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Dear Colleague,

As we approach the holiday weekend and the imminent review of the Government’s social restrictions in order to combat the Covid-19 epidemic, I thought it timely and appropriate to give some words of encouragement to the Branches of the RAMC Association. I had pointed out previously that we manage our membership through our Branches and that local decisions would have to be made in relation to Branches conducting their business. Rightly you have not been meeting and collecting together socially as per Government direction but equally our local networks will, I am sure, have been connecting with our infirmed and aged Members. Indeed, the age profile of our membership veers towards the more vulnerable group in the population by definition.

It is quite apparent that we will be in a situation of lock-down for some weeks to come, especially those in the over 70s bracket. So we must continue to show the necessary fortitude in obeying the distancing rules that currently apply. It is difficult for many, and especially those with children and/or who work in key jobs, to follow the strictures. Yet we must for the benefit of all concerned and to reduce the load on the NHS. It will be a grand moment when things ease up, but we must wait awhile yet.

We are medical people and we understand the need for all the procedures and limitations so we can clearly see and admire the fantastic work that our colleagues in the NHS are undertaking in confronting, on the front line, the consequences of the epidemic. Within that we can also see the contribution our currently serving RAMC colleagues are making either within their normal place of work in the NHS, caring for those troops assisting with supply and distribution or in the new Nightingale facilities coming on stream. But we need also to commend the efforts of food shop staff, binmen, transport workers, carers, environmental health, etc, etc for all their vital efforts in keeping us all alive, supplied and safe.

So I urge you to keep your focus on obeying the rules but keeping a weather eye on our vulnerable locally. I am amazed by the voluntary organisations and volunteers rallying to the cause whether it be for the NHS or simply helping the locality with shopping runs and so on. Our Branches are not alone in helping others and can link in with other volunteers to ensure coverage. Even a phone call, text message, letter or email will help bridge the isolation gap and assist in sustaining the managing of the separation still required.

I see the loons are gathering some pace on the fake news front through social media. Ignore this noise and stick to the Government’s advice and direction. This is based on the best evidence available and may well change as that evidence accrues and unfolds. It pains me to say this but be circumspect over the siren voices of the media currently soundly out about the way ahead. They seem to be spending more time trying to reduce the credibility of Government in handling its most serious challenge in decades. Instead of being part of the proper exercise of holding the Government to account, they seem hell-bent on unconstructive criticism, finding fault, nit-picking, shroud waving, creating division and demeaning the efforts of those in charge. They certainly are abusing data and statistics daily. Whether this is because they are simply innumerate or whether it is merely wilful, I am not sure, or perhaps, it is a combination of the two.

This is a massive emergency enterprise, unprecedented in most of our lifetimes, involving novel demands and requiring rapid adaptation of a peacetime structure facing one way into something confronting a serious and novel enemy from another direction. It involves a large number of inter-faceted working parts and many different levels through thousands of places, hundreds of thousands of people and countless items of equipment and supplies. There will be errors and cockups, the big issue is whether they are systemic/systems-based or merely local friction which is the very reality of human interactions over the millennia. My money is on the latter. The trick is to fix the rogue instrument in the orchestra not shoot the conductor. I have no intention of having my morale rotted by sundry journalists. If you are interested why my judgement is swayed in this direction, and so strongly, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly.

I will finish now and ask you to share this message with the Branches under your regional wings. I would also ask for feedback as to whether messages such as this are found to be of any value? When I wrote to all Branch Chairmen last year after I had taken up this appointment, I invited feedback. This has only happened from about a third of the Branches. So please let me know if I am helping or not? There is enough noise around the place as it is that might distract from the focus on the main effort and message.

Wash those hands, keep your distance and work from home if you can.

Alistair McMillan
Chairman RAMC Association

Dear Friends,
The Coronavirus crisis has affected all of us and we are all too aware how serious it is and the severity of it. It has been highlighted by the media that it is not only those at high risk who are vulnerable but now also the young and fit. Everyday living has changed dramatically for everyone but in order to reduce the spread of Covid-19 we as a nation need to follow the Government guidelines and to self-isolate and stay at home to protect the NHS and key workers who are working tirelessly to stop this awful disease spreading and save lives.
Please follow the guidelines listed below :

  • Stay at home:
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people.
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home.

(You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms).
The health and well-being of our members is of paramount importance to us so please continue to stay safe and take care of your families and together we will get through this.

