Have we ever owed a bigger debt of thanks to the NHS than we do today?
The last year has been the greatest challenge it has faced since it was created by Labour in 1948. Not only have NHS staff worked heroically to save lives, but the NHS is rightfully being lauded for the success of its vaccinations programme.
Thank you to every nurse, doctor, and community volunteer who is playing their part – and to the many local authority workers who are also contributing.
From Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s network of community leaders working to increase vaccine uptake among minority ethnic communities, to Kirklees Council’s brilliant offer of free transport to get vulnerable patients to vaccination clinics, local government has also played a strong role.
“The success of the vaccination programme lies in the way local partnerships have finally been given the chance to work together”
In fact, the success of the vaccination programme lies in the way local partnerships have finally been given the chance to work together and to lead: they understand and can communicate with their communities better than Whitehall could.
If only this model had been used for the delivery of Test and Trace, or the earlier shielding effort.
But there is still a long way to go and as we near a million people fully vaccinated, we must remain vigilant, follow social distancing rules and, most importantly, take the vaccine when offered it.
We all have a role to play in protecting our communities and returning to normality – there is a light at the end of the tunnel but we’re not there yet.