Trust leaders will welcome the much-anticipated news that the UK recorded zero daily COVID-related deaths for the first time since the pandemic began.
We should take this opportunity to reflect on just how far we have come. If we think back to last year, our entire landscape was different. We did not yet have a vaccine to administer, our scientific knowledge on the virus was limited, and trusts were quickly innovating and adapting to keep up with COVID-19 demand with intensive care incredibly busy. Makeshift wards were being created, supply chains were being established and PPE stockpiles were being quickly depleted.
We should also recognise the success of the vaccination programme, which has helped millions of people be better protected against the virus, thanks to the sheer dedication of frontline staff and volunteers. Trust leaders would once again urge anyone eligible to please get vaccinated to keep this momentum going, including for their second dose.
Today's achievement is also a result of people giving up many freedoms to stay locked down for months on end. Recognising how difficult this has been, trust leaders would want to thank the public for their continued efforts which have literally helped keep people alive.
But we are not yet out of the woods. Hospitals and other NHS services continue to be under pressure and today's news shouldn't cloud judgement when making plans with family and friends. Cautions still must be taken. While the number of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 is now lower than at earlier points in the pandemic, the threat from new variants is real, and the NHS is also grappling with a huge treatment backlog and pent up demand. Given these pressures, even a small increase in COVID-19 patients would make a real difference. We must continue to be cautious so that today's news becomes the norm.
This article was first published in the Daily Express newspaper.