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Dear Colleague,

We currently live in the proverbial ‘interesting times’, an old Confucian curse but apposite today none the less. The full impact of Covid-19 remains unclear yet threatening. So it has struck me that it might be timely to consider the potential impact the current global epidemic may have on the Association in the next wee while. I say this in the light of the situation being fluid and circumstances are unfolding day by day. We are rightly being led by expert epidemiological advice and I therefore emphasise that the facts, as they materialise, and the advice given, should be gleaned from official Government and devolved administration sites and help lines. I would not pay attention to whatever else is running riot across social media currently.

It would seem that this strain of corona virus is causing respiratory disease that is spread via human contact directly or indirectly via hard surfaces shared by humans. In 80% of cases the effects are mild, in 15% of cases the effect is more serious and in 5% of cases the impact is quite critical. The older members of the population are more at risk of fitting into the latter two groups through either existing ill-health and/or age-related reduction in the effectiveness of body immune systems. It would be fair to assume that, considering the age distribution of the Membership, there might be more of a tendency towards the more serious end of the ill-health spectrum, if gripped by the virus, than for the general population. This is relative, of course, and not an absolute judgement merely indicating a propensity to be more at risk.

We can see that the Government is currently employing a policy of containment but that, as cases develop within the country, we may be moving towards a policy of delay and thus the impact of restrictions in public gatherings. It is in this light that I turn to my observations on the disease’s potential impact.

We are closely monitoring, alongside RHQ RAMC, whether we should suspend or postpone national Association events and participation. We are coming up to significant Association events such as Alrewas and the AGM followed by Corps Sunday in the calendar. Before that we have our scheduled Executive Committee Meeting at Camberley that I hope will still be possible. I will keep you informed about how we perceive risk and will make decisions, I hope, in a timely manner in order to reduce personal aggravation regarding such matters as travel and accommodation.

However, more closer to home will be the judgements of local Branches regarding their activities over the near future. I must say that this will have to be a matter of local judgement based on the prevailing advice from Government and local circumstances. I know of similar organisations to us where safety first has already been employed. I suspect that individual Members will be making their own personal risk assessments and there will be a tendency towards reduced attendance at events during the current situation.

So I would finish by reminding Branches that despite all this, our commitment to welfare and support of the frail and infirmed locally needs to be maintained and that self-isolators shouldn’t disappear into anonymity and neglect. Keep washing your hands and find non-contact ways of greeting those you meet and with whom you converse. The instructions for when to self-isolate look as if they may be changing within the next fortnight so be vigilant.

I would be grateful if you would share the contents of this letter with the Branches you represent on the Executive Committee.


Alistair Macmillan
Chairman RAMC Association

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