A grieving father forced to bury his two-day-old son without the comfort of family and friends has criticised emergency services who gathered to clap for carers just hours later.
Jack Cameron, from Fife, described video footage of police officers and NHS staff ignoring social distancing rules while applauding health service workers in a hospital car park as “a slap in the face”.
— Glenrothes Police (@GlenrothesPol) April 16, 2020
The heartbroken 30-year-old has called for a public apology from organisers of the celebration outside Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy on Thursday, part of a weekly nationwide show of support for key workers.
Police and NHS Fife have both accepted social distancing guidelines were breached.
Earlier, just six people, including Jack and partner Sarah-Jayne Williams, were allowed to attend baby Logan’s funeral at Methilmill cemetery in Methil, 10 days after he died at Victoria Hospital. His twin sister survived.
Jack, from Methil, said the burial was restricted to immediate family due to fears over the spread of coronavirus.
“People are being told that at the saddest time of their lives they can’t have their loved ones with them because of social distancing but on the night my partner and I buried our son we had the same people who are enforcing these rules standing outside together,” he said.
“We had family members who were desperate to come and we had to say come to the street in your car but don’t leave your car, just so they could see the procession pass,” he said.
“These people had never met Logan because they couldn’t come into the hospital and they didn’t even get to say goodbye.
“I have nothing but the utmost respect for all the frontline workers, especially the NHS, but last night was a a slap in the face.”
Jack made it clear the treatment Logan and his family had received at Victoria Hospital had been excellent and added: “I’ll be on my doorstep again next week clapping with my family.
“We received a personal, heartfelt service from everyone involved – so much so that we are planning a charity event in Logan’s memory to raise money for the neo-natal department.”
NHS Fife said a small number of its staff had gone outside after being caught up in the moment but that it recognised social distancing guidelines must be adhered to.
A spokesman said workers appreciated the incredible support shown to the NHS and key workers as part of the #clapforcarers movement.
“A show of support on that scale and of that nature at our sites is unprecedented in the history of NHS Fife and our staff were humbled and moved by the gesture,” he said.
“A small number of our staff caught up in the moment went outside to mark the moment when the nation comes together each Thursday at 8pm to express their gratitude to the emergency services.
“We do however, recognise that our staff are ambassadors for the NHS and must abide by the social distancing guidelines that have been put in place across the UK to slow the spread, save lives and protect the communities we serve from the virus.”
Chief Inspector Tom Brown, local area commander for Central Division, Fife, said: “This event was arranged with the best intentions to provide visibility and recognition to all staff who are caring for us during this difficult time in line with the national #clapforcarers campaign.
“Unfortunately during this event there were breaches of social distancing guidelines.
“Advice was given to those taking part about the importance of social distancing to prevent future breaches and no further action was required.”
The Fife concerns follow criticism of an impromptu gathering on London’s Westminster bridge during Thursday’s clap for carers. Footage on social media showed large crowds of people failing to observe social distancing guidelines.
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