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We must value lost lives

February 12, 2021 9:21 AM
By Rachel Dineley ,Diversity Officer, Chesham and Amersham Liberal Democrats

Rachel DineleyThis article was published in Bucks Free Press as Letter of the Week (5th February 2021)

In the last week of January we saw the official record of 100k Covid-related deaths in the U.K. There has been much debate about why the U.K. has the worst record in the world, in terms of ratio of deaths to the population. There has also been debate as to how this appalling tragedy should be marked, including the creation of memorials and establishing a memorial day.

I have found myself wondering what those who have died, and the many thousands more who have cared for them, would wish to happen. In addition to the personal memorials for individual loved ones, it seems to me that, above all, they would all wish to see a new and more effective system for caring for the vulnerable across the country. Our marvellous National Health Service has been stretched far beyond what could reasonably be expected. Social care has finally come under the spotlight, for all the worst reasons, and the inadequacies of provision and funding have been all too apparent.

In addition to a cross-party commitment to creating an integrated health and social care system that will serve everyone in our communities, but which inevitably will take time to put in place, we can make immediate changes to support our most vulnerable. Professional carers should be properly paid for the very valuable services which they provide. The millions of unpaid carers who look after loved ones should be given the financial and practical support to help them secure the quality of life which they deserve.

To show how much we value the lives which have been lost, we can surely take the necessary steps to limit the suffering and loss of others, in the future. And the future starts now.