Today (Wednesday 23 March) it is exactly two years since we all anxiously gathered round our TVs to listen to prime minister Boris Johnson announce the first Covid-19 lockdown.
In that time much has changed, not least the successful rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations.
However, a lot of concerns remain, with cases and hospitalisations now once again rising sharply following the easing of all Covid restrictions, something that is concerning OH practitioners about the coming months, especially the knock-on impact this may have on NHS waits.
This week also marks the beginning of the latest vaccine booster campaign by NHS England. This is a more limited rollout than previous boosters, with jabs being offered to all over-75s, care home residents and those who are immunocompromised, estimated to be some five million people in all.
A report in The Guardian newspaper to mark the two-year anniversary has highlighted the need to be developing next-generation vaccines to cope with variants of the virus and the imperative to continue to get vaccinations to poorer countries.
Covid-19 and work
From a workplace health perspective, as workplaces gradually return to something more approaching ‘normal’ even if probably still a more ‘hybrid’ split between home and office working, it is also clear there remains a strong appetite for more employer-based health and wellbeing support.
A survey of 500 UK HR decision-makers by health insurer Towergate Health & Protection, for example, has found that 86% of employers believe their employees want more support for their health and wellbeing.
According to Brett Hill, distribution director at Towergate Health & Protection, this illustrates an ongoing change in expectations around workplace health and wellbeing since the pandemic.
“Two years on, the country thankfully seems to be emerging from the pandemic, but it has irreversibly changed many lives,” he said.
“The pandemic has altered the way we live and work and has changed our outlook and expectations. Employees need greater health and wellbeing support now than ever before and employers need to look at new ways to assist their staff that matches with the change in circumstances and growth in need,” Hill added.