We join National Day of Reflection to remember colleagues lost during the pandemic
Staff and volunteers from London Ambulance Service held a minute’s silence today (Wednesday 23 March) to remember those who lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.
They came together in the memorial garden in front of the Waterloo Road headquarters as part of a national day of reflection for a short service and minute’s silence at noon to remember those who died.
They were joined by representatives from the Metropolitan Police Service, London Fire Brigade, St John Ambulance and the wider NHS who all entered into partnerships with London Ambulance Service to respond to the pandemic.
Today’s event, spearheaded by end-of-life charity Marie Curie, falls on the second anniversary of the UK going into the first national lockdown, and was created to honour everyone who has died during this time and show support for those still grieving.
London Ambulance Service Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles said:
“The last two years have been exhausting for staff and volunteers and the immense dedication and effort to keep responding to the pandemic continues to this day.
“It is important that we make time to acknowledge how difficult this time has been. That’s why we have come together to remember London Ambulance Service, health and social care colleagues who made incredible sacrifices – sometimes the ultimate sacrifice – while caring for London. We will never forget them.
“We also stand in support of families of those who died throughout this time, and offer our condolences to all those who are still grieving the loss of their loved ones.”
Andrew Ridley, Regional Director for the NHS in London, who joined the event, said:
“It’s important that we continue to remember the losses so many people have experienced during this pandemic, and support colleagues, friends, and family who may still be suffering following the challenges that the last two years has presented.
“As well as honouring their loss, I would also like to reflect on the incredible efforts of staff and volunteers across the capital in the past year; not just those who have been caring personally for those seriously ill with coronavirus, but those who have adapted how they care for patients to keep them safe, and those who have and continue to deliver life-saving vaccinations across London.”
Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, London Ambulance Service has responded to unprecedented demand in incredibly difficult circumstances. It has received more than 4 million 999 calls and 3.6 million 111 calls, and attended 2.2 million emergencies. 2021 was our busiest year ever and on average we took 700 more 999 calls each day than in 2020.
Recognising the pressure that people were working under, London Ambulance Service established a wellbeing hub providing a single point of access to new services supporting the physical and mental health of staff and volunteers including counselling. It has also invested in training to expand its peer support network and other wellbeing initiatives like tea trucks to deliver hot drinks and snacks to busy crews on the road.
One of the tea trucks, which were funded during the pandemic by NHS Charities Together, attended today’s event to provide refreshments to staff and visitors after the service.