A woman invited me to share a lift with her last week. The lifts were playing up and we were both returning to a multi-storey car park with grocery-laden trollies.

Despite the sign on the wall suggesting ‘one household at a time’ my fellow shopper said she didn’t mind and I could be waiting there for ages; as had she.

In other times this innocuous act of social cooperation and kindness wouldn’t register but it has become a rare commodity, as eye care professionals working through Covid-19 will know. It was a timely reminder that the pandemic is taking its toll on people’s patience and testing their resolve to follow the rules when, for others, life seems to be returning to normal.

Abusive patients have become a reality for practitioners as highlighted by Andrew Thornton (see 7 Days) last Thursday during Optician’s webinar on work life after covid. (www.optician jobsweeklywebinars.co.uk).

He wanted to know why the professional bodies weren’t
standing up for the profession in the face of this. Richard Edwards, clinical consultant at the Optical Consumer Complaints Service, one of the webinar’s speakers, duly fired off an email. I look forward to a joint communique from the optical bodies showing their outrage and full backing for frontline staff.

It must also make us remember that the pandemic has dealt some a very different hand from others. I, like other journalists, members of trade associations, regulators, office workers and pen-pushers everywhere will be seen as the Covid aristocracy. No commuting, school run, walk the dog and full pay. It’s hard to smell the breath of an irate patient from your home office.

Edwards informed the discussion that this pattern of reduced tolerance was seen across all markets and peaked around the time of Barnard Castle-gate. Given the latest shenanigans, literally in the corridors of power, frontline staff need high profile support now.