Nicola Sturgeon backs plan to hold minute’s silence for NHS workers

Nicola Sturgeon has lent her support to a plan to hold a minute’s silence for NHS staff who have died fighting coronavirus.

Nicola Sturgeon said she would back a plan to pay tribute to NHS staff who have lost their lives
Nicola Sturgeon said she would back a plan to pay tribute to NHS staff who have lost their lives

Trade union giant Unison, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives have called for those across the UK to join in a minute of silence at 11am on April 28, but a final time is yet to be confirmed.

The UK Government has said it supports the idea and is looking at how such an event would best be held under current lockdown restrictions.

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UK care minister Helen Whately said that as of today, 61 NHS workers across the country had died from Covid-19 along with at least 15 care workers.

Asked by The Scotsman at her daily media briefing if she supported the plan for a minute’s silence, the First Minister said: “We are aware of discussions that are underway and hopefully we can get to a point where it’s something that happens.”

Ms Sturgeon added that work was also ongoing to share the number of health workers in Scotland who have died while serving on the frontline of the pandemic.

“I’m keen to report going forward on the details on the numbers working on the front line of our health service who have contracted Covid-19 and have died from it,” she said.

“When that figure remains below a certain threshold in Scotland, it is difficult to report due to patient confidentiality - we also need that figure robustly, and not on an anecdotal basis.

“But as First Minister, and where families are in agreement, we want to take the opportunity to pay tribute individually and collectively to those have died in such circumstances.”

The First Minister also said there would be a longer-term plan for “how we pay proper tribute to those who have done so much to care for us in this crisis”.

UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also joined the call for recognition of NHS staff earlier in the week.

He said: “Our key workers are literally putting their lives on the line in the fight against coronavirus.

“That is why Labour wholeheartedly supports the call for a minute’s silence in honour of all those on the front line who have died from coronavirus.”

The current death toll of NHS workers is likely to be higher than the number so far reported, given that some may not have been tested for the deadly virus before passing away.

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