T7. Mrs Cameron asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister for their assessment of the efforts of healthcare staff in the second wave of the pandemic, particularly in light of gifts being left at hospitals, the lack of clapping on Thursday evenings and the lack of hot food and drink being served to those workers, not least those in COVID wards and in ICUs. (AQT 667/17-22)
I thank the Member for her question. She has put her finger on the matter. I know that the Member has family in positions in ICU and will, therefore, be fully aware of the difficulties that our nursing staff face.
I say again that we absolutely support all those who put themselves in harm's way. We know how restrictive all this is not just when they are working but in their home lives, and we very much appreciate everything that they do.
I thank the First Minister for her answer. It is important that we demonstrate our support for the incredible work that healthcare workers are doing in these challenging times.
I think that we have found a balanced and proportionate way forward. We need to continue to find that balanced and proportionate way forward. When we have the testing regime to a higher level of capacity where we can test staff in healthcare, social care and care home settings more frequently, that will help. It will also give them a sense of worth that we are concerned about their well-being and want to know what is happening in those settings. The testing regime is very much part of what we need to do. As I said in reply to an earlier question, it is important that we take the learnings from the Liverpool experience and use them in Northern Ireland so that we can be more focused on using testing as a mechanism to cut transmission of the virus.