For my latest update I want to speak directly to the people of Scotland, not just doctors and medical students.
This is the most testing time for the NHS since it was created in 1948. I hope it’s the only time in my career we will see a challenge like this. Despite the pressures, uncertainties and worries, colleagues everywhere go to work in healthcare each day ready to do all they can to provide patients with the treatment, respect, and dignity that they deserve.
Doctors are people as well as doctors, and I and my colleagues have been overwhelmingly heartened by and grateful to the countless individuals and businesses across the country who have stepped up to support NHS staff.
Opening stores early to allow healthcare staff to get essentials before going to work or after finishing a night shift might seem like a small thing but it makes a real impact.
I have heard from our members across the country how the food deliveries organised by our Membership Engagement Team and support by volunteers from supermarkets have kept them going, and how taxi drivers have waived fares to ensure that NHS workers can get to their place of work. We have seen socks dropped off for surgeons, pizzas sent to doctor’s messes, free tea and coffee, and tens of thousands of people have signed up to volunteer to support the NHS through the Ready Scotland scheme. Countless acts of kindness and selflessness.
Your help and support make the jobs we must do that bit more doable and it is massively appreciated. We have all been moved by the nationwide applause. It means a huge amount.
But in general I would reiterate that the most important thing you can do for yourself, your families, your community and the NHS right now is to continue to stay at home.
As we go into the peak of this pandemic, NHS staff will be there, every day, doing the job, knowing you are with us.
The NHS is having to work in a very different way to that you are used to, and we thank you for your understanding and patience, which we will need for some time to come.
This is truly a team effort, and it’s only right to also applaud and offer our thanks to all the other key workers keeping things running: in the supermarkets, education, transport, utility companies and countless others. Making the decisions and communicating them effectively the civil servants the politicians and the media must not be forgotten either. Putting aside differences and working together is how we are going to get through this.
So, I would repeat my huge thanks to the people of Scotland. Stay home. Follow the guidance. We know you are there for us as much as we are there for you.
Dr Lewis Morrison is Chair of BMA Scotland
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