They were called on to step up to the plate as Hull’s hospitals prepared for the COVID-19 outbreak, and staff on Ward 1 at Hull Royal Infirmary set aside their own concerns to be there for patients.
Since the beginning of March, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has been working round the clock so Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital can provide the best possible care for people with the signs of COVID-19.
Changing Ward 1 from an acute medicine rapid discharge ward to a ward looking after people with suspected COVID-19 until the results of their screening tests are known was one of the first steps as preparations ramped up.
Julia Denley, Senior Matron in Acute Medicine, said: “I am tremendously proud of the staff on Ward 1. They took the challenge in their stride.
“Although initially anxious for their own safety and that of their families, they have followed all the advice from the infection control, arrived every day and night for their shifts and worked tirelessly as a team supporting not only themselves but the patients and relatives who have been anxiously awaiting the results.
“Their team spirit and tenacity to get a job done well has blown me away.”
Staff at both hospitals have been volunteering their services as the trust prepares to admit patients with COVID-19. While the vast majority of people who contract the disease will experience only mild or moderate symptoms, a small proportion will require hospital care.
With non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments cancelled last week, teams from these areas are undergoing retraining to be redeployed to other parts of the hospitals to assist frontline staff.
People have been seconded from their normal day-to-day jobs to coordinate the trust’s response to the outbreak.
From porters, housekeepers, estates, admin and support staff to nursing and midwifery teams, consultants, theatre staff doctors and allied health professionals, every department in the trust is assisting senior management planning and coping for COVID-19.
Chief Operating Officer Teresa Cope said: “I have never been more proud to work for the NHS. What I have seen over these past few weeks has given me confidence that our trust and our 9,000 staff are ready to help the people of Hull and the East Riding.
“We will do what it takes. We have the plans in place and our staff are already working above and beyond.
“We are in it together and people should be assured that our staff will do whatever they need to do to get us through this, however long it takes.”
[Allison Coggan – Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust]