This weekend I worked shifts as a doctor in my local A&E to help take some of the strain off my colleagues. During this crisis, we all need to pull together and do our bit.

What I saw was deeply eye-opening. Staff searching for face masks so they could start their shifts, the emergency department inundated with sick patients, and fit and healthy young people, in their 30s and 40s, fighting for their lives, because of Covid-19. 

Soon, NHS staff may have to make impossible decisions about whose life can be saved. These choices, on top of the huge responsibility placed on the shoulders of frontline workers, takes a huge toll on staff mental health.

My colleagues across the country are frightened – frightened for their own health, frightened about passing Covid-19 onto their own loved ones, and frightened about passing it onto their patients.

When I finished my shift on Mother’s Day, I knew my two daughters had handmade presents they wanted to give me.

The reality was, I had to call home once I finished my shift to ensure they didn’t run to me and give me a cuddle the moment I arrived back. Instead, when I got home, I immediately showered and threw my clothes in the washing machine, before celebrating Mother’s Day. We owe it to our loved ones not to spread this virus.

Our only priority must be to protect as many lives as possible. We all have a duty to support each other in our local communities – we must contain the spread of Covid-19 as much as possible through social distancing, but we also need to ensure that vulnerable people are still being cared for and looked after in their time of need. In times like these, we must work together to save lives.

In the NHS, we come to work to save lives – the best everyone else can do, is to stay home to save ours.

As told to Helena Horton

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