I heard this morning how a senior scientist in a large hospital said that the coronavirus crisis has shown the importance of everyone, whatever their role in the NHS.
‘It’s a big machine where every one matters,’ he said, ‘the work that doctors and nurses do is vital and most visible, but they wouldn’t be able to do it without everyone else taking their part in the big machine.’
This was highlighted with the news yesterday that two porters and a nurse were among those who had died in Oxford NHS; in Cardiff, healthcare worker Donna Campbell, and Kevin Smith, plaster technician, in Doncaster. The porters from John Radcliffe Hospital, Oscar King Jr and Elbert Rico, were described as popular and hard-working and were part of Oxford’s Filipino community; Donna Smith was mourned by heart-broken colleagues as a ‘beautiful, kind-hearted friend,’ and Kevin Smith, said the Chief Executive at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, was a ‘well-respected and hugely popular member of our team.’
We don’t want anyone to die of Covid-19, and we’re praying daily (and frequently) for doctors and nurses – and for family caregivers and residential home carers. Perhaps we need to widen our prayers to include more ‘hidden heroes’ like these.
Boris Johnson has described our NHS as ‘the beating heart of the country’. When this crisis is over, I’m praying that we will have a greater appreciation of everyone who keeps this heart beating – : the cleaners, porters, office workers, those in the laboratories, ambulance drivers, maintenance men and plasterers, everyone – is acknowledged and honoured.
Also not forgetting the carers, cooks and maintenance men in residential homes, who are on the frontline as much as anybody, and the 6 million family caregivers, unseen and unheard.
After the months of heartache and sacrifice, it would be good to have this legacy of honour. When we give our grateful NHS clap on Thursday, let’s remember these, too.