Covid tragedy means we must aspire for better in the future, says Sheffield health boss

Covid-19 has cost many lives and jobs, ravaged businesses, damaged the economy, disrupted education, caused the vulnerable to be fearful and left a legacy of mental challenges etc.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 4:45 pm
Graham Moore, Westfield Health chairman

All that, of course, has such a negative influence on the way we live, work and become educated.

However, out of tragedy can be a positive outcome, whereby the learning out of the pandemic can act as a catalyst for lasting change.

No-one can have foreseen the number of people who now work efficiently from home , while meeting obligations to others, not least their employers and their customers.

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These temporary measures will inevitably lead to more flexible combinations of home/workplace working , that will become more commonplace.

This will lead to improved life/work balances to the benefit of both employers and the employed.

Businesses have had to increase the pace of innovation and creativity better and faster to survive, which will have long term benefit and be embedded in their future organisational DNA.

We will have been reminded of our responsibility for our health and wellbeing and that unhealthy lifestyles impact not only on our quality of life, but the longevity of it.

Certainly we will be all too aware of the vulnerability of those who have preventable chronic conditions to coronavirus and those who have survived it better due to their healthy lifestyles .

So benefit will accrue to those who adopt healthier lifestyles, enabling them not only able to cope better with future pandemics, but able to enjoy their lives more.

Hopefully, the positive noises coming down from the Prime Minister about his own health challenges will now lead to more investment to aid hard-pressed local government to support leisure, parks and sporting facilities for schools and the general public.

Employers, too, will invest to be more resilient and efficient, but the enlightened will realise investment in the health and wellbeing of their employees will pay dividends also.

In the new normal, city centres, already affected by online shopping, will have to respond to become more innovative and attractive to complement out-of-town centres.

We need also to do this alongside opening up a productive relationship between car, pedestrian, public transport and cyclists to provide better access based on consultation and collaboration.

There is no better time to open up branch lines and old railway stations that surround the city. What a boost that would be.

We have lost so much freedom and experienced too much personal tragedy during the lockdown not to aspire to a better city after it.

This we can achieve, if we galvanise the spirit we showed during the pandemic to change ourselves in all sectors, better and faster.