Hi everyone. We hope you are all well and looking forward to having some relaxing time with family or friends over the Christmas period.
What a year 2020 has been. It was a year that started pretty normally; Australia was recovering from the terrible Eastern-states bushfires from September 2019, but nothing particularly special from a global perspective was anticipated. But then reports started to emerge about a highly contagious new virus spreading across the Chinese Province of Wuhan. It seemed to have originated in markets selling wild animals, such as bats, for food. Coronavirus – COVID 19 – still seemed a long way away and not a risk to us here in Australia.
Over the course of January through March, the disease escalated alarmingly, not unlike the aforementioned bushfires. By late-March we had entered full lockdown. This entailed the rapid introduction of border controls, shutting of non-essential businesses, major restrictions on travel and strict limits placed on social gatherings.
From a medical perspective, it became clear that we were entering the most serious global pandemic since “Spanish Flu” (influenza) killed over 30 million people in 1918. It was uncharted territory. How would the sheer numbers of sick patients be managed? Would there be enough Intensive Care beds, or staff to service them? Was there enough Personal Protective Equipment to go round? Was there a cure? How do we find a vaccine?
Very fortunately for us in Western Australia, we found ourselves situated in probably the best place in the world to see out a pandemic. We have been able to appreciate the benefits of our isolated and beautiful location, the relative ease of controlling borders, and having an existing excellent health system ready to step up. It seems a long time ago now that we had our last case of community transmitted COVID, this being back on April 11th. But, when we see the news and hear from our friends and families overseas, we realise that hundreds of millions of people are still literally living in fear of their lives. It’s tragic and heart-breaking to see the ongoing plight of so many.
Next year is also set to be a tumultuous one in health. If the early results of a number of COVID vaccine trials continue to go well, it will prompt the greatest global vaccination program the world has ever seen – 1 billion-plus doses. There has been an unprecedented global effort from the scientific community to develop these vaccines in record time. It will be a massive logistical task to have this vaccine rolled out in such a way that it creates the most impact as quickly as possible, especially in poorer, more isolated countries. We will keep you fully abreast of all developments in this area.
After such a challenging year, at Azure Medical we have spent a great deal of time reflecting on how we can best continue to serve our community. To this end, we would like to take the opportunity to reiterate our key values, which guide us at every turn.
Our health, physical, psychological, social and spiritual, is always our greatest asset, and this year has only served to starkly remind us of that. When, as health professionals, we are entrusted with the responsibility to guide, educate and treat, we will give this commitment our utmost priority.
You cannot take chances when it comes to health. We must constantly strive to monitor, maintain and improve the quality of everything that we do, from reception and administration, through to our doctors, nurses and other clinicians.
This is a quality often forgotten about in today’s fast-paced, hectic, brutal world. Kindness for us means being friendly, generous and considerate, and ensuring that your experience at our clinic is relaxing, energising and fulfilling.
As 2020 draws to a close let’s remember to celebrate the positives in our lives. We’re coming through a tremendous challenge, and like many challenges, this can help us focus on what’s really most important in our lives – vitality, positivity, a sense of community, and the love of our friends and families.
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Dr Richard Newton and Colleagues,