A letter to all employees from Michael Dickson and Jo Robinson


Dear health and social care workers,

We wanted to contact you to say thank you so much for all the hard work you are undertaking at this difficult and challenging time. It is hard to highlight everyone’s individual contributions to services during this crisis, so we wanted to write to you to acknowledge how much we appreciate everything that you are all doing. Your dedication and care is truly outstanding.
It is very important to acknowledge that all of us at different times are going to find things tough. It’s important to know that feeling stressed, upset, angry, sad, worried and overwhelmed is something that we may all experience when dealing with COVID-19. We have felt some of those feelings ourselves and it is only natural that we will all find things hard from time to time.
Managing our own psychological health and wellbeing during this time is just as important as managing our physical health. Basic self-care is so important and we want to offer some suggestions with our clear permission to do the following things in your working week:

  • Take your breaks when at work. Connect with trusted colleagues if you can. Telephone or video call your loved ones and reconnect with people you care about during these breaks to see how they are doing during their day and let them take care of you too;
  • Try to get adequate sleep. This sounds basic but it is really important and often forgotten about when we are under pressure;
  • Drink and eat regularly when you can, both at work and at home. Take some food in with you if you can and come to work prepared to use periods of rest to eat and relax;
  • Really protect your days off as time for you and your loved ones. Don’t look at emails or try and work from home when you are not required to. Your loved ones need you too and we really want you to be able to focus on them when you can. Go for a walk, watch a movie and connect with those closest to you;
  • If you are struggling at any time please let your manager or another colleague know, it’s important to let someone at work know so they can help and support you. If you can, let someone at home know you need extra support too. They will want to take care of you as best they can;
  • Look at the self-care information on our COVID-19 microsite which includes apps and resources you can use: NHS Shetland – COVID-19 | Home. Ask for support if you need it. This is okay and totally understandable – especially right now;
  • Look out for our new staff wellbeing support service. It will be available for all health and care staff from 4th May and will give you access to a range of resources (including a dedicated phone line) to help you and your team maintain your wellbeing.

We want you to know that we will try and share any information we have as soon as we can. We are being honest and transparent about any issues and want to assure you we are doing all we can to support you to do your best. If there is anything else practical we can do, let us know and we will do our best to resolve things as we are able. We genuinely value all you are doing and understand the personal toll this can have.

We know we can’t thank all of you in person or be there to help every step of the way but we want you to know we are holding you all in mind and if there is anything else
we can do please let us know.