It has become a weekly ritual for us all throughout the coronavirus crisis – the national synchronised clapping of hands and tapping of pots, although I found it very interesting that Annemarie Plas, the founder of Clap for Carers, has suggested that it should be no more.
The NHS is a beautifully unique institution that we all need to cherish. It is an organisation that costs us nothing (well, apart from the 20% of our wages that goes to Rishi Sunak every month) and yet it looks after everyone. The NHS does not discriminate. It treats everyone the same, even if you may be the numpty who drilled through his hand on the first attempt at putting up a shelf. However, I have to agree with Ms Plas – it is the end for Clap for Carers. The problem we have with celebrating week in, week out is it becomes normalised and therefore loses the message originally set out to create. The event no longer becomes something that makes everyone stop in their tracks and think about the dedication of our key workers; instead, it means people just do it for the sake of doing it.
I also question some specific events organised in the dedication of our key workers. For example, my local hospital has a weekly precession consisting of around 30-50 HGV trucks, motorbikes, tractors, and even a three-wheeled Reliant Robin; and whilst the sight of all these vehicles in convoy may have produced lumps in peoples throats on the first week, all it produces now is traffic carnage meaning those key workers we applaud for end up in a large queue of traffic akin to something not seen in Wigan since the olympic torch visited in 2012.
Now I’m not for one moment suggesting we shouldn’t continue thinking about the NHS and all our key workers. Healthcare has been taken for granted and it has taken a pandemic for us to be thankful that we do have a GP to visit, or that we don’t have to produce our AMEX card before being arriving in A&E.. but we should be thinking about our NHS and key workers anyway, without having a specific day. It shouldn’t take the banging of Russell Hobbs pans on a Thursday night for us to remember how well we are looked after, and how much hard work goes in doing the looking after.
The problem is as lockdown lifts, peoples rather empty lives will suddenly start getting busier again; and if we are not careful that wonderful weekly celebration will suddenly turn into a weekly chore to be added to the to-do list.