RCSEd President Michael Griffin OBE reflects on one year since the UK entered lockdown

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23 Mar 2021

RCSEd President, Michael Griffin OBE, reflects on the past year since the UK entered its first national lockdown, he says:

A year since the UK government announced the first national lockdown, I would like to again personally thank our members, fellows and all healthcare workers for their extraordinary hard work and dedication during this most difficult of times.

Today is a national day of reflection, where we remember not only the 126,000 people who have died as a result of Covid-19 but also their friends, families and dependents. We also remember the NHS staff who lost their lives, selflessly paying the ultimate price for serving their patients. I offer my sincerest condolences.

The collective effort to deal with the pandemic has been remarkable. In the main, people have stoically accepted the disruption to their normal lives and pulled together to support the efforts to combat this disease. NHS staff ensured that the best possible care has been delivered at every stage of the pandemic, yet despite their sustained heroism they remain demoralised and underpaid. Many are mentally and physically exhausted and in desperate need of a break, so managing this must be an urgent priority.

A year on there is much cause for cautious optimism. More than half of the UK’s adult population have now received their first vaccine, a reflection of the truly herculean efforts of scientists, medical professionals and volunteers to develop, approve and roll the vaccine out.

But COVID continues to be a global health problem with new strains developing that undoubtedly will have direct and indirect consequences for time to come. Moreover, the pandemic has worsened inequalities in public health with disproportionate impacts on people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.

We therefore need to maintain our vigilance for the foreseeable future and reflect on the very hard lessons of the past year. For this reason- and ,at the right time a public inquiry is launched to ensure that lessons are learnt in an open and transparent manner so that we are better prepared to deal with future similar health crises.


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