‘We’re frightened’ the head nurse at Mayday tells TV news

It’s all an emergency department now: half of Mayday Hospital is dealing with covid-19 patients

According to a report on Sky News overnight from a ward on “one of the worst affected hospitals in London”, 1-in-4 of the patients admitted to Croydon’s Mayday Hospital with covid-19 do not survive.

“Patients are understandably frightened, staff are frightened as well, frightened that they can’t automatically make patients better, they can’t make this better, and they’re frightened for themselves, their loved ones and their colleagues,” chief nurse Elaine Clancy told the television news reporter.

Mayday – sometimes called Croydon University Hospital – is now working at nearly four times its normal critical care capacity because of coronavirus. About half the wards in the hospital are devoted to patients with covid-19, and the hospital chief executive, Matthew Kershaw, told Sky he expects that proportion to increase in the coming weeks.

The realities being faced by frontline health and care workers every day, rather than the figures delivered from the safety of the Downing Street lectern, is that this disease is deadly and difficult, and no one really yet knows how to deal with it or treat it.

Sky News interviewed ward leader Marion Spence. When patients are treated and are able to be discharged, “We cheer them on,” she said, “if this was a football field, it would be filled with people cheering.

Mayday volunteer Tajah Duncan: a few weeks ago, she was serving G&Ts in BA first-class

“We give them a good clap and cheer them on. And even on the phone, we tell the relatives ‘It’s good news… she’s coming home!'”

So overwhelmed are the staff at Mayday, that they have been taking in volunteer workers.

Not just the retired or former NHS doctors and nurses who have received the call to arms, but others from more unexpected backgrounds.

Until last month, Taja Duncan was serving gin and tonics in the first-class cabin of a British Airways aircraft. With BA cancelling its flights, Duncan was one of their staff to be furloughed.

“I decided to be one of the ones to come and help because I know this hospital particularly needed extra support,” she said.

“I wanted to be one of the ones who could help with that.”


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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