St Richard’s Hospital Laundry Covid Story

Submitted by Laundry team at St Richard’s

In early 2020 with the Covid virus starting to spread throughout the population there was much concern and anxiousness within the department as to what might be, plans were being discussed for ‘worst case scenarios’ to prepare for an increase in work volumes plus the possibility of a significant reduction in work force and so on.

Thankfully during the ‘first wave’ of the infection none of these measures were required with no confirmed Covid cases within the departments, staff and only a few having to ‘self isolate’ as a precautionary measure.

During this time there was a decrease in work volumes due in part to the preparations the trust was putting in place to prepare for a significant increases in Covid cases being treated within the trusts hospitals, things at this time seamed ‘surreal’ as what we as a department were expecting to happen and what was happening differed.

The next few months were similar to the previous as work volumes remained fairly consistent and there were no confirmed cases within the department, over this time staff members were offered a blood test for Covid antibodies this offered staff some relief and reassurance as results were coming back negative.

Things however were soon to change with the first confirmed case of the Covid virus within a laundry staff member being towards the end of 2020, this also resulted in two further staff members having to ‘self isolate’ immediately in line with NHS ‘Test and Trace’ requirements.

As Christmas approached and infection rates within the population were rapidly increasing  with the ‘second wave’ work loads began to significantly increase with some staff members having to ‘self isolate’, this posed some logistical challenges for management and staff alike especially with the work loading requirements for the Christmas period.

It was also at this time that several members of staff within transport departed caught the Covid virus with  some further staff  having to ‘self isolate’ as a result, unfortunately in early 2021 one of the transport team sadly passed away as a result of contracting the virus, this was a ‘wake up call’ to all in the laundry and transport department causing great sadness and concern for everyone.

It was the beginning of January that all staff were offered their first dose of the COovid vaccination causing a sense of relief among staff members, with most of them having the vaccination.

It was also at this time the trust tested all staff within department for the COVID virus (staff were self testing before this), unfortunately as a result of this one of the laundry staff members tested positive leading to a further eight members of the laundry staff having to ‘self isolate’, this coupled with existing staff and management ‘self isolating’ caused some major concerns and logistical problems for the remaining managers and staff, fortunately the army were ‘called in’ to cover the staff shortages which was a tremendous help over this very difficult and concerning time.

Over this very challenging, tough and worrying time all of the management and staff within the departments have pulled together working weekends, nights, early starts and later finishes to ensure all work requirements were met.

With the majority of us within the department now having had our second dose of the vaccination and the relaxing of certain ‘lock down’ measures we all look forward to a return to ‘normality’ and better times.


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