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Highland GP spells out lessons that must be learned from coronavirus pandemic experience as Safe Hands, Saves Lives group marks one-year anniversary


By Hector MacKenzie

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GP Dr Ross Jaffrey launched the Safe Hands, Saves Lives group near the start of the pandemic. It has now marked its first anniversary of existence. Picture: Callum Mackay
GP Dr Ross Jaffrey launched the Safe Hands, Saves Lives group near the start of the pandemic. It has now marked its first anniversary of existence. Picture: Callum Mackay

LEARNING the valuable lessons of the coronavirus pandemic must be the legacy we leave future generations so we are better prepared for anything like this in the future.

That's the view of a Highland GP on the anniversary of setting up a Facebook group aimed at spreading the word on how good hand hygiene could help curb the spread of the virus.

Dr Ross Jaffrey has seen the Safe Hands, Saves Lives group he set up a year ago gather more than 10,000 members keen for factual daily updates and motivational messages.

Hand sanitiser produced by distilleries helped solve an immediate supply problem. Dr Jaffrey thanked distilleries for their swift response at a time of need.
Hand sanitiser produced by distilleries helped solve an immediate supply problem. Dr Jaffrey thanked distilleries for their swift response at a time of need.

Dr Jaffrey, who has overseen a number of Covid-19 vaccination clinics – the most recent staged at the Black Isle Showground – posted: "I cannot believe how many people have joined over the past year. I started this group last April trying to assist and promote the simple measures we needed to follow to avoid infection from COvid-19.

"It was a frightening time. Help within the community where I live and work enabled the purchase and distribution of free to use hand sanitiser refill stations right across Highland - when product was hard to source. The engagement was, and still remains, enormous. So many people have assisted these aims and have worked so hard to keep their communities safe.

"As a GP working in a close and friendly community I felt well placed to try and help. Your own individual efforts have helped stop this virus in its tracks. The assistance of local distilleries will never be forgotten - switching production from spirits to sanitiser almost overnight allowed Highland in particular to benefit from good hand hygiene supplies early on. "Dornoch, Invergordon, Glen Ord and Isle of Skye distilleries deserve a special mention - they all helped and contributed to this campaign. Ross County football club and their communications team also really helped push these ideas very early on. Similarly the Ross-shire Journal group have been so supportive helping get to drive further local support."

He also thanked "friends, colleagues and family for putting up with 'occasional' obsessive commitment to put measures and plans in place" and to Mike Atkinson and Eric Walker "for saving me the effort of putting up lots of graphs" allowing him to stick to "my little morning post and forget about the rest".

He said: "The sacrifices we have made and are continuing to make, together with the great advances in vaccine development, will end this pandemic.We must make sure we are better prepared for this in the future - it is the legacy we must leave for future generations."

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