 

Best wishes
Marie

Message from Emma Tatman Office & Benevolence Manager

Inline with the Government's and MOD's direction, the Army Medical Services Benevolence Office (RAMC, RAVC, RADC & QARANC) will be in and out of the office in the coming weeks. If you wish to contact me if I am out of the office, please use the following email address: ams_benevolence@hotmail.com

To all RAMC Association members:

Dear Friends,

As it may be some months until we meet again I would like to wish you and your loved ones well and please stay safe.
Please see below some simple advice which you may find helpful. I have already sent out a note giving my contact details.

We will beat this together, 'Steadfast in Adversity'.

Yours

Marie

 

CORONA VIRUS (COVID 19)
ADVICE ON BEATING IT TOGETHER

As self isolation and social distancing come close we need to take stock locally on how we can care for ourselves and each other. Many are in the high risk groups particularly our senior members.

Have I got it?

The symptoms have been very well described but in summary key symptoms are fever with high temperature and hot to touch on chest and back with repeated dry cough. However sometimes shortness of breath, fatigue, aches and pains, sore throat, headaches are experienced. Many of the 'sometimes' are what many seniors live with anyway.

What should I do?

Follow all the advice given and try not to panic. Avoid crowds. List what you need to do to be able to stay at home eg getting medicines and food shopping and see if others can do it for you. Also if staying at home remember to keep active and mobile, move every 15 minutes or so and exercise if you can. Keep your mind alert with books, crosswords and some TV. Catch up with friends by phone for conversation. What about a de-clutter ready for Spring?

I'm over 70 should I self isolate (stay indoors)?

The Government are now advising this will be recommended soon for all but essential needs. It is not legally enforceable (as yet) but is good advice so be prepared for your life to change.

Ask yourself is it really essential for me to go out or travel? Be particularly careful if you have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or COPD as you are at increased risk. We are all different but do ask friends, family and Assoc mates for assistance.

What about seeing my family and friends?
This is a matter for common sense and so long as you are careful you can have contact but avoid close contact, keep that 2m distance and wash those hands. Current advice is not to attend large gatherings, pubs and clubs

What about food buying and my medicines?

Panic buying of food is not the answer for any of us but do keep your stocks topped up.If you cannot get to the shops there will be others who can go for you. Get your help in place. The same applies to your medicines.

How can I help my friends?

Practically if you are at lower risk and stay healthy then offer to help as above. Contact our more senior members (but only if you are sure you are not infected) and ask if you can help. Keep a safe distance of 1-2 metres, when the door is answered and find out what is needed. Keep your hands clean on returning items. Be aware of what else might be offered by community groups locally and share. For those more technically minded setting up a Whats App group which can keep everyone socialised or a Friends Group on Facebook as virtual friends.

If you are in the high risk group don't be alone . Keep in touch; for some self isolation will mean social isolation.
Branch Secretaries should have contact details of all their members that they can share (we have to be realistic DPA wise here) to help make this happen but all those able to in the Branch can also help. The Secretary and Welfare Adviser cannot reach everyone. Even if you only a group of three or four that will help.

What about NHS care?

The NHS is there for essential use only as capacity will be really stretched in the coming months. Advice is not to go to your GP, Pharmacy or Hospital if you have symptoms, but to self isolate.

Where can I find out more or get help?

The are are many sources but the key ones are NHS

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid19
https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Alternatively look at NHS111 on line https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

for advice and assessment if feeling unwell but only call if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or your condition gets worse or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days.

Please distribute widely , keep following government public health guidelines and look after your friends by phone,text or email.

TO ALL RAMC AND THOSE WHO WORK IN SUPPORT OF RAMC

His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester has asked me to convey his best wishes to all your members, staff and volunteers while we enter this unprecedented period of uncertainty and worry. He is very much aware of the concerns that your people will have at the moment as this pandemic develops and would want you to know that you are all very much in his mind.

Alistair McMillan
Chairman RAMC Association

The RAMC Association

William Boog LeishmanIn 1925, the RAMC Association was formed to further the camaraderie of WW1 Corps veterans with Sir William Leishman being the first President. There are now some 28 branches around UK with a predominantly veteran membership although most serving Corps members also are members centrally. The Association has traditionally been supported by Corps Funds and especially for the expenses of the branch standards and standard bearers.