'Time to end NHS clap' says Preston hospital worker

Amy Parkes in PPEAmy Parkes in PPE
Amy Parkes in PPE | ugc
The NHS clap has given us all time to reflect but it’s the right time to end it – that’s the verdict of a Lancashire physiotherapist who’s returned to the NHS frontline to treat Covid-19 patients

Amy Parkes, a lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, agreed to go back and work in the intensive care unit at Royal Preston Hospital in March as demand increased for staffing when the pandemic was declared.

Around the same time, the “Clap for the NHS” began as people in lockdown took to their doorsteps to show their appreciation of staff caring for the sick.

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Amy said she was proud of the Thursday evening spectacle, though at times it could be overwhelming.

She said: “We appreciate the clapping and my children joined us on the doorstep as neighbours acknowledged I was a frontline worker, so it gave my children a chance to be part of it too.

“It’s also given staff a weekly moment to reflect on what we are doing and for us to share our emotions just a little before getting back to work.”

But for Amy, it’s now time for communities to recognise there are now many more people engaged in the road back to “normality.”

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She said: “We’ve been on that road to safety for a few months now, but others such as shop workers and teachers are about to go along the same path so it’s about them now too.

“We’ll continue to help our patients and our colleagues, and hopefully we can all be safer.”

Amy has continued to balance teaching with working in ICU, and she’s also been producing a weekly podcast on Spotify and Apple, Intensive Caring, in a project with university journalism students.

The podcast highlights the important work being done by her NHS colleagues during the current pandemic as she shares positive experiences of working within a strong team during a national crisis. Amy said: “Each week we are inviting different guests who are talking about their experiences and it’s a brilliant way to capture the rollercoaster which is clinical work.”