Heroes Campaign: Thank you to all NHS Heroes & Key Worker Heroes

Email your stories to heroes@medicareplus.co.uk

Dear Sir/Madam, 

My team at Medicareplus International would like to start by offering our truly heartfelt thanks to you and to all the NHS clinicians, staff and key workers for being on the frontline and doing a simply incredible job in helping us navigate through the current crisis. 

I, personally, have family and dear friends on the front line and so our intention is to spread positivity. 

We will solely be focussing on positive news and uplifting stories about what an individual or a department in the hospital has done through these times. We plan to share these on social media and via web banners on our website as well as via our Media partners. 

We want to show our appreciation for the NHS Heroes, NHS Volunteers and Key Worker Heroes by sharing your stories in a way that uplifts the spirit of the nation. This may be a simple write up or a short video.

 We will include your name/location details or alternatively, we can share posts anonymously; we will take the cue from you on this matter. 

Please share your positive news stories with us at heroes@medicareplus.co.uk or please do email me directly if you prefer or indeed, if you have any questions or other ideas. 

I hope that you will see the benefit of this initiative and look forward to hearing from you. 

And finally, thank you again!

 Yours sincerely, 

Mr. Kashyap R. Karia

Director of Commercial Affairs

The Sewing Bees -making NHS Scrubs for Local Hospitals during the COVID-19

Here we are in early May 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, shortly after the Brexit debacle that went on for the last 3 years. I won’t ponder on this as my article is not meant to be political, but recent history and austerity have undoubtedly played a role! Make of that what you will.

Recently I was responding to a Facebook request for old bedsheets and polyester cotton material for making NHS scrubs. Within 24 hours of this, I found myself sewing these scrubs myself, as part of a larger army of amateur dressmakers and seamstresses.

My little group of friends includes Sue, Sandy, Beatrice and Maxine and we are proudly called the Sewing Bees!

How did all of this come about?

Apparently, our government has been planning for a pandemic for 10 years. However, they thought it would be influenza and not such a debilitating pneumonia (if this is indeed the correct way to describe COVID-19).

More importantly, during the last few years, our supplies of NHS Scrubs and PPE  have been coming in from China as we no longer manufacture them within the UK. Since China became the first country to have the pandemic, the supply of scrubs to the world stopped, creating a UK national shortage of both scrubs and PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). And when my friends asked me if I was actually sewing these scrubs, rather than just supplying material, it got me thinking that I should be making these! Thirty years ago, I was an accomplished dressmaker (albeit amateur). So, I dusted down my trusty Singer sewing machine that was a gift for my 16th birthday; it was quite an advanced machine for those times 41 years ago! By the way, I am  57 if you haven’t worked that bit out yet.

I posted an offer of help to make these on my Facebook page and within 24 hours I was sat at the said sewing machine, starting my first set. I admit the first one took me 7.5 hours to make but now they take around 3.5 hours, as I started to get familiar again with both sewing and the pieces (pre-cut by another army of volunteers). So far, I have made 12 sets of scrubs and have taken them back to the lovely lady who is coordinating this voluntary project.

Hear from Our Heroes Karen Newport is running this mammoth task “Northwest Surrey for the Love of Scrubs” Facebook page, from her home in Staines with her family. As a tribute to her, I sat down to write this blog so that she gets the recognition for all her efforts in our local history book. What is remarkable is that she started this project with her own money, £7100 so far, and as yet has received no funding from Surrey County Council. Karen started a funding page and has nearly made her investment money back. Any further donations will enable her to buy more material, which has a limited supply source as other hospitals around the UK are also doing the same.

Together this home sewing army of 550 ladies is supplying 1000 scrubs to St Peters and Ashford Hospitals, Surrey and Middlesex, all coordinated by Karen who also works from home in her day job as a school Teaching Assistant. Interestingly, she also runs a smallholding behind her home in Staines, which is no mean feat. Karen’s day starts at 5 am to attend to her animals and to prepare material for the cutters to collect by 9 am and for the sewers to collect from 10 am onwards. I suspect her day finishes very late. Yet she does all this as we all do, for the love of our NHS and the carers, who are risking their lives every day to save ours from this dreadful virus.

