27th May 2020
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Coronavirus deaths are ‘certain’, NHS Shetland chief says

NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson has said that deaths linked to the coronavirus pandemic are now “certain”.

His comments came on a day in which a second patient was airlifted by the RAF from Sumburgh Airport to Aberdeen.

The patient had displayed “possible Covid symptoms and other health concerns”, according to RAF spokesman Martin Tinworth.

Mr Dickson said that it was “understandable” in a small island community that people would speculate about any potential deaths that did occur in the isles, but if any deaths were “Covid-19 related” he said NHS Shetland would not be commenting due to confidentiality reasons.

Michael Dickson

“Families that lose loved ones have a right to grieve and be supported to come to terms with their loss in private.

“It is certain that there will be deaths that are due in part to Covid-19 and it is likely it will be the most vulnerable in our community who are disproportionately affected.

“For this reason, it is so important that we follow the government advice and isolate ourselves avoiding close contact with everyone outside our immediate families.”

Mr Dickson said that only by following government guidance could locals stop the “devastating consequences” of Covid-19.

An RAF A400 Atlas was pictured arriving into Sumburgh Airport early on Monday morning from RAF Brize Norton in England.

This is the second time the RAF has transported a patient with coronavirus symptoms from Sumburgh to Aberdeen.

NHS Shetland could not provide a comment regarding today’s airlift due to patient confidentiality.

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25 comments

  1. Ian Tinkler

    ” deaths linked to the coronavirus pandemic are now “certain”..” Just how will that statement make relatives of those that are ill at this time feel!
    There is enough fear around without such a wholly pointless statement. We are all going to meet this virus, one day we will all die. Fear-mongering from the top is not needed, we have enough frightened people around already. What a lift to morale this man is!!!

    • peter smith

      All a matter of opinion, and everyone’s life experiences are different I suppose.

      I would have thought by now anyone who has a relative or loved one suffering from Covid 19 is well aware of the worst possible outcome, after all, Mr Dickson is simply putting on a local context to what has been said numerous times previously in all forms of media.

      What I found throughout my working life was that while morale would drop when people where faced with an uncomfortable truth it would drop further when it was discovered that people had been lied to.

  2. Ian Tinkler

    Further to my above, people are crying out for decent advice and real leadership. Cdr Tullock certainly spoke some sense, however Shetland Medical leaders telling us not to treat the Lockdown as a holiday!! Just how patronising can you get, do they really hold Shetland folk is such contempt? How about rejoicing in those recovered, praising the selfless helpers. Doom and Gloom is the last thing we need, there is enough raw paranoia around already.

  3. Peter Hamilton

    Thank heavens we have Ian Tinkler to guide and inspire us.

    • ian Tinkler

      Come on Peter, who exactly is treating this as a holiday. Anonymous folk calling themselves Shetland Medical leaders, is that their best advise?
      Some holiday, folk frightened, folk ill, folk locked down. Surely medical leaders should advise us to try and exercise, give up the fags, lose some weight. That might sound a bit preachy but it will boost the immune system may just save a life or two. I do take your point it should not be up to me to state the obvious but someone has to.

      • Jane Leask - Clousta

        Please don’t travel to do you exercise at this time. Mr Tinkler will alway feel he knows better than everyone else but please just use common sense in this matter.

    • john ridland

      Peter Hamilton , Far far ahead o any thing du pits up ,

  4. Helen Braynis

    Statement needs clarifying – is NHS Shetland claiming it will not release death figures? Why can’t it confirm if a military transfer is covid19 related? As long as patients are not named, how is it breaching patient confidentiality? When will NHS Shetland explain why the rate is so high here compared to other island communities? Following government guidelines (as opposed to WHO) is probably how the country got into this mess. The PM is in ICU and half the cabinet is either in or has been in self isolation. Stop blaming people and start showing leadership.

    • Malcolm Henry Johnson

      News articles that appear in the local press are really nothing of the sort. They are just re-publications of free handouts from the government, council, NHS, court, police, voluntary organisation or political party offices. If you don’t believe me, just look at the articles published by The Shetland Times and Shetland News and you will see that the wording is often identical. You won’t get the sort of information you are looking for about Covid-19 or any other subject until local journalists learn to ask questions.

  5. Haydn Gear

    Peter. Many a true word is spoken in jest ( or sarcasm). Ref. The Cook’s Tale. Geoffrey Chaucer , 1390.

