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Covid: NHS staff helped through crisis by 'wobble room'

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In small room in the Royal Derby Hospital, there's a table bearing a laminated sign. "You are not alone," it says. It continues: "Kindness will get you through. Embrace the challenge. Look after each other. You are stronger than you think."

This is the "wobble room", set aside not for patients but for front-line staff to get them away - briefly - from the intense pressure and strain experienced in the first wave of COVID-19.

"We made a wobble room because that's what we needed," Kelly-Ann Gurney, an intensive-care nurse, told the BBC. "It's a room where staff could just go and sit and cry if they needed to and get it all out and then come back and 'put their face on' and get back into it again."

Now the second wave is hitting the hospital, and the need for the room is just as great.

Concerns are growing about the physical and mental health of front-line NHS staff. There has been no lull since the April peak of the virus as normal treatments and operations, postponed during the crisis, have returned to hospitals.

Caroline Swan, a senior sister and manager of the intensive care unit at the Royal Derby, says she is ready to face what is ahead but feels very tired. "I am also very concerned. My staff are very tired and stressed out. We have a lot of sickness either due to burnout or they are unwell," she says.

"A lot of staff have to self-isolate at home - and that puts a lot of strain on staffing here."

Dr Magnus Harrison, medical director of the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Trust, says managing rotas is getting harder due to staff sickness and the need for some to self-isolate if family members are infected.

"It is worth acknowledging what staff did in the first wave. They behaved tremendously and worked incredibly hard, and we're expecting them to do it again in winter - and Covid numbers could be higher than in the first wave. People are tired out."

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Source: BBC News, 10 November 2020

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