Staff at London hospital admit they've 'never felt more demoralised'

Doctors and nurses at London’s St George’s Hospital admit they break down in tears and feel ‘overwhelmed’ after watching people in their 20s dying of Covid as they urge people to follow lockdown rules

  • Nurses and consultants at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London share stories
  • Jane Evans, a consultant in acute medicine, said she fears staff will be ‘scarred’
  • Chloe Walker, a senior staff nurse, has endured ‘worst shifts of her entire life’ 
  • Nurse Hannah Packham cries ‘quite a lot’ when she gets home from work

Staff at one of the UK’s largest teaching hospitals have described in harrowing detail the ‘overwhelming’ situation faced by NHS workers across the country as they battle through the pandemic.

Nurses and consultants at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London, admitted to feeling ‘completely demoralised’, unable to sleep and crying at the end of shifts in a video shared by the BBC.

Jane Evans, a consultant in acute medicine, said she fears her staff will be ‘scarred’ by what they’re going through, while consultant Dr Dominic Spray spoke of seeing people in their 40s, 30s, and 20s dying of Covid in the intensive care unit.

‘There were many staff back in March who said, “I could never do this again”,’ Jane recalled.

Jane Evans, a consultant in acute medicine, said she fears her staff will be ‘scarred’ by what they’re going through

‘And then here we are, facing what seems at the moment to be a worse surge of patients with Covid and you see people are very tired, very stressed.

‘And that’s a real worry to us because we just do have to keep going because we have to be here for the patients. But I do worry, you know, about the scars that will leave some of our staff with.’

Chloe Walker, a senior staff nurse, spoke to the BBC after ‘one of the worst shifts of [her] entire life’.

Describing it as ‘intense’, she added: ‘I’m looking after many more sick patients than I’d normally look after.

Chloe Walker, a senior staff nurse, spoke to the BBC after ‘one of the worst shifts of [her] entire life’

‘It’s just overwhelming, the whole situation. You see the videos of the anti-Covid people, and you just think to yourself, what am I even doing? It demoralises me completely, I’ve never felt so demoralised in my life.’

Nurse Hannah Packham admitted she cries ‘quite a lot at the moment’ when she gets home from work.

‘We’re suffering with sleep problems, I think a lot of nurses and doctors at the moment,’ she revealed.

‘You just have to relax on your days off as best you can, ready, prepping yourself to come back again, is what I would say.’

Nurse Hannah Packham admitted she cries ‘quite a lot at the moment’ when she gets home from work

Hannah said her colleagues are more like family, which helps because they can let off steam with each other without feeling judged. 

She explained that ‘a lot’ of the staff at the hospital have had Covid, adding: ‘You can see the other side of what it could have been for you, because there seems to be no trend in who gets sicker sometimes and who isn’t, so you see the other side.

‘It could be your mum, your dad, your grandparent laying in the bed and you’re just trying to do your best for them.’   

Dr Spray spoke of his frustration at people who flout the coronavirus restrictions, pointing out that doing so has a ‘knock-on effect’.

‘Until you perhaps come in and see the wards and see the patients, then it hits home,’ he said.

Dr Spray spoke of his frustration at people who flout the coronavirus restrictions, pointing out that doing so has a ‘knock-on effect’

‘You see the nurses that are crying after their 12-hour shift and going home exhausted and drained. And then having to pick themselves up to come back in again the next morning. That’s when it hits home.’

He added that his staff have to ‘bite their lips’ when they hear of people having others round to their houses and see members of the public congregating in groups, such as at playgrounds, and not wearing their masks.

‘They have to bite their lips because you may not see the effects of it when you’re doing that, but we see the effects of it,’ he said.

‘We have people in their 40s, their 30s, their 20s on our intensive care unit, dying of Covid. We are having to think about whether we do cancer surgery, we’re having to postpone cancer surgery because of the number of Covid patients we have in.

‘So even if you don’t think you are doing any harm by bending the rules a little, you are. It has a knock-on effect, and we are seeing the knock-off effect here.’  

Yesterday Britain recorded another 830 Covid deaths as official statistics showed the number of daily fatalities has more than doubled week-on-week.

Department of Health bosses also posted another record-high number of daily cases, with 60,916 new infections added to the ever-growing toll.

The figures were released just half-an-hour before Boris Johnson faced the nation and revealed that one in 50 of the population of England – around a million people – are infected with coronavirus, while 1.3million people have now been vaccinated. 

Yesterday Britain recorded another 830 Covid deaths as official statistics showed the number of daily fatalities has more than doubled week-on-week

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