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As we near the end of the year in which this resonated with us all so strongly, no doubt we will reflect on the lengths to which so many in our communities have gone to protect our health.

And that many are continuing to do so across the holiday season.

Of course we thank everyone in the health and aged care sectors and scientists searching for solutions. Then there is everyone from the decision makers in government to transport and retail workers. The volunteers who spend time with people to keep them above the water as life’s challenges start to mount. The IT teams who enable us to keep in touch and for work to continue. Teachers, cleaners, logistics people – the list is long.

As I work with medical practitioners, I’m going to focus on acknowledging their efforts and shine a light on the increased and less obvious burdens they have dealt with this year.

For many around the world, what is already a difficult job at the best of times was pushed to the limit with enormous workloads and stress. Going home is at times not possible to minimise exposure to families. In Australia, we continue to see pictures of overcrowded hospitals and for the most part, with the exception of Victoria, our communities have been spared.

For prevocational doctors, their training was disrupted significantly and new ways of delivering teaching had to be found. The support and supervision usually available was also affected in many cases, requiring doctors to push further and assume new responsibilities outside of their experience. Throughout this, doctors still have to apply for roles for their next year and wrangle exams and interviews.

So as restrictions will continue to come and go and at times this will mean disappointment and hardship, let’s not lose sight of Mr Emerson’s wisdom and the efforts being made by so many.

Congratulations to all who have risen to the challenges and made a difference to our lives. And here’s to a bright and healthy year ahead.

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