Health and care workers will be given the freedom of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough if local Causeway DUP Councillor John McAuley gets his way.
A Notice of Motion proposed by Cllr John McAuley and seconded by Coleraine DUP Councillor Philip Anderson has been sent to the Chief Executive and will come before council in due course.
The Notice of Motion reads:
‘That this Council award the Freedom of the Borough to health and care workers who are providing selfless, dedicated and high-quality lifesaving care to patients and family members in NHS facilities, community settings and households across Causeway Coast and Glens Borough during unprecedented times under the deadly threat of Covid-19.’
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service about his reasons for bring the motion, Cllr McAuley said: “Thanks to the service and sacrifice of NHS and care workers across the borough many lives that would be otherwise lost to the indiscriminate Covid-19 have and will be saved.
“As a result, children, young people, parents and grandparents will be able to enjoy longer and enriched lives when this threat has passed. It is right and fitting therefore that as a borough and a community we publicly recognise and value the contribution of our health and care workers.
In hospitals, GP practices, out-of-hours surgeries, care homes, pharmacies, special Covid centres, drive-through testing facilities and laboratories, local health and care staff have worked under immense pressure and demand to lead and support the first line of defence against this dreadful virus.
“This has often involved working extra hours and taking on new or varied responsibilities, whilst maintaining compassionate and patient-centred care in each case. In addition, within households across the borough paid and unpaid carers, often family members, have continued to provide caring responsibilities to vulnerable residents and loved ones without hesitation, often at increased risk to their own health.
“This collective dedication has often came at a great personal cost, with staff in some instances choosing to live separately from their loved ones, including their children, husbands and wives, in order to protect them for the duration of the crisis.
“We are overwhelmed and humbled by reports of staff at residential care homes moving in to live with residents until the threat passes. These selfless actions and a willingness to put themselves at risk in order to protect the lives of others has exemplified the frontline response. In conferring the Freedom of the Borough, we reiterate our heartfelt gratitude to each and every member of staff for their service to our wellbeing.
“At this stage, I am not sure on the timescale of it proceeding through council or the opinions of other councillors but I sincerely hope my proposal gets full support.”