Staff at Hinckley and Bosworth Community Hospital have been sharing their experiences of working on the Covid front line.

Last year the hospital was designated as Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s primary location for dealing with Covid-positive patients. This was due to a combination of factors: The hospital has piped oxygen, which many of the patients needed. Its modern layout with separate rooms made it easier to isolate patients, and the wards are located away from other NHS services, which reduced the risks of infection spreading.

During the first 12 months as a Covid hospital, the staff treated 341 inpatients who were Covid-positive.

The staff said they relied on great teamwork to deliver care under challenging circumstances. They were also grateful for donations ranging from chocolates to rainbow drawings from the local community.

Claire Jex, a healthcare assistant, said: “It was worrying at the beginning, because nobody really knew what it entailed. But once we got into it, we just cracked on.”

Ruth Tandy, an Advance Nurse Practitioner, joined the hospital shortly before the second wave hit. She said: “We filled up very quickly. We started with about 18 patients and suddenly went up to 28. The majority of the patients were very sick.

“There were a lot that we didn’t think were going to make it, to then see them going home looking well – I don’t think there is any better feeling.”

Physiotherapy lead James Moore said: “Patients with Covid are very unpredictable. We had to adapt to that unpredictability, deal with PPE which was especially difficult during the hot months, and the relentlessness of it every day having to work in challenging conditions with patients with increased illness and dependency.

“It has been tough but everybody here has pitched in together and worked incredibly flexibly, the care we have delivered is phenomenal, I am so, so proud of everybody.

“I want to thank everybody who has sent thank-you letters, chocolate, biscuits, it is much, much appreciated. We have been working hard – it is because we care.”

Healthcare assistant Lorraine Burt said: “It has been scary at times, and very emotional. With the support of each other and the love of the public, we have got through it.”

Linda Mellor’s mother-in-law was treated at the hospital after becoming Covid-positive. She said: “We can’t thank them enough. They always had a smile on their faces, nothing was ever too much trouble, they always answered our questions.

“We can’t thank them enough for what they did for her. They were simply the best.”

Ruth Tandy suggested that there were better prospects for patients due to recent advances. She said: “The majority of people have had their vaccinations now, so although we are still getting Covid-positive patients, they tend not to be as sick.”

LPT also set up wards at Loughborough Hospital and at the Evington Centre, Leicester, to deal with extra patients during peaks of the pandemic. In addition, our community nursing and therapy patients cared for many Covid-positive patients in their own homes throughout the pandemic.

You can hear more from the Hinckley staff in this short video: