Basildon Hospital Staff In January 2021

Matt Hancock With Basildon Hospital Staff In January 2021

Matt Hancock with Basildon hospital staff in January 2021

Mr Hancock writes: ‘In intensive care, I saw a man consent to be intubated because his blood oxygen levels were not sustainable.

He talked to the doctor, who said, “We want to put a tube in, because we don’t think it’s going to make it unless we do that.”

‘His chances of waking up were 50:50. He knew that. It was an unbelievably horrible moment.

He reluctantly agreed, and within a minute he was fully connected to the ventilator.

“The doctor next to me said, ‘I don’t think we’ll see him again.'”

Another registrar called the patient’s wife to tell her that she had been intubated and told the then minister: ‘We are doing this, we all know it is our duty, we are dealing with a second wave, but we cannot have a third.’ ‘

“Then he burst into tears,” says Hancock, adding that the night shift at the Essex hospital, in full PPE, left him “completely exhausted.”

The episode also reveals the background to the discussions taking place at the highest levels of government.

In these, Mr Hancock and chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty used frontline stories to push for tougher measures to stop the virus.

They swooped in on Covid hawks like Rishi Sunak, then the foreign minister, who used the “horror show” of public finance to argue against tighter restrictions.

Matt Hancock 'Put On Full Ppe And Got Stuck'

Matt Hancock 'Put On Full Ppe And Got Stuck'

Matt Hancock ‘put on full PPE and got stuck’

1670260001 689 Matt Hancock Pandemic Diaries Ex Health Secretary Recounts 2021 Basildon Hospital

1670260001 689 Matt Hancock Pandemic Diaries Ex Health Secretary Recounts 2021 Basildon Hospital

The then Health Secretary said he “saw first-hand the immense pressure our NHS is under.”

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Jacky

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