    • Peter Hamilton

      Pay your money and make your choice. So far sage Ian has contradicted public guidelines, has alarmed his neighbours leading to a waste of police time, has undermined the SIC and has had a go at Shetland NHS’s key public health official, who, by the way, like it or not, has little choice but to tow the government line.

      Excuse my German but I can’t help but wonder what Ian will tinkle on next.

      Will he perhaps give some thought to the unapologetic handshaking super-spreader Boris Johnson and his chums who caused deadly delay because they mistook the British public for a herd? Zoiks, I’ve got a rum idea. Let’s catch it quick chaps whilst the NHS can still cope.

      • Ian Tinkler

        Peter, the facts.
        1/Public Guidance, “The College of Policing has now told officers in official Guidance: “Use your judgement and common sense. For example, people will want to exercise locally and may need to travel to do so. We don’t want the public sanctioned for travelling a reasonable distance to exercise.” 1 April 2020
        2/That one neighbour lives a mile away by road. She is blocked from my FB for cyberstalking and years ago removed from my patient list by the Health Board. I believe the legal terms for her actions “Vexatios and Vindictive”, they have gone on for years.
        3/With regard to police time wasted, that same neighbour reported me to the police, they spent minutes on the phone and no action of ant type, not even advisory.
        4/NHS Officials are free to act as they belief correct in patient interests. We are not a Socialist Republic.
        I will ignore your malign and nasty comments regarding BoJo. It is just so good. It looks as if a lethal outcome will not be.

      • John Thomas

        Peter, I do believe that in times like these we should not criticise our leaders. Whatever mistakes they made, they were right to do so. Criticism of their political choices at this stage is just playing politics. A friend told me that maybe if they had locked down earlier, thousands of lives would have been saved. Personally, I’m not getting involved in this sort of gutter politics, but I have clapped for the NHS. Clap for the heroes until your hands are red raw. Just keep clapping until this thing goes away. Keep up the great work NHS and Bojo!

  6. David Lord

    Having visited the Shetland Isles for two weeks last year and been impressed with the warm welcome we received, my wife and I would like to wish everybody the very best and stay safe.
    Barbara & David Lord. Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire

  7. Kerrie Meyer

    I have to condemn Ian Tinkler’s replies above. He still seems to be denying the COVID-19 pandemic is serious. He must acknowledge people ARE dying and will continue to die. To my letter on March 9th at the outset of COVID-19 cases on Shetland he replied to me thus. “Quit your scaremongering. As people incubating this virus show no detectable symptoms at all just how would you check passengers entering Shetland? No doubt you have not a clue how to diagnose the asymptomatic carrier! Perhaps your best bet……stop your ignorant and alarmist nonsense.”

    With currently 42 cases on Shetland, which is no doubt the tip of a much larger iceberg and is the largest number of COVID-19 cases per capita anywhere in the UK, some people are scared – very scared, especially those who are vulnerable. I recommend Tinkler not only isolates himself physically but also verbally to prevent him of diluting the magnitude of this unprecedented episode in human history where families will continue to lose a loved one or a friend to this terrible disease.

    • Ian Tinkler

      Kerrie and I had a genuine misunderstanding. We communicated online and are now FB friends. In better times I hope she visits Flawton Croft.

      • John Thomas

        On a similar note, Ian and I are now firm “Shetland Times” buddies. We have our disagreements but of course are firm “online” friends. I would dearly love to visit the Tinkler Croft. May I please?

  8. Ian Tinkler

    I am sorry, Peter, I failed to address your comment, “I have undermined the SIC.” That I have not done, it would be hard to criticise the SIC, apart from to say they are utterly silent. Not an intelligent comment from a single Councilor. We would get more knowledgeable advice from a Bonxie!
    Steven Couts is manganous with., “We are aware that a number of people in Shetland have already received their letter, and more are on the way.” That is leadership for you! (Sorry for the sarcasm)

  9. Peter Hamilton

    Chance would have it Ian Tinkler is an anagram of I like rantn.

  10. James Mackenzie

    In reply to Peter Hamilton’s comment on 7th April (“Thank heavens we have Ian Tinkler to guide and inspire us,”) Ian Tinkler posted: “I do take your point it should not be up to me to state the obvious but someone has to.” The obvious being that – unlike himself – our medical leaders are fear-mongering and patronising, and that instead they should be encouraging us to exercise, give up smoking and lose weight.

