Community healthcare staff came together to keep care the priority

PUBLISHED: 15:22 02 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:25 02 March 2018

Staff from NCHC with their wheelchair snowman. Photo: NCHC

Staff from NCHC with their wheelchair snowman. Photo: NCHC


Staff at the county’s community healthcare trust have spoken out over the hard work of those staff who struggled into work through the snow.

Kath Amblin's journey to work at NCHC. Photo: NCHCKath Amblin's journey to work at NCHC. Photo: NCHC

Rachel Limon, children’s community occupational therapist with Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC) said: “One of the sales consultants from Specialised Orthotics Services (a seating company) was due to deliver a special bean bag seat to a child with severe epilepsy and physical disabilities who lives in the north east of the city – on the outskirts.

“I had emailed the family to say that it would be unlikely that he would be delivering the seat as he drives here from Derbyshire but later in the day I contacted the company and was told he had stayed overnight in Norwich – but this morning, he couldn’t get his van out of the hotel car park where he was staying.

“So he decided to walk with the seat (which is very large – a big beanbag with a seat shell velcroed to it) from his hotel on Ipswich Road, through the city to the family’s home.

“He dragged the seat all the way (wrapped in plastic) – over five miles – he said he got some funny looks from people as he walked up Ketts Hill. The child’s mum cannot believe the effort he went to in order to get the seat to her daughter, she cried when he told her he had walked with it - what a hero!”

Mary Page, charge nurse at Pine Cottage, Keeling Hospital, said some staff had been spending the night to ensure they could work the next day.

She said: “At the Colman Hospital a number of staff have been sleeping in empty meeting rooms on site to ensure they are able to work again. Some have been offered a bed at colleagues’ houses as well, showing how staff pull together and go the extra mile.

“All professionals working together on site to ensure all patient care needs are met. For those sleeping during the day staff went out to purchase them hot meals to ensure they are well fed. What a great team, looking out for each other.”

Elsewhere, NHS staff from different organisations helped out. Kath Amblin, a clinical/neuro lead physiotherapist at Wymondham Health Centre, said: “My 10 minute journey into work took an hour in the snow. Thanks to the ambulance crew that pushed my car up the humpback bridge into Wymondham and many other cars to get the traffic moving so I could help co-ordinate the south therapy team workload and triage referrals.”

And even outside of the NHS members of the public stepped in. Heidi Youngman, car at home team coordinator at Priscilla Bacon Lodge said: “Apparently even the farmers are delivering medication to vulnerable patients, supporting the pharmacies to still be able to run a delivery service. It’s been very humbling to hear that not just the staff are working together but the families of relatives and the wider community are all pulling together too so those end-of-life patients are still receiving a fantastic service.”

Becky Cooper, head of palliative care, added: “As usual, the staff pulled out all the stops to get in. I would like to thank all the staff working in palliative care across central and west. Staff stayed close to work so they could get in.

“Staff who had 4 x4s came in on their days off to care for patients. Husbands were digging cars out and bringing staff into work. Many staff walked in and members of staff brought provisions in so everyone had lunch. Other staff had calls diverted to their homes so they could support patients and I’m so impressed with the porter and the gardener who worked so hard to keep the pavements clear at Priscilla Bacon Lodge. Staff who couldn’t get in worked from home.

“It really shows how everyone works as a team to ensure high quality patient care. NCHC must be proud of their workforce.”

And one staff member got a personal shout out. Christina Mottishead, clinical operations manager in the south of the county said: “One of my favourite stories of the day is of Dee Stone in Wymondham being greeted by a patient who was not expecting her to be able to come today - as she trekked around Wymondham in her walking boots - and gave her a sandwich bag of sweets to keep her going on her way - such a simple and kind gesture of appreciation.

“Unfortunately not all of her team have had such good days, many were stuck in grid-locked queues and also car accidents happening to our dedicated staff. Despite this they remain focused on our needy patients and committed to their colleagues.”

Jenny Beckingham, children’s occupational therapist, added: “Fun times over lunchtime in the snow at Norwich Community Hospital - members of NCHC childrens’ services teams built a snowman and their snow child wheelchair user. Great team work and good disability awareness too.”

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