Life during the pandemic

Submitted by John

Famously quoting Boris Johnson and his new year’s tweet on the 1st January 2020.”This is going to be a fantastic year for Britain.”(How wrong was he!!)

2020 hasn’t been the easiest year for many of us, but we are incredibly proud to be doing our bit to help the people in need. At the start of the pandemic many if not all of our staff were being re-deployed to other parts of the hospital where they were needed most. We are proud of how well we adapted to maintain essential services in an ever changing climate.

Throughout the first lockdown we managed to totally reorganise the department with a lick of paint and changing seating to cope with social distancing. Our fantastic team of volunteers were no longer permitted to come and work with us so we needed to find a system for helping our receptionists to direct patients to the correct waiting area. So the overalls and paint came out! Along with colour coding the waiting areas and coloured tape along the walls to help guide patients.

Throughout the first lockdown the outpatients team were very fragmented with most of our staff redeployed to Covid wards or having to shield. While in these very stressful times we did a have a saving grace, in that we set up a group chat, so whenever we were low and needed a cheer up the whole team were on hand to help out and support each other. One year on and the group chat is still going strong, chats have changed slightly from support to comical GIF’s and pictures of food!

There have been some amazing changes that we have managed to introduce within outpatients like being able to accommodate “Attend Anywhere”(Virtual) clinics where clinicians have access to dual screens, which has proven to be a great success.

I think some of the hardest times in our life turned out to be some of the most memorable. Having only been with the team for a little under 18 months, the past year has been a steep learning curve for us all.

Having to adapt and change how we work and taking on even more responsibility. We are all incredibly proud of each other and I believe many of us wouldn’t change a thing.

Christmas during lockdown 3.0 proved to be a lot more sombre than previous years, thankfully most of our staff were back from redeployment so we could be a team once more.

Christmas for many had been hard with changing rules and not having the chance to see friends and family over the festive period. For many of us coming into work has been a Godsend, sometimes the only people who you could see or even chat too was your work colleagues, throughout this past year it has shown how strong we all are and how supportive we can be.

Things will never be the same again. But in some ways, the likes of telephone appointments and virtual consultations have been hugely beneficial. I think if you had to ask anyone within the NHS if they thought those would be possible pre Covid they would either have laughed or said “that’s way in the future”.


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