In his latest blog, Reverend David Southall says we must prioritise our older generation during the Covid-19 pandemic

"The way in which we have treated our elderly citizens in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic will long be remembered as a stain on our nation. There have been policy errors, clinical errors and just pure human errors in what has become a national disgrace.

"This came home forcefully to me the other day when I went to a ward to see a patient and his daughter. This was the first time that the daughter had been able to see her dad in six months. Oh, 'it’s okay', we say. They did manage to wave to each other through the window at the care home in which he was resident and happy. They could send parcels in and contact him on the phone. After all, we all had to make sacrifices during coronavirus times.

"But as I saw this woman holding her father’s hand, touching him for the first time for as long as she could remember, I was very moved. Touch and proximity are part of the human condition. We thrive on feeling another person close to us. And because her dad was suffering with dementia it was even more heart-rending. How could she explain why she hadn’t been to see him? And because she was the one who reassured him when he became anxious and agitated, how could she deal with her own feelings of not being there close to dad when he needed her most.

"It is six months they will never get back. Six months when she missed taking him out for drives, spending time in his company, doing the things good daughters do for their parents. All of this was compounded by the fact that dad was now reaching the end of his life. In fact, that is the only reason why she was able to visit him in hospital. Of course, there was no indication that he was suffering from Covid. But in some ways, we are all suffering from Covid. This hateful virus has robbed people of time together when they needed it the most. For many of us, we will laugh at the end of it proclaiming how we were the Covid 2020 survivors. But for so many others it will be a different story.

"So, in this second wave, I can only hope that the policymakers and clinicians, and indeed all of us, put our elderly first. Thinking of ever new creative ways to make the necessary provisions for those who fought and sacrificed for us in so many ways. Or face a second stain on our nation's treatment of our elderly."