“I remember when the first patients with Covid-19 started arriving in our neighbouring hospitals in March 2020 and I thought we would soon have our first patient. On the 16 March our first patient was admitted. Initially I thought we would have a short sharp burst of patients and certainly didn’t think it would be so prolonged.
“It was a very strange situation. During lockdown our Emergency Departments were so quiet, which really concerned me and our staff coped in very different ways. Some were understandably frightened, but others were keen to get involved and work in our Critical Care departments and on our Covid receiving wards.
“Many of our junior doctors were keen to get involved and two years on, some of our doctors only know what it is like to work in pandemic conditions.
“Everyone worked together to do what was needed at the time. We set up our Gold, Silver and Bronze cells, which gave us the overarching view of the organisation. MS Teams was set up, so that staff could continue to communicate wherever they worked be that at home or in one of our hospitals.
“During our Covid peaks I worked on B14, which was one of our Covid receiving wards. I wanted to make sure that I could really understand what our staff were faced with and how they were coping under such pressure. I learnt so much from them, but what really stood out for me was their dedication and care was outstanding.
“Some of our staff really stepped-up and were natural leaders and I have a huge amount of respect for them. Our senior and experienced consultants really cared about the pastoral care of our junior doctors, who had never experienced anything like this before and some of our junior doctors don’t know what it is like to work in peace time, before Covid. This situation has heightened our awareness of mental health and supporting each other.
“There are many things that I am proud of and I have witnessed and heard some amazing things during the two years, but I am particularly proud of our EPRR team who have been working in the control team for the last two years and our research team, who were in the top 10 for recruiting patients with Covid to the Recovery Trial. This gave us a better understanding of how to help our patients and has shaped the way that we care for our patients now.”