- Dr Lucy Foster, a GP who recently started working for Concierge Medical, the award-winning private medical practice based in the Cotswolds, reflects on the year’s events. Lucy, who lives in rural Warwickshire with her husband, two daughters and Labradors, has been a qualified doctor for 12 years and a GP for six years.
As a doctor who worked in busy inner-city A&E departments and urgent care during the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic, I might well struggle to find a positive slant on events. However, on reflection there are glimmers of positivity and light that shine through the inevitably traumatic experience.
The hospitals changed overnight. Age-old hierarchies and divisions between specialties were obliterated, seniors worked together with juniors and were more visible and accessible. It felt like we were one team working together to fight the common enemy of the virus.
I believe these strengthened and renewed professional relationships will have a long-term positive effect on communication among professionals and thus patient care. Grateful, the public suddenly had a new-found respect for key workers, the public servants who continued to work with dedication and courage.
Anecdotally, people reported building relationships with their neighbours and local communities. This was certainly the case in my village, where we set up a support group dropping off groceries and prescriptions for people who needed them. Villagers also made considerable donations of food for the staff in local hospitals to keep up morale.
University College London has been conducting a panel study of more than 70,000 respondents focusing on the psychological and social experiences of adults living in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic. The results back up the anecdotal changes we’re seeing in how we look out for each other and ourselves.
The key findings highlighted by the report included a desire from many people to support local businesses, spend more time with family, holiday in the UK and prioritise their mental health.
The factor that people reported they were most likely to change was increasing their support for local businesses (40 per cent). People across all ages also reported wanting to spend more time with family outside of their homes (26 per cent) and one in four said they wanted to holiday more in the UK.
Many people also expressed a wish to look after their mental health better, with this being most apparent among younger adults (one in three). One in five also expressed a desire to talk more with neighbours.
Also, 17 per cent of young people aged 18 to 29 want to volunteer more, which is heartening to see.
This interesting study highlights what many of us may have experienced in the last six months that, even in times of great darkness and adversity, the power of human spirit, perseverance and kindness endures.