'We don't want a second wave' warns Harrogate intensive care consultant

An intensive care consultant at Harrogate District Hospital has opened up about her team’s experiences of looking after Covid-19 patients during the pandemic.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 12:30 pm

Dr Sarah Marsh says she cannot thank her staff enough for the way they have stepped up and put patients first throughout the crisis, no matter their personal situation.

With cases now reducing in number across the region, there are definite signs that Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust may have got through the worst of the pandemic. But nobody is about to rest easy while there remains the threat of a second wave hitting the country.

Intensive Care Consultant, Dr Sarah Marsh.

Dr Marsh said: “It really has been an incredible rollercoaster - and very bittersweet.

“In one way, we have been very fortunate here because we saw what was unravelling across the rest of the world and that gave us time to plan and prepare as best we could.

“It also spread much quicker in the south of the country at the beginning, so by the time we had Covid patients here we had a little bit more understanding about what we were dealing with.

“I really have never seen anything like it, but the spirit of my team just felt unstoppable.

Intensive care nurse, Josh Priestley.

“It was all hands on deck and completely all-consuming, but everyone just pulled together without a question.”

It hasn’t all been plain sailing, though.

Dr Marsh says the pandemic has posed a real challenge for staff, both physically and mentally, but the resillience they have shown has been breathtaking.

She added: “Of course this has been a very difficult and challenging time and we are very aware of the scale of what is going on and the responsibility we hold. But the flexibility, resillience and sheer determination of all my staff, as well as other departments, has been incredible.

“Everyone who does this job does so because of how much they care and want to help people. We have all had our own struggles during all of this - people have had family members becoming ill or losing their jobs - and it hasn’t been easy for anyone to be in lockdown and not be able to go out and enjoy themselves.

“But in spite of that, my team have continued to put patients and their loved ones first because it’s the only thing they know how to do.

“Looking after people is what they live and breathe.”

As lockdown restrictions are eased across the country and pubs, bars and restaurants are now open to the public, Dr Marsh wants to remind residents that the crisis is far from over and safety must still come first.

After seeing so many people struggle with the virus and the devastation it has caused their families, she says we must do everything we can to limit the spread.

She said: “It’s great that people are able to get out and about more now but it is absolutely imperative to follow the Government advice. People must continue to social distance, wash their hands regularly and self isolate if they have any symptoms.

“The virus is still there and we musn’t forget or become complacent. The last thing we want is a second wave.

“My team have put the lives of others before themselves and we just hope that people will respect that by being safe and responsible.”

'It makes no exceptions' says nurse

Harrogate hospital intensive care nurse, Josh Priestley, has thanked residents for their support during these difficult times, through donations and the clap for carers, but is now urging them to consider the toll the virus has taken on so many people and to take the Government guidelines seriously.

He said: “It is disheartening to see the few who ignore the severity of Covid-19 and the precautions it demands.

“Working up close with coronavirus makes you realise the harsh reality of the disease - it makes no exceptions. Currently, the lull in cases doesn’t mark the end. There is still no vaccine.

For healthcare staff, it’s a relief, but tensions are still high, especially with measures being relaxed.”

Josh only started his position in September and has been working on the unit throughout the pandemic.

He says despite the difficulties, the crisis has shown the true strength of the NHS and its staff.

He added: “As always, I think the NHS continues to show it’s strength despite increased cut backs and pressure, and even during these difficult months, we have all banded together as a team to keep morale up, to keep going and look out for one another.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you.