I’ve been volunteering for a few years now, long before the current pandemic issues. I was in the Discharge Lounge, making tea, running to the kitchen, drinking tea, serving meals, carrying bags, running to the pharmacy, drinking more tea, and a lot of chatting to patients. Doing that meant I met some quite amazing people, an old lady who was a Polish refugee from World War 2, engineers, artists, dancers, soldiers, and many others, they all get ill and the hospital puts them back together. It was an enjoyable, comfortable role; the hospital worked smoothly and seemingly at it’s own gentle pace.
Then along came Covid …..
The hospital mobilised, and I have to say it was pretty damn impressive. Visitors were excluded, but now there were tons of new faces, doctors, nurses and health care workers brought in from surrounding NHS sites. Entire wards were moved, the very fabric of the building changed as wards had isolation entries built, apparently overnight.
As a volunteer my role changed too, we now had a central hub and were coordinated by a very dedicated team of just three NHS staff. Donations of all types simply poured in, from individuals to very large companies, we sorted and distributed those to very grateful frontline staff. Since visitors were now no longer allowed in the hospital my main role was delivering personal belongings that family members and friends had bought in for patients.
As I write this the very worst of COVID-19 has hopefully passed, but the hospital remains on “high alert” and ready to step up again should it be necessary.
And me? I still make tea and chat to patients 🙂