We will get through this together
By Dr Niruban Ratnarajah
Twelve months ago, I would never have predicted that we’d still be battling Covid-19 – and seeing the highest ever daily infection rates.
It’s been an incredibly tough 2021, and we can only hope that the New Year will bring new optimism and recovery.
It’s not going to be easy. Yes, we’re in a better place than we were a year ago, thanks to vaccines which have saved countless lives. But this is the biggest vaccination programme in our nation’s history. And while we want everyone to be jabbed, the Government’s mission to offer every adult a booster jab by 31 December is putting immense strain on our health services.
To meet this target, the NHS has been told to prioritise booster jabs at the expense of ‘regular’ or ‘routine’ services. We completely understand the frustration this causes patients, especially those who have suffered months of delay waiting for treatment or appointments.
To you, I say this: don’t get angry with us. Please be kind and supportive to our staff – we would rather be seeing patients too. But, as Professor Chris Whitty said, we can’t get our health services back to any sort of normality until we conquer this pandemic.
I promise you that practices are doing as much as we can to tackle non-Covid problems. We still want you to contact the surgery for urgent problems, and we still need you to contact us if you think you have symptoms of cancer. We will also be supporting many patients who have been discharged from hospital much earlier than they would have been in the past.
We are working very hard with our hospital colleagues, social care and our community teams to manage as many problems as possible within your own home so that hospitals are kept free for the sickest patients and those who need urgent surgery.
We’re all fed up with coronavirus, aren’t we? But we will find the energy to keep going, because we know you need us to. Bear with us, be kind, support us and, although I don’t know when, we will get through this together.
Can I wish you all a happy Christmas and New Year, and urge you to do two things over the festive season: go and get your booster jab, and keep an eye out for your neighbours. Not everyone feels festive at this time of year, and mental health and wellbeing support is there to help.