    Some of his other statements of the obvious have been (on a related thread): that Covid-19 was “not a very lethal virus” but that it could kill the the “plain indolent”, and that the time was maybe right “to lose weight and get fit. There is a really good chance you could save your own life, failing that dig a big hole and jump in.” Furthermore: “Lockdowns and unnecessary actions will just spread fear and hardship.”

    That such statements could be regarded themselves as patronising, not to mention contemptuous and ill-informed, does not seem to have entered Ian’s head. God forbid that anyone should think that they are “unnecessary actions.”

  11. Malcolm Henry Johnson

    Tragically, from a workforce of around 80,000 doctors and nurses working in London, 19 of them have now died as a result of contact with the coronavirus at work. Today, the number of bus drivers in London who have died for the same reason also reached 19, out of a workforce of less than 25,000.

    While our doctors and nurses continue to work heroically and put their own lives at risk due to inadequate supplies of PPE, bus drivers, who earn about one fifth of a hospital doctor’s salary, are still working with none at all, largely because NHS England and NHS Scotland failed to give their respective governments appropriate advice on the subject.

    As the figures from London suggest that bus drivers are dying at a rate over THREE TIMES higher than front-line NHS staff, can I please ask a representative of NHS Shetland to tell us what SPECIFIC advice they are giving the SIC on the subject of PPE for front line public transport staff? If the answer is “none,” can I respectfully ask a representative of the SIC to tell us which organisation, SPECIFICALLY, they are taking advice from on this subject?

    (Personal interest declared.)

  12. Ian Tinkler

    James Mackenzie, please do not put words in my mouth, misquote and quote me out of context. Very sadly, my previous comment about the limits of NHS resources forcing targeting the fittest and most likely to recover is being proven right (27/11/2019, Shetland Times). Personnel fitness and self-care have proved sadly correct, a significant factor in Covid 19 survival. It is a great regret the NHS leadership on Shetland has never championed that.
    Wartime type triage that of only treating those with the best survival chance has already happened in Italy, and we in the UK may have to follow soon. It is immensely tragic my previous comments about self-care; personnel exercise, smoking, obesity and alcoholism have proved so prophetic.

  13. Ian Tinkler

    Further to the above, we may have months, maybe years, before suitable antiviral drugs and a vaccine become available to fight Corvid 19. In the words of our great Leaders; “Do not treat the Lockdown as a holiday”.
    Enhance your immunity, lose weight, stop smoking and get fit, exercise your buttes off—that way when you meet this virus, which you will one day. You will have an immensely higher chance of survival.

  14. Peter Hamilton

    Ian is typically unapologetic in replying to James’s Tinkler quotes selectively. James notes that Ian’s statements could be regarded as “patronising… contemptuous and ill-informed”. They can also be regarded as dangerous, callous and designed to cause individual distress.

    Unlike James though, who kindly supposed “it does not seem to have entered Ian’s head” this could be the case, I believe Ian knows full well what he is up to in repeatedly persisting with his unique anti-social, victim-blaming, Social Darwinist approach. That he continues unabashed is concerningly beyond being simply narcissistic. How could such behaviour profit any but the most egotistical prophet?

    There are legitimate points to be made during this dreadful time, but Ian can be relied on to make any he may have in such a way as to distract attention away from deadly nonchalance that tellingly characterised the initial approach of Boris Johnson and his Bullingdon club chums.

    “Lockdowns are unnecessary actions that will just spread fear and hardship” are they indeed? People who, for no fault of their own, struggle with addiction or obesity, should either pull themselves together or “dig a big hole and jump in” should they?

    Are these “normal standards of decency and tolerance”?

  15. James Mackenzie

    Does Ian Tinkler not realise that he is assuming his readers are made up of the indolent, the obese, smokers, and – latterly – alcohol abusers, and that it is only they that are vulnerable to Covid-19, which he insists we – or they – shall all encounter at some time or other?

    What about those “people aged over 60 years and those with underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer”, whom the World Health Organisation identified as vulnerable? What about the “front-line” workers who have succumbed to the disease, or are at great risk because of the lamentable lack of PPE? What about the bereaved? Does Ian not spare a thought for them, or should they just dig a hole and jump in?

    We all know the need for exercise etc. in order to keep fit. But I’m afraid I find his lack of empathy for those who are in no position to take his advice to be distressing.