David Oliver is a consultant in geriatrics and acute general medicine who has worked in the NHS for 33 years. In this blog, he talks about his personal experience of running covid 'hot' wards during the different waves of the pandemic, describing the toll working in these conditions has taken on the health of him and many of his colleagues. He highlights the impact of looking after dying patients without adequate PPE, informing family members of patients' death over the phone, being responsible for many more patients than usual and witnessing colleagues die from Covid-19. The result has been burnout, mental health issues and low morale for a workforce that was already stretched before the pandemic hit the UK. David finally caught Covid-19 himself in March 2022 and he talks about how the virus—plus the cumulative effect of working under such strain for over two years—has meant he is not able to work and has been signed-off sick since mid-May.
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