Another huge thank you

For my latest update I want to speak again to the people of Scotland.

In Scotland the number of lives lost to Covid-19, the long term effects for many of those who have survived serious illness, and the impact on so many families during the pandemic is on a scale that even in a small nation is quite hard to get your head around. The NHS in Scotland has been described as the frontline, and that is absolutely right.

The NHS been pushed to near its limits in many places, but we have endured – that is down to the colossal efforts of so many NHS staff across the board but you have played a crucial part in getting us to this point pretty much one piece.

The key figures on the spread of the virus are showing signs of improvement and that is down to you. You have stuck to your side of the bargain. You have stayed at home, limited shopping to essential items and you’ve limited any outdoors exercise outdoors to once a day (and well done if you have, our health is not just about Covid!).

For doing that, doctors thank you.

But the fragility of our current position is why I must ask you to continue to follow the advice of the Scottish Government: stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives.

I know this has been hard, and NHS staff do of course share the same burden of those restrictions. That means we understand how difficult it continues to be to distance ourselves from so many of the people and things we love. But it is what has kept so many people safe and well so far.

Each of the Governments of the UK will make their own decisions, and Covid-19 and the pandemic involve so many unknowns that history alone will judge who got it most right. Being guided by the science is starting to sound like soundbite and a mantra, but whilst our Covid infection rates remain so significant, a safety-first approach is I believe the right one for Scotland at this stage. But every week gives an opportunity to review that of course.

We don’t know what the final toll for this pandemic will be. Too many families have lost loved ones and too many workplaces will be missing colleagues when they reopen. But without your support I know it would be so much worse.

You have saved lives with your actions. Much like those working in Scotland’s NHS have done. In different, but no less important, ways.

I said in a blog over a month ago that this is truly a team effort and I will reiterate that. Keeping Scotland running through this difficult time involves a huge range of key workers.

There’s a long way to go but we are learning that we can do this as long as we follow the best advice out there. That advice includes accessing healthcare if you are unwell or concerned for any reason.

The NHS remains open for non Covid care and people must not risk their health delaying seeking its help. We are working hard to ensure services that have been paused during the pandemic can restart when it’s safe for both patients and staff. But care for those with urgent or serious conditions continues.

Finally, connected to that, I will thank you for your patience with everything that’s had to change in the last 2 months, and recognise that as Covid recedes we will need time to recover, recharge the batteries before slowly getting back to some sort of normal. That will take time.

Dr Lewis Morrison is Chair of BMA Scotland

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