Health and social care staff are heroes all year round

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:23 09 March 2018

East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) crews praised for their work in the snow. Photo: Rob Adams

East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) crews praised for their work in the snow. Photo: Rob Adams

Rob Adams

If we did not already know the dedication of health and social care staff in our region - we do now.

Last week brought some of the worst weather Norfolk has seen for many years, as the Beast from the East trapped people in their homes, made it impossible to travel, and in one tragic case took a man’s life.

But the county’s health and social care workers were defiant in the face of the Beast - and they said ‘you will not beat us’.

The stories which appeared in the pages of this newspaper last week were, I am sure, only the tip of the iceberg.

But staff trekked for hours through snow and ice to make sure they saw patients, whether at home or at hospital.

Social carers knew how crucial their visits were, so strapped on their snow boots and braved the blizzard.

In one example, paramedics and fire crews spent nine hours trying to reach a patient. Unable to drive to them, they put their equipment on sledges and resorted to what has been described as an ‘arctic expedition’ to ensure they got there.

And that is without the generous members of the public and the farmers who used their better-equip vehicles to dig out stranded motorists - and in many cases ambulances.

It is - as ever- a difficult time to work in health and social care.

As the annual NHS staff survey, released this week, showed some staff feel demoralised, underpaid, and under-appreciated.

But the overwhelming feeling which poured out to those staff last week - like it does many weeks - was one of gratitude.

Gratitude that while many of us were able to stay safe and warm, wrapped up with our families at home, these heroes faced the Beast head on and said staying at home was never an option.

Gratitude from those at the top of organisations for the committed people they have working on their front lines.

But most of all, gratitude that this is the attitude these staff have all year - not just in times of crisis - and for that we thank them.

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