By Dr Nik Kotecha
Having family members who work in the NHS has brought home to me the huge self-sacrifice thousands of healthcare workers are making every day. The same goes for community pharmacies which have remained open to ensure patients are able to receive their medicines throughout the lockdown.
I’ve seen first-hand how hard they work, so it has been reassuring to watch this appreciation filter through to every pocket of society, as shown with the brilliant ‘Clap for our Carers’ campaign.
It’s no secret that what started as a novel virus on the other side of the world has taken every country in the Western world by surprise.
The UK is no different, and as the coronavirus pandemic has spread, it appears to have been testing humanity to its limits.
This has led to scenes of panic buying in the supermarkets and people understandably feeling frightened for themselves and their loved ones.
But out of this traumatic and society-changing situation, communities throughout the UK have shown remarkable strength, especially in their unwavering support for our healthcare heroes.
One example is where different parts of society, including local businesses, religious groups and charitable foundations, have come together to pay for NHS staff in Leicester to receive free dinners.
This has been a huge help to hundreds of NHS staff, as many are working long shifts and do not have the time to visit the supermarkets or prepare food. So far 9,000 food parcels have been collected by NHS workers in the 15 days since the service began.
Elsewhere it has been heartening to see more than 750,000 people volunteer to help the NHS through the coronavirus pandemic.
So what has caused this great surge of respect and appreciation for our healthcare heroes?
Perhaps, it’s the realisation that if our family, friends or even ourselves become seriously ill, they will stop at nothing to give us the care that we need.
Or maybe it’s that we know they are there, like they always are in times of great need, but we just haven’t stopped to reflect on how important they are to our health and wellbeing.
Covid-19’s legacy will profoundly change many aspects of our society, some of which will be challenging, but some will be positive.
Bringing people together at a time of national crisis and celebrating those who are keeping us safe, to name just a couple.
My personal view is that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought home the reality of how precious life is.
It’s also affected the ones that we love, who are elderly or deemed vulnerable to the virus, and in many cases meant that we haven’t been able to spend time with them in close quarters.
Life will inevitably go back to a semblance of normality in the weeks and months ahead, but my hope is that the self-sacrifice and heroic acts of our NHS, social, care and #pharmacyheroes stays with people far longer.
Perhaps as a society we should put more value on those who dedicate their lives to helping others.
This would mean giving them increased resources and improved facilities to help them do their jobs, ensuring they are better rewarded and recognised for their hard work, as well as showing gratitude and appreciation for their dedication to caring for others.
One thing is for sure, society as a whole owes a great debt of gratitude to them, and I would like to thank each and every one of our healthcare heroes for everything they do for us.
Dr Nik Kotecha OBE is Chief Executive of Morningside Pharmaceuticals.