Nursing staff fear consequence of lifted restrictions over Christmas

18 Dec 2020

Ministers must give clear and detailed advice to the public or risk an 'unrelenting tsunami' of COVID-19 cases in the new year, warns RCN.

Christmas lights

Nursing staff are worried that increased social mixing over Christmas will put excessive strain on the health service in 2021 says Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN.

With a week to go until Christmas and the virus spreading rapidly in many parts of the country, ministers should give fresh and more detailed advice to the public, she insists.

“After a difficult year, it is everybody’s instinct to want to be together and see loved ones. But what is at stake is coming into sharp focus,” Donna said.

“Travelling and family visits associated with this time of year will undoubtedly lead to more cases, more pressure on NHS and care services, and more deaths. By turning the second and third waves into an unrelenting tsunami, we would begin 2021 in the worst possible way.

“Nursing staff are telling me they will not enjoy Christmas knowing what awaits them in January. After caring for tens of thousands of positive cases, supporting families at their lowest ebb and even losing our own colleagues, a quieter festive period is not a sacrifice.

“Governments should be clearer about the risks – not just the rules – and people must make informed choices. The data and the science give cause for vigilance, not relief.

“This virus isn’t taking Christmas off and nor should we. 2021 is a year that holds so much promise –we have all lost too much in 2020 to set ourselves back now.”

Page last updated - 21/12/2020