Heartfelt gratitude to health, social care and social work staff.
As Scotland faces one of its most challenging Winters, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has praised the continued courage, commitment and professionalism of our health, social care and social work staff.
In his Christmas message, Mr Yousaf yesterday said:
This year has been an incredible race to get ahead of COVID-19 with a vaccination programme which has been the largest logistical peacetime operation Scotland has ever seen. As we set our sights on recovery, we have had to adapt and respond to new variants, following guidelines which are constantly updated to take on board the course of this pandemic.
Every single person working in health, social care and social work has continued to provide exemplary care in the most trying of circumstances, saving lives and protecting our NHS at a high cost both personally and professionally.
You continue to be extraordinary in your response to unprecedented demands, delivering services in what can often be new and often unfamiliar ways. I have heard directly from some of you about the impact that working in pandemic conditions has had. And I want to sincerely thank you for everything you have done, and continue to do, during this difficult time.
We will only overcome the challenges ahead if we look after our most valuable asset - the people who provide care through this pandemic. Your wellbeing, wherever you work in the sector, is a key priority.
Now more than ever, it is critical to look after your wellbeing, and that of your colleagues, and provide support so you can take the time you need to access local and national wellbeing resources available.
To complement the help that is available to you at a local level, we also have a range of services on hand through the National Wellbeing Hub, including a 24/7 National Wellbeing Helpline, confidential mental health treatment through the Workforce Specialist Service and Coaching for Wellbeing resources.
I implore you to speak up if you or a colleague need support. You are doing an amazing job, and deserve our help in return.
The pandemic has been the most significant challenge the NHS has faced in its 73-year history. We know that it is not over, and that the new Omicron variant and other pressures will continue to impact us for some time.
We hope this Christmas will not be as restrictive as last year, but we're asking everyone to play their part in helping to suppress the virus by limiting their socialising as much as possible. This is to save lives, and to support all of you in the work that you do. Because we will overcome this virus if we work together and think carefully about how our actions might impact others.
I want to share my heartfelt gratitude for everything you continue to do in order to support and care for the people of Scotland, and take this opportunity to wish you a happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
The National Wellbeing Hub provides a range of self-care and wellbeing resources for all staff, unpaid carers, volunteers and their families to enhance personal resilience and signpost to relevant mental health and support services. https://wellbeinghub.scot/
The 24/7 National Wellbeing Helpline (0800 111 4191) offers a compassionate and empathic listening service, as well as advice, signposting and onward referral to local services (including to other Board areas) if required.
The Workforce Specialist Service offers confidential mental health assessment and treatment for regulated health and social care professionals. https://wellbeinghub.scot/the-workforce-specialist-service-wss/