On Tuesday, to mark the anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown, we will all stop for a moment to reflect on those we have lost to this dreadful pandemic. Personally, I think of the thousands of people who have died in care settings. Every death is a tragedy, the loss of a loved one – a father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, aunt, uncle or friend. Tuesday is also a time to think of and thank all those carers, NHS staff and other key workers who put their lives at risk to care for others. To acknowledge that work, it would be nice if the government could give all health and social care staff in England a bonus, like the £500 payment awarded in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Scarborough, North Yorkshire
• The doctors, nurses and support staff who have been looking after Covid patients in hospitals and care homes for over a year now have a job that is quite different from any other that I can think of, apart from active military service. They go to work daily, knowing that they will be placing themselves in an environment that could kill them.
A couple of years ago, I received a Queen’s award for voluntary service for guiding visitors round Salisbury cathedral. This is nothing compared with the services rendered by Covid carers. But they have nothing to show for their dedication.
I suggest that we have a book of remembrance, in which the names of all who have died as a consequence of caring for Covid patients are written. It should be placed somewhere such as Westminster Abbey, but accompanied by an online copy for those who cannot travel to see it.
Staff who have served in a patient-facing Covid environment should be entitled to a dedicated carer award – a DC after their name, and a medal to be worn on formal occasions.
Dr Alastair Lack
Retired intensive care consultant, Salisbury
• Memorials to Covid victims? Laura Spinney wonders how this could be done (We need to mark the countless lives Covid has claimed. But how to do it?, 18 March). Well, we can organise nationwide Proms in the Park so it shouldn’t be beyond our ability to organise Memorials in the Park – or the stadium – or whichever is large enough to accommodate all the bereaved friends and families.
As soon as safely possible, the government should finance a day of national memorials and remembrance – all to be held at the same time across the country at suitable venues. There should be local MPs and ministers in attendance at each event, and Boris Johnson at the largest. The victims deserve nothing less. The grieving deserve nothing less, many of whom have been deprived of sending their loved ones off in a proper and dignified way.
• Laura Spinney suggests a world memorial. We could start in the UK by ousting this government at the earliest opportunity.