Sacrifice and Support: How our NHS heroes have coped with such extreme conditions during the global pandemic
The global Covid-19 pandemic has taken it’s toll on everyone in many different ways over the past few months, causing grievances with the national lockdown, business and industry recession, and steady decline in both mental and physical health, however our NHS heroes have made the most sacrifices to keep the country running and it is something to be both proud and ashamed of.
Being on the frontline, the NHS have had to cope with these extreme conditions that have pushed their mental and physical boundaries to the limit, and for many of them, it is their first time even dealing with such a range of complex care. The pandemic has only now brought to light the poor working conditions, chronic workload, burnout through improper shift patterns, and the reliance that falls on their shoulders to train those straight out of universities or courses to upkeep learning opportunities and make sure new workers are safely trained in this new working lifestyle. And the stress of the frontline doesn’t stop when they return home from work either.
Image provided by our members.
Credit: Lee West
The sacrifices they make lie beyond the hospital shifts and home visits. For many, the frontline extends to their front door, caring for those in shielding at home and those who are most at risk, and for some this means a complete cut off from society and a lonely atmosphere no-one should have to face, especially in these unprecedented times. Being separated from loved ones at such a crucial time is essential, but this has only added to the chronic stress levels and mental strain. Hospitals are seeing vacancies of up to 50,000 registered nurses and a mass decline in staff early on into their careers as they simply do not want to put themselves through such turmoil, and this in turn has led to a lacking staff to patient ratio.
At it’s peak, Covid-19 caused a massive decrease in available beds and buildings to house at risk patients, meaning our front line had to work extra hard to upkeep these numbers and make additional housing visits to ensure proper care was being undertaken by those in shielding. These numbers have since decreased as the global cases have declined, but some nurses and doctors are still feeling the mental toll of dealing with the first wave. Particularly in feeling the effects of saying goodbye to patients and being a fill in family member when these patients are severely ill, with their best comforting efforts being alongside a virtual goodbye.
The public support towards the NHS heroes has however been massive and its gratitude touching. The Thursday evening clap caused an uproar in appreciation and heartfelt pride for many to see how much the public really did care about their NHS and those that provide for us at times of need. The window rainbows also made a massive impact with staff knowing they were being supported simply through a small passing window. As the weeks went on, this only solidified a socially distanced appreciation towards our heroes with pots and pans being banged on doorsteps and a cheer that made any of these workers really feel the support. With all their emotional and personal support they provide to their patients, and constant high moral to power through such rough conditions, particularly with interactions being limited to their working wards, it was the least the public could do to show their support.
Credit: Lorna Strachan
It is clear the extent these NHS heroes have had to give up in order to keep the country healthy and running to the best of its ability during such strange times. Seeing those who do not pull through, being isolated in their own homes, providing a constant empathy and stepping a sanitised foot first into the homes of those at risk are only some of the sacrifices these extraordinary workers have made without question. Despite being severely underpaid and underfunded, and with the clapping now a thing of the past, it is now more important than ever that we continue to fight and support those that put others before themselves and try to avoid any more stress on an already pressurised industry. We must continue to follow government measures, staying safe and aware of the risks, but also continue to fight to support our NHS workers so they can receive the level of care and equipment they need to remain safe and supported until we can once again be reunited.