Hospital workers - the sacrifice outside work

Much praise has been given to hospital workers; they have worked like Trojans during this coronavirus. But it does not end when they finally go off duty.

For the last few years, on Christmas Day we have visited friends an hour’s drive away. This year we were hoping to invite them to come to us on Christmas Day. We already had plans for how to cater for them and entertain them.

This would have been a small family group. However one of them works in a hospital. We were awaiting details of her availability over Christmas. Then seemingly good news came - she would not be on duty Christmas Day or Boxing Day. Then followed less-good news - she had been transferred to a COVID-19 ward.

Both sides thought long and hard. My wife, whom I care for, has multiple health issues. If she were to pick up the COVID-19 infection, matters could be serious. Hence we take precautions beyond the official guidelines. The hospital worker is at greater risk because of the environment where she works, in spite of the protective equipment and other precautions in hospitals. She is tested for COVID-19 every three days. But this is just a test; it does not prevent one from being infected. And even if a test proves negative, there is the worry about a possible incubation period. She may have picked up the infection but not yet show the signs or feel the symptoms.

We reluctantly decided not to go ahead with the Christmas get-together. It is disappointing for us. But it must be even more disappointing for hospital workers. Because of the feeling of need to isolate they are missing out on many social occasions.

Let us all bear this in mind. There has been much praise for NHS staff this year. But it has been a case of not only more work but less play.