A minute silence will be held today to honour those workers who lost their lives to COVID-19
Today at 11 am the country will fall silent to honour those in the NHS who have died of coronavirus
A much-loved Edinburgh Royal Infirmary worker who dedicated her life to helping others will be among healthcare staff who lost their lives to Covid-19 to be remembered with a minute’s silence today.
More than 100 health and social care workers in the UK have died during the pandemic, including NHS Scotland employees Jane ‘Ma’ Murphy, Janice Graham and Kirsty Jones.
Their dedication to others will be remembered on Tuesday (28th) at 11am across the UK on International Workers’ Memorial Day.
Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary Rozanne Foyer said the Covid-19 outbreak will give this year’s commemorations “an added poignancy”.
Ms Murphy, who was 73, had dedicated more than 30 years of her life to NHS Lothian.
She started working at ERI as a cleaner before retraining to become a clinical support worker in the hospital’s busy A&E department.
Tragically, she succumbed to the coronavirus on April 16 after suffering pneumonia.
Her death prompted an outpouring of emotion among colleagues and close family and friends in Bonnyrigg, where the mother of two grown-up sons lived.
Tributes included a Facebook post from colleague Amanda Williams who said: “Jane Murphy was a much loved, long serving and adored member of our ED family who died today.
“I feel so lucky to have been by your bedside only a few days ago, holding your hand and telling you how much you were loved!
“Dance with the stars Jane, I love you.”
Another online tribute from a colleague added: “It’s an honour and a privilege to do the job we do. The ED and all those who knew and loved Jane will never be the same again.
“My thoughts are with all of Janes family and friends during these extraordinarily difficult, harrowing days”
NHS worker Neil Murray said: “I worked with Jane for five years. She was kind, caring and had a great sense of fun. She will be greatly missed.”
Stephen Murphy, posted an emotional tribute online: “Rest in Peace mum. You will never be forgotten. Love you.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the Scottish Government will join in the minute’s silence after it was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
She said: “The silence will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to those who have died as a result of their work to serve, care for and save others, and it will be a further reminder that of all the duties Government bears during a situation like this, the most vital is our obligation to keep care
and health workers safe.
“I and the Scottish Government are acutely aware of that responsibility and will work each and every day to do everything we can to fulfil that obligation.”
The STUC will hold an online event to remember workers who have died, with Ms Foyer saying: “Every year we mark International Worker’s Memorial Day in recognition of those who die in the course of their work and the impact this has on their families and loved ones.
“Many of these outcomes are preventable with proper health and safety practices.
“Of course, this year there is an added poignancy as we know that many more people will have lost their lives through exposure to the coronavirus while delivering key services.
“We know that over 100 health and social care workers have lost their lives across the UK.
“We suspect that the actual figure is considerably higher. We have also tragically lost health, care and other key workers in Scotland.”
She added: “On this day, we do not just remember the dead, we resolve to organise to protect the living.
“We still concerned at the lack of PPE on the front-line and that we are so far behind some other countries in terms of testing for key workers, their families and the wider public.
“Now is absolutely not the time to let up in the fight to keep our workplaces safe, to maintain lock down in non-essential workplaces, provide proper PPE and testing and to ensure that profit does not come ahead of protecting our workers.”
The local government body Cosla will also observe a minute’s silence at 11am, with this taking place during its workforce issues group, which will be chaired by its president Alison Evison.
She said: “I would encourage others to unite and light a candle, not only in remembrance of those who have lost their lives but to show our support for essential workers and the efforts being made to keep them safe at work during this unprecedented and challenging time.”
Ms Evison also thanked council workers who are providing essential services.
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