Heroes Battle to Stop the Virus
It took a global pandemic – but finally we’re seeing who are the real heroes in society. Not the celebrities. Not the billionaires. Not the bankers. But healthcare workers. Everyday doctors, nurses and health professionals, who work tirelessly to heal the sick and injured.
They are on the frontline of this crisis – and it is a crisis. NHS workers have described chaotic scenes in hospitals up and down the country; scenes that sound more like warzones, with intensive care units overwhelmed, deaths on an unseen scale, and doctors and nurses collapsing in exhaustion at the end of their shifts.
Yet every day, they get up and do it all again.
The issue now is that we don’t just recognise these people as heroes, but treat them as such. In the immediate term, that means we cannot – must not – send them to fight this virus without the right equipment. The ongoing lack of PPE – where hospital workers have had to beg the government for more equipment because they are wearing bin bag liners to protect them – is scandalous. Just this week, one of the doctors who raised the alarm on this issue died from the virus. This must be a wake up call to give our heroes what they need to protect all of us from this crisis.
But more long term, we need to think about how healthcare has been starved of government funding for so long. According to the British Medical Association, the NHS is overstretched and underfunded, putting health services under unsustainable pressure. Compared to our counterparts in the EU, there is a huge funding gap. The government must now close that gap. The NHS must have the resources necessary to achieve its goal: ‘Health and high quality care for all, now and for future generations.’ We deserve nothing less. Nor do the heroes working towards that dream.
Lastly however, we need to recognise that heroes need help too. Last week, Dr. Rebecca Lawrence, a consultant psychiatrist in addiction in Edinburgh, Scotland, wrote on Twitter: “I wish I wasn’t a doctor. I wish I wasn’t terrified at what I may be asked to do. I wish I could self isolate”. Who can blame her?! Healthcare workers need more than just appreciation right now. They need emotional and psychological support. This crisis might seem mundane to those locked down trying to find something else to watch on Netflix, but for those in the NHS it is anything but…
When this is over, doctors, nurses and healthcare workers will need more than a parade to recognise their efforts. They will need society to rethink what is most important in life. After all, it wasn’t the celebrities that saved them.
If you are a healthcare professional reading this article we would encourage you to share your thoughts on how else could the people and governments help you more in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. Let us know in the comment section.