Our Governments Are Squandering Our Most Precious Resource

My Government is failing to keep UK health workers safe during the pandemic and now they’re accusing them of being part of the problem.

Alex Kilcannon
5 min readApr 11, 2020


I didn’t intend my first non-fiction Medium post to be political, or even about the coronavirus, but I can no longer hold in the anger I feel towards my Government.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for the United Kingdom, has released a video statement this morning and I am incandescent with rage.

Matt Hancock has never been viewed as the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. Now, however, he has implied that health care workers should be more prudent in their use of personal protective equipment. It is a scarce resource and should not be overused, he says.

The Royal College of Nursing immediately dismissed the idea that staff are overusing or abusing PPE. Dame Donna Kinnair, the RCN’s general secretary, appeared on Radio 4’s Today Programme and later on BBC’s Breakfast.

She was hearing every day from nurses that they did not have enough PPE and said that no PPE was ‘more precious a resource than a health care worker’s life, a nurse’s life, a doctor’s life’.

She is right.

They are our most precious resource and they are people and not just statistics. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbours. We must do more to protect them than just staying home or clapping for them on a Thursday night.

Referring to the deaths of 19 health care workers from Covid-19, Hancock says that ‘we aren’t aware of any link from shortages of PPE to these deaths’.

Correlation is not causation, eh Matt?

Front line workers are being exposed to a virus that we know is spread through close contact and on drops in saliva. They are being exposed to the virus on a daily basis. They are exposed to far higher levels of that virus than the general population. They are not only in close contact with confirmed patients, they are also exposed to the most obvious routes of infection — swabbing throats and nostrils, dealing with blood, vomit and faeces, comforting distraught, sick people, comforting…



Alex Kilcannon

Writer, poet, outdoors instructor and Mother of Teenagers. I rewild kids for a living.