Over the past few days, I have received dozens of emails from constituents concerning the conduct of Dominic Cummings, the chief adviser to the Prime Minister. Below are just a few quotes from the emails that have stood out to me, and I believe are important to share with you. Names have been removed to protect the identities of the constituents and respect their privacy.
My elderly mum lives alone. She doesn’t have the internet. She doesn’t have a smart phone. She has health issues and has really struggled with lockdown, so much so that her mental health has suffered. My brother and I have had to deal with a whole series of issues ‘remotely’ since March. In fact one situation was serious enough to necessitate a GP home visit prompted by the pharmacist, and it seems she is now in the early stages of dementia. This happened during lockdown.
Even so we were told that the guidelines still applied, though I felt they had exacerbated my mum’s condition. I stupidly (that’s how it feels now) stuck to them, going round to drop food on the doorstep, stopping only briefly to talk to her from the pavement to ensure she had taken medication.
It didn’t feel right. I wanted to spend time with my mum, to hug her, talk to her face to face, have a cup of tea with her, even just sit in her garden, knowing this would help her … but I did not because I thought I was protecting the wider NHS and saving lives. I thought the guidelines were clear and applied to us all, not just some of us. I thought they were vital to slow down the virus spread.
However it now seems some, crucially those who should have been setting an example, have not been ‘in it‘ with the rest of us. They’ve stretched guidelines to the limits, and simply are not bothered about the wider messaging sent out by this. It now seems for all these weeks I have in fact been an uncaring daughter to my vulnerable mum. That’s what a parade of government ministers have now implied.
My mum is diabetic and had a double mastectomy just as we went into lockdown. Despite feeling dreadful and guilty about not being able to see her or support her, our family stayed put and followed the advice given. Under normal circumstances, we would have taken turns and stayed for a couple of days to support both elderly parents.
I feel very strongly for all those families who lost someone as they died alone and for some buried without family or friends present. His blatant disregard is a slap in the face to all those people.
We are in our 70’s we have had NO contact with our children or grandchildren (except for electronic means). We have only been out for a daily walk with our cat. We kept our cat in because we did not want her fur to be in contact with the virus. Our youngest son lives on the other side of town to us – he has not been to see us.
Our eldest son lives 100 miles away and developed symptoms, so we have not been there and he has not been to see us. He stayed at home and his wife did the shopping locally, with two boys driving them up the wall.
So we have not suffered a monesterial life, it appears without need to, because it would seem the rules can be changed to suit the circumstances and to prevent contravention.
My grandfather has mixed dementia and Alzheimer’s and his wife is registered blind (both with multiple co-morbidities) and they are 83 and 82 years old. Due to the Government’s slow action we decided as a family to lock them down as prior to lockdown they were accessing the community six days a week and were very very happy. This was not a decision we took lightly, despite our early action they both became very unwell, we didn’t realise how unwell as we put the symptoms they had down to being depressed at staying in.
When my grandmother developed a temperature we called an ambulance. The paramedics came as after speaking to 111 we were advised they were both probably Covid-19 positive. The paramedics did not have sufficient PPE no respirator masks just a surgical mask… I cried.
I would like to say how disgusted I am with the Tory government for defending the actions of Dominic Cummings. I have two children and have had to self isolate and I did not and would never go to family for assistance because I followed the rules.
Over the last few months I have followed the instruction that the Prime Minister told us to do: stay at home. In that time I have not been able to see my father, see my friends, go and visit the local pub, and unfortunately seen my family situation deteriorate as me and my partner have now separated. This has made my mental health suffer terribly.
Last nights briefing was a slap in the face of all of us who have adhered to the rules and have lost out due to this.
I am angered as many other millions have been by what appears to be the double standard on display and the sheer hypocrisy. My wife and I have followed the rules and not seen her mum of 96 for many weeks, a friend was the only mourner allowed at her husband’s funeral, my neighbour’s father died alone. We did not follow our instincts, but we followed the guidelines.