On the NHS frontline in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic – BBC Newsnight

published on July 28, 2020

down below the wards the comings and goings are constant there are meals meds and masks the quantities swelling as the NHS is mobilized the phone's been ringing every 5 minutes or so with sending stuff up to wards and all around

The hospital at 18 Imogen Blake only started working here as a medical secretary two months ago with all non-essential appointments on hold she switched to helping distribute supplies I think it's such an

Amazing time just to join the NHS I mean obviously I didn't know this was gonna happen to you months ago but I feel really proud to be working here and I'm really glad that I am here people say oh you're working law school now it must be

A weird time to be there yeah but it's really exciting and it's really interesting to see how the hospital copes with this sort of situation it's a big learning curve and that rapid learning process takes many forms here

Just as people are being redeployed physical space is being redesignated we've seen patients here this afternoon turning up with suspected coronavirus and this hospital that's now divided it's any department with a whole half

Specifically for people who believe they may have the virus that's the kind of thing that's going on in hospitals across the country down on level 2 what was a stroke Ward has been converted into a specialist kovat 19:1 with up to

80 beds Helen Benfield was the matron or senior nurse chosen to run it my Clinical Director volunteered me because I've got acute medical skills and actually I was really happy to do that

Not a prehensile taking on that responsibility no of course there's apprehension no I think we're all anxious the response of staff volunteering to work on that unit has been incredible and a lot of people

Have said that that's where they'd like to be they want to do their bit they want to be able to to help the patient's want to be helped help in this crisis the serious case is people who can no longer breathe unaided get transferred

To the intensive care unit where doctors fear the awful choices about who gets intensive care that this pandemic could bring I've reflected on that both professionally as a doctor and individually as a as a potential patient

As intensive care doctors we frequently in our normal working make decisions about the appropriateness or otherwise of the care that we have to offer what a pandemic situation like this does potentially takes us to the point where

We having to make decisions simply on what capacity we have and how that relates to the demand that's presenting to us that's not a comfortable situation for any doctor or any healthcare worker to make and we hope that our preparation

On our planning prevents us from ever having to make those decisions but if we do we will have to but it won't be done simply on the basis of age or any single variable it's it's going to be broadly based upon our ability to do the

Greatest good for the greatest number of people we're not going to film in this specialist coronavirus ward patient's own relatives only get very limited ability to see them in there there's just too much going on we wouldn't want

To get in the way but the hospital can scale up even further having created 60 beds here and another 20 in the intensive care unit they've got a plan if necessary to devote up to 200 beds to treating patients suffering

From the virus the hospital did film these shots for us inside the ward from a trickle of patients three weeks ago when they opened they've now treated hundreds they

Reckon they're about ten days behind the hard pressed London hospitals 14 of the patients here did not survive including four who died on the day we filmed and those looking after them understand that this toll can only grow now we have

Patients died on wards and units it is distressing it is upsetting and part of my role is to make sure as nurses and the healthcare support workers we are enabling those patients to have a most dignified death that they possibly can

We know there's a reduction in relatives visiting so I think it's even more crucial for our role to make sure if patients are dying that we are there with them and caring for them they call this maternity hill here and in many

Other parts of the hospital protective equipment is not worn but anyone in close contact with patients does use it some staff have already fallen ill others have had to stay at home in isolation because a family member has

Shown symptoms there's clear frustration among medics that there isn't a better system of testing for the virus our workforce is being severely compromised by people either having to self isolate at home because a family member may have

Coronavirus infection or because the health care worker themself does being able to determine conclusively whether those people are truly infected or not would undoubtedly result in their faster return to work of a great number of

Health care workers and that would make it much easier for us to respond in a way that we'd like to respond so the sooner that is able to be spread out and and and distributed and ramped up so that's all health care staff or their

Family members who are acquiring them to sell factly isolate Aleph will not be at work yeah the better it can't come soon enough the mood here I suppose you could sum up as one of anxious anticipation of people

Having a sense that this hospital like so many across the country is about to undergo a great trial they've done so much to prepare for it but you really feel that many people would just like to get it over with now

and across Salisbury and the country people have come out to applaud the NHS and support its people in a variety of ways that's caught the medics by surprise but in a good way I find it

Really really overwhelming we feel we're doing our job you know this is a job that we do every day so it does feel a little bit surreal though that those that support out there I've been overwhelmed actually by the amount of

Contact people have made with me and and the office of Hope that have been made to me and my family sooo to keep us going through what's likely to be a difficult period to see the the national community response to to the the NHS

Response to this as is really it's very moving and heartwarming to be perfectly honest well you really are carrying the hopes of the nation on you in that sense if you say so

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