The actor Miriam Margolyes has given a heart-felt ‘thank you’ to the dedication and commitment of occupational health professionals working to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of NHS and other essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an exchange with Professor Anne Harriss, who is due to take over as president of SOM (the Society of Occupational Medicine) in June, Margolyes expressed praise for the work of OH practitioners, as well as frontline NHS workers, in the fight against the pandemic.
Margolyes, who is well known for her roles in Call The Midwife and the Harry Potter franchise, recorded a video for SOM in which she said: “I know that all those of you who work in occupational medicine, doing so much to look after the safety of the people who work for the NHS and all those in transport and shop workers, and I know that you are not properly recognised for the work that you do.
“So this is my special ‘thank you’ to all of you who do occupational medicine. Thank you, bless you; keep going, stay safe.”
Professor Harriss, who is Occupational Health & Wellbeing’s CPD editor, is set to be SOM’s first OH nurse president, and so Margolyes also expressed her thanks to OH nurses for “all you are doing; stay safe”.
Margolyes said the contribution of OH was often being overlooked within the media coverage of the pandemic and, indeed, was often not well understood by the public.
In a follow-up email to Professor Harriss, she said: “I know now through talking to you, that occupational health professionals are also on the frontline in that fight against the pandemic, keeping our NHS staff safe.
“I didn’t realise their expertise covers so much: advising doctors, nurses and all health professionals on PPE use, fitting respiratory protective equipment, protecting cleaners and porters and supporting NHS team members to ensure their health and wellbeing – they’re there when needed. I couldn’t be more grateful.
“And I now realise (and I didn’t before) that occupational health helps protect other essential workers outside the NHS – such as bus drivers, street cleaners, bin men and women, postal workers, shop workers, the police, fire service and the military who built the Nightingale Hospitals so fast.
“They’re facing an unprecedented challenge. They have the same fears and anxieties we all do. I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all of them,” Margolyes added.