As 2020 comes to a close, I’m sure that each and every one us will have faced significant challenges this year. Whether you’ve spent it separated from your loved ones, struggled with loneliness, seen a reduction in income, been unwell with COVID-19 or sadly lost a loved one to the virus, it’s clear we’ve lived through a year we could not have previously imagined.
Yet, throughout it all you’ve had faith in us - your NHS - sending us messages of support and thanks, painting sidewalks with rainbows of hope, and overwhelming us with your generous donations. You’ve continually given us your compassion in these difficult times and been understanding of the hard job we’re doing. And you’ve shown us your appreciation every time you stood on the streets to clap for us, and we want you to know that we heard you – and really appreciated it.
But most importantly, you followed the rules.
By washing your hands, you saved a life. By wearing a mask, you saved a life. And by keeping your distance, you saved a life.
And now, although we will start a new year filled with the hope brought by our COVID-19 vaccination programme, it remains vitally important that you keep up these efforts.
Alongside our usual winter pressures in the NHS, the last few weeks have seen record numbers of people being admitted to our hospitals with COVID-19, many requiring intensive treatments and resources that would otherwise be used to help our most vulnerable and at risk groups throughout this period.
Each and every one of you can make a difference and help to reduce the spread. You can choose to wash and sanitise your hands regularly, you can choose to wear your mask, and you can choose to keep your distance, staying at home where possible. We’re confident that you’ll continue to make the right choices and, when the time comes, you can step forward to get your vaccination.
We’ve already witnessed how the power of acting as one community, following the rules together and putting the needs of the vulnerable above our own, can help us win the fight against COVID-19. So, as we continue to give our all to rolling out the vaccination programme which we hope will bring about a better 2021, I would like to thank you in return for giving your all to keep you, your family, friends and your communities safe this winter season.