The vast majority of doctors are worried the NHS is poorly equipped to cope with a major outbreak of the flu-like coronavirus, research suggests.
Just 0.5 per cent of medical professionals agreed that the health service will be able to deal with a large volume of coronavirus patients, with 99.5 feeling it is underprepared.
As reported by The Guardian, a survey collecting the opinions of doctors asked them: 'Do you feel the NHS is well prepared for coronavirus?'
Of the 1,618 polled, just eight agreed that the NHS is 'well prepared'.
The research, from the Doctors' Association UK, was self-selecting rather using a representative sample of Britain's medical workforce.
It followed assurances from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the NHS is well equipped to see the UK through a pandemic.
Speaking after an emergency COBRA meeting, he said, according to The Sun: "It's a problem that is likely to become more significant for this country in the next days and weeks. We have been making every possible preparation for that.
"We have agreed a plan so that as and when, if it starts to spread, as it looks likely it will, we are in a position to take the steps that will be necessary to contain the spread of the disease."
Many doctors fear that our health system simply won't cope.
Commenting on the survey's findings, Dr Rinesh Parmar, chair of the Doctors’ Association UK, said: "Yesterday Mr Johnson said he was 'very, very confident' the NHS would be able to deal with an outbreak of Covid-19. Our survey shows that frontline doctors don't agree.
"The truth is the NHS has already been brought to its knees and many doctors fear that our health system simply won't cope in the event of influx of coronavirus patients.
"With nearly 10,000 doctor vacancies and 43,000 nurse vacancies [in the NHS in England] the NHS is already understaffed to deal with demand. A&E waiting times are the worst on record. Intensive care units are at capacity and are even struggling to admit patients who are critically unwell or awaiting cancer surgery."
It comes amid reports the UK could see entire cities put into lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking on the BBC's Andre Marr programme on Sunday (March 1 2020), the Secretary of State Matt Hancock refused to rule out such measures and insisted: "You have to make sure you have all the tools available."
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