Lives have changed beyond anything we could have imagined - stories from the NHS frontline in Leeds

Staff from the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have been sharing their stories of life during the pandemic with the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 6:00 am
Phil Wood, chief medical officer for Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Dr Phil Wood was appointed chief medical officer for Leeds Teaching Hospitals just weeks into the pandemic.

He recalls: "It has been a full year since the first COVID-19 positive inpatient at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. I look back to this time last year and above everything else see how much has changed.

"We didn’t know what to expect and we kept learning more and more about this virus. But one thing that has stayed the same the whole way through is how everyone in health and social care stepped up without hesitation.

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"I was appointed Chief Medical Officer just weeks into the pandemic and what an introduction to my new role. I have worked at LTHT for 19 years and always been proud to do so, but this year has been something else entirely. We have over 20,000 staff and every one of them has had a key role to play in supporting our response to COVID-19.

"Our procurement team worked tirelessly sourcing PPE to ensure we could all come to work safely, pathology staff put in place testing for COVID-19, professional teams came together to work in reconfigured wards, clinical staff stepped in to help on wards and in critical care that they didn’t usually work in. Our Estates team worked on additional cleaning, ward and department adaptations for social distancing, and this is not to forget all of our ‘non-clinical’ staff who have worked from home to keep our hospitals running. On top of all the ‘new ways of working’, we continued to stay open for those patients who needed us for other emergencies and urgent treatment.

"In some ways it feels like the longest year of our lives, and in others like it has sped by. We know that it has not been easy for anybody. Lives have changed beyond anything we could have imagined. All of our people are sons and daughters, partners, parents, treasured friends and family, and they’ve had the same personal challenges to face as everyone else has in lockdown. Every day they’ve shown up to work and taken on everything that has come their way. We’re proud of how far we’ve come and look forward to the hope that is still on the way."