We must learn lessons of pandemic to ensure a brighter future, says Sheffield business leader

I don’t know, with the news of vaccines, if we are at end of the beginning or the beginning of the end of lockdowns.

Graham Moore argues a multi-agency approach, involving bodies such as Sheffield’s ‘world-renowned Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, is key to tackle obesity and health inequalities going forward

However, as news of so few self-isolating as a result of test-and-trace procedures, coupled with significant complacency, would indicate restrictions are going to be with us for the foreseeable future.

There has been many labels attached to the various measures, but what really matters is not what they are called, but our compliance.

If we do not comply with social distancing, hand hygiene and wearing masks, then preventative measures will be futile and Covid-19 will proliferate, with more lives and jobs lost.

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Graham Moore, Westfield Health honorary life president

In fact, news about the vaccines may precipitate more indiscipline and the Christmas period has potential for more flouting of restrictions.

We can only hope some of the more vulnerable get the vaccine before Christmas and our pessimism is misplaced.

For whatever reason, too many cannot consistently accept the advised restrictions, so we end up with the cycle of lockdown, resulting in a reduction of infections, only to increase when restrictions are eased.

Realistically, the only solution is comprehensive provision of vaccines and adherence to more responsive test-and-trace facilities – hopefully that comes sooner rather than later and 2021 sees a return to a degree of normality.

In that normality, there will have to be a inquiry to establish culpability and learn lessons individually, organisationally and governmentally.

One obvious learning point is that we have to think the unthinkable and see how health and the economy are inextricably linked.

In the future, there is an imperative to deal with the effects of long Covid illnesses and deal with the millions of sufferers on waiting lists for diagnosis and treatment of non-coronavirus conditions.

A multi-agency approach has to be instituted to deal with the future health and welfare of our citizens – no single one can make the necessary speedy impact to the level required.

Participants should include Sheffield Council, the NHS, our two universities and the world-renowned AWRC, to name but a few.

Collaboration is necessary to produce a plan of action to impact on obesity and long-standing health inequalities.

If this is implemented, at least we have some hope to improve our health which has been adversely effected by the pandemic to give us much-needed future benefits.