One year on: How Bassetlaw Hospital coped with the coronavirus pandemic

This week, Bassetlaw Hospital marked one year since it admitted its first COVID-19 positive patient- what followed was an ‘extraordinary’ 12 month battle.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 11:45 am

Since the first lockdown was announced, 558 patients suffering from Covid-19 have been tirelessly cared for at the site by the district’s NHS heroes.

A total of 410 patients made it home. Devastingly, despite the very best efforts of frontline staff, 139 patients never did.

Three staff members- Kevin Smith, Dr Medhat Atalla and Lorraine Butterfield- also lost their lives.

Bassetlaw Hospital has been through so much in the past year.

Now Richard Parker, chief executive of the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has reflectred on the compassion, dedication and fortitude shown by his colleagues over 12 months of unprecedented challenge and great uncertainty.

He said: “Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a national lockdown on the evening of March 23, I wrote an open letter to the people of Doncaster and Worksop.

"Despite the anxieties we all collectively felt at the time, I stated that, once the pandemic was over, we would reflect upon what we have achieved with a huge sense of pride.

"I believe this sentiment holds true today.”

The Trust saw peaks of activity in May 2020, and again in November, with their hospital was one of the busiest in the country for a brief period of time.

Throughout that time staff had to adapt to new ways of working as the country entered lockdown, ‘never complaining or wishing to opt out’.

“During such a difficult year, I suspect that all wondered when the pandemic would end, but I am now more optimistic than ever before that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” added Mr Parker.

"If infections continue to decline, in the next few weeks we will begin to see that more of the current restrictions will be eased, and if we continue to make progress, we can be able to meet family and friends again and return life to a more normal footing.

“I believe we can all be extremely proud about how we responded to the challenges and what we achieved as communities.

"The sacrifices that everybody has made have not been easy, but I believe they have helped us to save lives and I have been truly humbled by the kindness shown to us in the form of kind donations and other efforts.”

Mr Parker also thanked others working in the emergency services along with teachers, supermarket staff and other key workers.

“To every single person defined as a key or essential worker, you should be proud of what you have achieved and you have mine and those of my colleagues’ deep thanks and appreciation,” he said.

“Until we banish COVID-19 for good, please continue to observe hands, face and space and put your arm forward when called upon to receive your vaccine.

"We entered this pandemic together, and we will only emerge from it if we continue in that spirit. Thank you everybody and here is to hoping to a better year ahead.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Sam Jackson, editor.