NHS worker chooses to spend 21st birthday taking extra shifts at hospital

Jill Forbes, 21, has picked up extra shifts at the QEH hospital. Pictured with her mum Fiona Pickeri

Jill Forbes, 21, has picked up extra shifts at the QEH hospital. Pictured with her mum Fiona Pickering. Picture: Fiona Pickering - Credit: Archant

A young hospital worker who marked her 21st birthday by taking on extra shifts says she does not need the “perfect” day as she and her colleagues battle the coronavirus outbreak.

Jill Forbes, who works at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, turned 21 on Wednesday and was due to celebrate the special milestone with her family in Qatar.

Instead, she celebrated her big day over Facetime and has picked up extra shifts at the hospital’s maternity unit.

Read more: ‘Stay home, save lives’ - Canaries keeping in contact with supportersShe said: “I definitely think there are worse off people out there than me not having the perfect birthday. People’s loved ones are in hospital and so many people have lost their lives from this pandemic and others have cancelled weddings.

“All of the great staff at team QEH have joined together through the busy times at the moment. There is such a family feel around the hospital and everyone has done their part within QEH.”

The 21-year-old’s plans had involved spending the week seeing friends and family, attending camel racing and dining out, but she said she will rebook flights when it is safe to do so.

Read more: Map shows where the most elderly people live and need to be looked out forShe said support from the local community had been a boost.

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Miss Forbes added: “Even though we do not do the jobs we do for the thanks it has definitely brightened many days recently. The biggest thing anyone can do to help is to follow government advice and stay at home, help us to help you. I think everyone at the QEH has come together like one big family, I do think a massive thank you needs to go out to our domestic team as they are a massive part of keeping the hospital running.”

The 21-year-old also received a message of support from the hospital’s chief executive Caroline Shaw CBE, who said the hospital will do its best to make sure she has a “fab” birthday.

Read more: Coronavirus patient in 50s dies at Norwich hospitalHer mum Fiona Pickering has also tweeted how proud she was of her daughter.

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She wrote: “Today is my beautiful amazing daughters 21st birthday. The current situation means she can’t be here in Qatar with us, & not much of a celebration at home. So instead of partying this week she has picked up extra shifts on the maternity unit - proud to be her mum.”

Mrs Pickering, a former midwife at the QEH, added: “The only thing she asked for here [in Qatar] was to have happy birthday written on her dessert plate. Instead we Facetimed her opening her presents and cards. Everyone in the NHS is doing an amazing job at the moment in the ever changing circumstances. The most important advice I could offer is to look after each other. We will get the chance to celebrate when all of this is over, some people are not going to be as lucky.”

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