Media Release

How COVID-19 has changed life for staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Cleaning teams have always played a vital role in keeping hospitals free from infection and ensuring the safety of patients, their families and staff.

But their work has never been more important than at present, helping to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Leanne Manning, 40, a Domestic Assistant at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn, has worked in wards with patients who have tested positive for the virus, where she is responsible for ensuring that all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned.

For these duties, she has to wear more protective equipment and double checks her work to ensure that she has cleaned as well as she can.

“Of course, it is a worry when you are with a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19, but you could become infected when you visit the supermarket because you don’t know whether another person has the virus.”

She said the camaraderie among the facilities team was really strong and the support of the public is also helping the team and all the staff at QEH to pull through, particularly after a huge response to help NHS staff who couldn’t get to supermarkets before shelves were emptied.

“People have been bringing in cakes, sandwiches, potatoes and other fruit and vegetables for us to keep us going. It is heartwarming to think that the community is thinking of us.”

Head of Facilities Angela Hircock, 58, said she had taken on more responsibilities in managing staff including providing more mental health support for staff experiencing anxiety because of the current situation.

The positives have been the number of people volunteering, with at least 20 people starting, while existing staff have come back from annual leave to help out.

“When you work here you understand the risks and taking the right precautions is part of the job, but I think family and friends can worry about it more because of what they hear,” she said.

The public are being urged to follow the Government’s COVID-19 advice. This includes reducing contact with others as much as possible and washing your hands as often as you can with soap for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed hands. Catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue and bin it before washing your hands.

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