HEROIC NHS workers on the frontline of coronavirus have been staying overnight in an Ayrshire hospital to protect their loves ones from infection.

Doctors and nurses have been resting up at specially designated rooms at an empty outpatient centre at Crosshouse Hospital.

The Maxwell Suite, which is used to hosting day clinics for a range of patients, has been transformed into a wellbeing space for medical staff.

A key doctor involved in setting up the project told how it was set up to accommodate staff who weren’t able to go home.

A&E consultant Dr Julie Gordon,47, told the Herald: “It’s been very well used, we have seen 1,200 members of staff a week.

“At the suite there is a quiet waiting room where we can socially distance. There are eight clinical rooms which we have used.

“There have been some instances where staff have had to stay overnight.

“We set up five beds in empty audiology rooms, so they are all separate.”

The wellbeing suite also includes essential toiletries provided by generous donations from the public for frontline staff to use in between their shifts.

The Lister Centre, which used to accommodate junior doctors, has been cleared out and is there to use for anyone who has to self-isolate.

Dr Gordon said: “If someone was exposed to COVID-19 and was worried about taking it home, these facilities have been there for them to use.”

Dr.Gordon has swapped the frontline service of Accident & Emergency to provide support to colleagues at the wellbeing centre, in order to protect her child who is shielding with cystic fibrosis.

She is part of a team with Dr Sharon Mulhern, a clinical psychologist, and Dr Hans Hartung a respiratory consultant.

Each are offering support to their colleagues from all areas of the hospital.

As well as providing a place for staff to rest, they have been taking care of the mental health of staff, with some working round to the clock to help seriously ill patients fight COVID-19.

The sites are open 24/7 and offer a clinical psychology service, medical peer support, chaplaincy and staff care sanctuaries.

Dr Gordon added: “We have noticed a lot of anticipatory anxiety.

“It’s not often there’s a threat to life going into to do your job.

“A&E and ICU were geared up for it. But with ward staff, we’re still seeing that anxiety.

“There are some situations where staff are going into high risk areas who might not have been working in that environment before.”

As the number of hospital admissions due to coronavirus begins to decrease, the staff involved in setting up the wellbeing suite are happy that it has served its purpose.

Dr Gordon said: “The mental health of our staff is the priority, to ease the stress that they are under.”


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