That’s all for now folks… as we await more material, Karen has been approached by other hospitals to sew scrubs for them too. The scale is frightening and I hope that other hospitals get support from amazing ladies like the Sewing Bees.

If you wish to offer help in any way you can contact Karen below

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/karen-newport?utm_term=EYaamxvgK

Jackie Pearson, Shepperton

Dr. Dan O’Carroll salutes colleagues and friends 

Dan O Carroll Pic AnE ConsultantAs the first wave of the corona virus pandemic appears to be easing, it’s worth reflecting on what the NHS has managed to achieve in such a short space of time.

Whole system approaches, with adoption of new ways of working has meant that Emergency departments up and down the country have not been overwhelmed by the patients suffering from COVID-19. Every single member of staff has stepped up, from porters and domestics, without whom we couldn’t do our jobs seeing the patients, to the surgeons who took on training to help to care for the tickets patients being ventilated on Intensive care.

When the first ‘clap for carers’ took place, I was indifferent towards it, and didn’t expect it to take off and to be embraced by the general public with such enthusiasm, but as it seemed to have grown in scale back week, you can’t help but be touched by the long overdue outpouring of appreciation for the NHS staff, who really have risen to this greatest of challenges.

All of the staff have been deeply touched but by the incredibly kind donations of food from local businesses, which surely must be struggling to keep afloat, and from private individuals, including children, donating essential provisions for staff, when the supermarkets were struggling in the early days of this crisis.

It means a great deal to the staff to know that the public are thinking about them and are appreciating the work that is being done, this is particularly poignant when colleagues and friends have fallen ill and even died from this virus.

I’ve never been prouder to work for the NHS and with these exceptional people, they really are inspirational, and it shows what we can achieve when they are given the appropriate resources.

Dr. Dan O’Carroll – A&E Consultant, Birmingham

 

Proud NHS pensioner supports NHS staff during COVID-19

Janet’s Inspiring Story

Hear from our Heroes Being in our late 70s, my husband and I were amongst those advised to self -quarantine for 12 weeks when the pandemic hit.

As a proud NHS pensioner who worked for the NHS for nearly 30 years in various roles, and having a daughter who is a nurse, I was keen to help support the NHS staff in any way I could. I originally applied to be an NHS Volunteer but couldn’t be accepted due to not having a Smartphone to download the app.

My daughter mentioned having seen a Facebook group calling for volunteers to make scrubs for the  NHS staff who were in desperate need, so I joined the group to see how I could get involved.

I was able to get a basic pattern from the site but needed to source the material for the scrubs. Therefore, I reached out to friends and family who rallied together and sent material, duvet covers – in fact, anything that could be made into scrub sets. I also received lots of pillowcases which gave me the idea to make scrubs bags too. Neighbours heard about my work and also supported me by raiding their laundry shelves to donate materials of all sorts for me to use.

On the first Thursday evening ‘Clap for our carers’ I was the only person in our cul-de-sac who was out clapping. As a result of my work on the scrubs, the whole street was out every Thursday evening clapping for our carers. Moreover, we also have a daily Coffee morning (socially distanced of course – each in our own gardens) which has cheered us all up. Since it’s predominantly the over 70s on our street and some people living on their own, the Coffee morning and chats helped us all to connect and alleviate the isolation and loneliness. It’s something we all look forward to each day.

I’ve lost count of the number of scrub sets I have now sewed. I’ve also had requests for scrubs bags from the community nursing teams, which I have happily met. I plan to carry on sewing for as long as there is a need in the community.

