Responding to the MP Richard Bacon's suggestion that it was likely that NHS staff had also been "letting their hair down" during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr David Wrigley, deputy chair of BMA council, said:
“Doctors and their colleagues will be outraged to hear their names being used to defend the rule-breaking behaviour of the Prime Minister and senior officials in Downing Street.
“Drawing such a comparison will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of NHS staff who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic, often unprotected and at great expense to their wellbeing, to care for patients in the most gruelling of circumstances.
“While the Prime Minister’s aides were ‘letting their hair down’ and messaging that they had ‘got away with it’, doctors and healthcare workers were giving their all – and for some, their lives – to care for their patients, working hour after hour, and day after day, with little or no respite. Many were living away from their own families in order to protect their vulnerable relatives, all so that they could continue to care for their patients. We know that colleagues were holding smart phones and tablets in front of dying patients so that their families, who were not allowed to visit, could say good-bye and this has had a profound and ongoing impact on NHS staff and their mental health.
“It is therefore a gross insult to doctors and healthcare staff to compare the flagrant rule-breaking in Downing Street with the diligence, compassion and professionalism of healthcare workers.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.