STAFF gathered outside Forth Valley Royal Hospital today to remember those affected by the coronavirus pandemic over the past month.

Doctors, nurses and hospital staff gathered for a minute's silence at midday on the National Day of Reflection, March 23.

They were joined by chief executive Cathie Cowan, director of acute services Andrea Fyfe and hospital chaplain Philip Hacking.

Ms Cowan said: “This has been an incredibly difficult year and it’s important to take some time to reflect on everything that has happened over the last 12 months.

“I would like to thank staff across the organisation for their care and compassion and to remember everyone affected by the ongoing pandemic.”

The hospital has seen a busy start to the year, at times caring for as many as 170 patients with recently confirmed Covid-19.

However, the past two weeks have brought improvements across the board, with only 21 coronavirus patients reported on the Day of Reflection.

Andrea Fyfe, director of acute services, added: “Staff have worked very hard to support local patients and families and I’m in awe of everything they have done and continue to do in very challenging circumstances.

“It’s good to take time to reflect and look at what we have learned over the last year.

“There have been many sad and poignant times but we are also hopeful for the future as we continue with our recovery plans and ongoing work to provide safe and effective care for local patients.”