The last 20 months have been incredibly heavy on all of us.
The true physical, mental and emotional effect of COVID-19 on our members; doctors and medical students, is very clear to us – you’ve told us exactly what you’ve faced in your BMA monthly tracker surveys. These experiences will stay with all of us throughout our careers and lives.
It has also been a pivotal moment for all of us and we should all be very proud about how our profession adapted, not just for patients but also for each other. How we’ve supported each other in our efforts to face every hurdle this global pandemic has bought us.
As a profession, we have shown just how powerful we can be when advocating for our patients and each other – we rapidly re-shaped how we worked, from surge rosters to emergency cover, from cancelling annual leave to breaking down silos and working as one team. We’ve tried our best. We’ve made it work. And we have supported each other throughout it all.
Crucially, during these difficult times, we have shown how dedicated we are in living up to that message – your NHS is always there for you. Across communities and hospitals, we’ve built bridges and continued to deliver healthcare all the while protecting ourselves, each other and our patients from COVID-19. From masking up, to tackling COVID-19 head on, to vaccinating and protecting.
COVID-19 was a stark reminder of our commonalities with our patients. We also caught it and we also got unwell with it. Many, while working on the front line. And we will never forget those colleagues and those friends – from our NHS family – who lost their lives in our fight against COVID-19.
Our COVID-19 memorial, which is being installed in the courtyard at BMA House, will give us the space to reflect and remember those who lost their lives. A stark reminder of the real human cost of this pandemic.
Latifa Patel is interim chair of the BMA representative body