Wednesday, 4 November 2009
The politics of swine flu
It's becoming clear that much of what is happening in the Ukraine is down to the politics of swine flu. Politics is also rearing its head in Northern Ireland with discussion of when details of swine flu deaths should be released. The Belfast News Letter is sharing my frustration at getting details confirmed (and so alerting the public) Health Minister Michael McGimpsey says he is just following the UK practice of weekly briefings but I'm not sure that's right. Scotland appears to confirm details as soon as they are known. I say "details" but of course it's usually along the lines of "someone, somewhere in Scotland has died from swine flu. We can't tell you whether it's a man, woman, how old they were or anything useful but 'they did have significant health problems'. And we're not telling you what those significant problems were". You get the picture. Glasnost it ain't. It's no good health authorities not telling the public when full-of-health Mr Smith who lives two doors away and was a teacher in your local school has died of swine flu and then expecting the public to have credibility in those same authorities when they urge people to get vaccinated.
My death list remains up-to-date as possible but I fear that the rate of deaths is now too high to keep the list going for much longer.