Overwhelmed hospital staff say they often cry at the end of shifts as they’re left feeling ‘completely demoralised’ battling the second Covid wave.
One consultant in London said she fears her staff will be ‘scarred’ by their experiences as they see patients in their ’40s, 30s and 20s dying with the virus’.
The heartbreaking comments emerge after the BBC was granted access St George’s Hospital in Tooting as England is plunged into a third national lockdown amid surging infection numbers.
Jane Evans, a consultant in acute medicine, said many exhausted staff members said they couldn’t relive the first coronavirus wave earlier in the year – only to be thrust into an even more devastating second wave.
She said: ‘Here we are, facing what seems at the moment to be a worse surge of patients with Covid and you see people are very tired, very stressed.’
‘And that’s a real worry to us because we just do have to keep going because we have to be here for the patients. But I do worry, you know, about the scars that will leave some of our staff with.’
Chloe Walker, a senior staff nurse, admitted she had just experienced ‘one of the worst shifts of [her] entire life’ as experts warn the NHS could soon be overwhelmed by more than 5,000 hospital admissions a day.
She said: ‘I’m looking after many more sick patients than I’d normally look after. It’s just overwhelming, the whole situation. You see the videos of the anti-Covid people, and you just think to yourself, what am I even doing?
‘It demoralises me completely, I’ve never felt so demoralised in my life.’
NHS figures show people below the age of 40 rarely die with Covid, with 100 of the 17,572 fatalities in November and December in this age group. People over 80 make up 57% of the fatalities in the last two months.
However, Consultant Dr Dominic Spray has warned medics are seeing ‘people in their 40s, their 30s, their 20s on our intensive care unit, dying of Covid’.
Describing his staff’s frustration when they see people breaking Government restrictions, he said: ‘Even if you don’t think you are doing any harm by bending the rules a little, you are. It has a knock-on effect, and we are seeing the knock-off effect here.’
Senior nurse Hannah Packham told the news outlet she cries ‘quite a lot at the moment’ when she finishes shifts.
Revealing ‘a lot’ of the staff at the hospital have tested positive for coronavirus, she said ‘there seems to be no trend in who gets sicker sometimes and who isn’t, so you see the other side’.
It comes as the UK records more than 60,000 Covid cases in a single day for the first time, as another 830 people die.
Boris Johnson has admitted he cannot put an end date on the third national lockdownas the NHS struggles under the pressure.
The prime minister said in the Commons this morning schools may not open even after the February half term.