JULIE ELLIOTT: The best way to thank our NHS workers now is by staying in

As many of us adjust to working from home, to only going out of the house once a day for essentials, or to not seeing our families and friends for a short while, there are many thousands of people around the country who are working 24/7 to keep us healthy and safe.

Friday, 27th March 2020, 12:00 am

I do not think that we can thank enough our NHS workers who are putting their own health on the line to save others, providing calmness, care and knowledge at a time of such crisis.

From those on the frontline caring for those in need, to those conducting the research, to our carers that are taking care of the elderly and the vulnerable. We are indebted to those that are putting themselves on the frontline for others.

The best way we can thank our NHS workers now is by staying in and ensuring that the virus does not spread. By abiding by the social distancing rules and by staying in, we stop the virus spreading, we protect the health and the lives of our friends and loved ones, and we make sure that our NHS workers can carry on doing the job they are doing without us adding to their workload.

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The NHS has also opened up a way of volunteering, whether that is helping vulnerable people with food or medicine, taking people to hospital or a simple phone call to those in homes on their own; there are many ways we can help safely, and I do hope everyone is able to play their part, even if that means just saying inside and abiding by social distancing rules.

We must also take time out to thank those who work in pharmacies, in supermarkets, delivery drivers and refuse collectors to name a few, who are all working hard under pressure to keep our country going.

And whilst the government has brought forward many measures to support people in work, there is still a distinct lack of support for the self-employed.

For workers in the gig economy, for sole traders, taxi drivers and for those in the cultural sector, there is little in place from the government to help them.

In the last week, I along with many other colleagues, have been putting pressure on the government to support self-employed people, and whilst we expect an announcement fairly soon on the support that is going to be put in place, we will be considering it in detail to ensure that it provides sustainable and sufficient.

We have also seen many businesses in the local area are still expecting their employees to go into work, despite the work not being essential; this is detrimental to the public effort to combat the virus, and I would encourage all businesses to send their workers home if they are non-essential, to stop the spread of this virus, and to use the government’s support schemes that are available.