Commenting on the anniversary of one year since the country went into a full lockdown Dr Tom Black, BMA Northern Ireland council chair said, “I think we are all probably amazed that one year later we are still battling Covid-19. It has certainly been a year of ups and downs with many families facing illness and the loss of a loved one from a disease that we only learnt about just over a year ago.
“Doctors have been firmly on the frontline of Covid-19 either in direct patient care in ICUs, or in maintaining other services in hospitals as best as they could. Some have been central to research to better understand Covid-19 and some have helped develop a vaccine and roll that out as quickly as possible. Our GP surgeries quickly pivoted to provide online consultations as well as covid assessment centres. That meant we could continue to see patients in surgery when necessary without the risk of coming into contact with Covid-19.
“Doctors did all of this because they saw the huge crisis that was unfolding and they wanted to do their part in tackling it. Many are now exhausted and there is no doubt that many doctors need time now to rest both physically and emotionally and to come to terms with what they have been through. I am proud to see how much the profession worked together, old silos and barriers quickly came down and we saw a lot of innovation and flexibility. We have also seen that in the long term our health service needs more; more resources and more staff so we can expand, address the backlog and be ready for the huge surge in need we are now facing.
“This year has taken a toll on everyone as we have adapted and changed our whole way of living and working. We are in a much better place than we were this time last year as we now know much more about Covid-19 and how to treat it, and the vaccination programme is a real beacon of hope for everyone. I would urge everyone to take a moment today to reflect on how far we have come over the past year, remember all those we have lost and to come together in the hope for a better year ahead.”