Reflections on 2020

Reflections on 2020

At risk of succumbing to end-of-year sentimentality, as I look back on 2020 I am truly staggered by what the NHS has achieved this year. The depth of collaboration we’ve seen across the health service, (some of which my team at Patchwork Health have been privileged to support on), has been unprecedented. The scale of the task at times appeared insurmountable. But deep reserves of strength and resilience have enabled the fight against Covid-19 to continue.

Throughout this protracted crisis, we’ve seen individuals, teams, and organisations go above and beyond to make the impossible happen. From people hand-stitching vital PPE, to whole institutions operating at a breakneck pace to drive through essential innovation. These contributions and sacrifices - from the tiny to the colossal - have enabled our health service to respond to the scariest situation the NHS has ever faced. 

As we look ahead to several tough months to come, and hold fast to the hope provided by the astonishing emergence of vaccines, I feel immensely proud of everyone who continues to get patients the care they need. 

And I also feel hopeful. 

Hopeful that the hallmarks of this year - collaboration, innovation, compassion - are carried through into the NHS which will emerge post-crisis. 

In this NHS, I hope we hold fast to the benefits that experimentation and innovation can bring and the dose of risk that’s needed to achieve them. That we continue to break down silos and work collaboratively across borders. And that we more deeply entrench the needs, priorities and preferences of our NHS workers at the heart of healthcare planning.

For myself and the whole team at Patchwork, it’s been a privilege to work alongside NHS leaders across the UK as they’ve faced this pandemic. From the establishment of collaborative digital staff banks and Covid-19 risk assessment tools, to giving hard-working clinicians the chance to access true flexible working. Many of our team have professional roots in the NHS, so being able to play our part (however small) has been a privilege. 

We all know that this fight is far from over. Yet the symbolism of 2020 coming to an end and a horizon that holds hope of better times to come is providing, for me, a vital ballast in what has sometimes felt like an unending storm. 

From me and the Patchwork team, I hope that the coming weeks offer you some respite from the intensity of the year. For those on the frontlines who continue to work unceasingly; words cannot come close to conveying the thanks that each and every one of us owe you for your sacrifices over the last 10 months. We must ensure these sacrifices and lessons aren’t forgotten, but embraced to create a stronger, more resilient NHS for future generations. 

Wishing you all the very best for the festive season.


Dr Anas Nader
written by:

Dr Anas Nader