I truly hope that the kindness and compassion towards each other that we’ve seen over the past few weeks will continue even after this crisis has passed. If there’s anything positive we can take from this situation, being kinder and thinking of other people a little more is what I would wish for.

The NHS – a second family       

Maria & Aisha’s Story

 

This is Maria (left) and Aisha (right). They work on the Haematology Ward in a NHS hospital. Maria who is from Poland, is a cleaner and Aisha is a junior doctor. Maria is 4 months pregnant and continues to work in areas that are low risk for COVID-19.

 

 

 

Both Maria and Aisha work on a ward that treats patients who are often at high risk of getting severe infection. It is mandatory for them to wear PPE when seeing each and every patient, even if they do not have COVID – 19. This is to prevent any chance of spread of infection.

These two often enjoy little chats during their evening shifts on the ward. They get to know about their families, where they are from and also discuss the current situation of COVID – 19 … a small example of how the NHS is their second family.

HEAR FROM OUR HEROES 
HEAR FROM OUR HEROes

Dr. Nitin Raje-Ghatge shares his expert opinion on Mental Health maintenance during lockdown 

Hear from our HeroesI have come across a vast number of people with Mental Health & Addiction problems and how it affects not just the patients but also the people they live with.

Addiction & alcoholism are often stigmatised and looked down upon in affluent as well as the not so privileged sections of society.

In the usual course of therapy to people with mental health and addiction issues, I recommend reaching out to socialise, meet people and discuss. Unlike in the case of the current lockdown, where we are expected to isolate ourselves from the world outside. Such severe forms of isolation can push patients through mild to severe forms of withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, depression, paranoia and fear. It can escalate in other forms of problems like self harm, violence/domestic abuse, aggression, sleeplessness, panic attacks and even suicidal thoughts.

I recommend to use the lockdown opportunity to:

  • Channelise your energies in a very positive way
  • Self reflect
  • Use creative ways like art, music, drawing, blogging, poetry writing to keep yourself occupied
  • Engage in simple things like cooking, cleaning your homes and even gardening
  • Promote that positivity
  • Interact and reach out to your own people, friends and family
  • Create a gratitude list – call your parents and friends
  • Virtually connect with the world outside

For all friends and patients who are struggling to cope with physical and emotional stress related withdrawals, please note that there is help out there in the form of medication and counselling. Alternative methods of self-help include exercising, yoga and meditation techniques. There is significant material available on Google and YouTube such as meditative music therapy.

Please do not hesitate to reach out for help. You can contact your loved ones for immediate assistance, but you can also reach out to me for any queries.

Dr. Nitin Raje-Ghatge – MD, DMLS, DFMS (London)

Note: Dr. Nitin Raje-Ghatge can be reached via:

Email: drnitinrajeghatge@gmail.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nitin-raje-ghatge-9755a55/

Postie Colin McAlpine’s bagpipes brightens up the village’s day

Postie Colin McAlpine HeroFor me as a Village Postie, I became acutely aware of the changes to people’s routines as soon as the Schools closed. There was a lot of uncertainty and confusion for everyone leading up to Lockdown but there was also a bonding together, a solidarity if you will, from an unexpected source. It came from the youngsters in the form of the Children’s Rainbow. I began to see it everywhere along with messages of support for the NHS and Key Workers. Almost every window has a hand drawn poster, walls and pavements are adorned in chalk drawings and positive messages.

A couple of people in the Village knew I played the bagpipes and asked if I could play a few tunes outside their houses. I was a bit nervous about doing that as the Pipes are a bit like Marmite – you either love them or you don’t and they aren’t exactly discreet. However, I played one afternoon, when I had finished, it seemed the whole of the street were stood in their doorways applauding and shouting their thanks for brightening up their day. I have played at several spots in the Village since. From my perspective, playing a few tunes is no hardship for me but if it helps take people’s minds off the current situation and gives them something else to talk about, then I feel I have helped.

Colin McAlpine – Bestwood Village, Nottingham Postman

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