The nation’s applause for key workers on Thursday evenings is fully justified.
However, missing from the list of those deserving our praise are the prisoner officers and staff of Lancashire’s prisons.
Their role is difficult, having to deal with a suddenly changed regime and manage prisoners who can be volatile and dangerous, especially when their routine is changed, albeit for their own safety.
Many prisoners do not have a full picture of what is really happening in society at present.
They do have access to television news but do not fully appreciate the impact of Covid-19.
Staff are under immense pressure.
They are having to cover other staff who are off ill or self-isolating, as well as having to deal with some prisoners who are either diagnosed or suspected of Covid-19.
So please, when you are showing your support for essential workers, do also remember those working in our local prisons.
HMP Kirkham IMB
Medics risk their lives
One of my closest friends is an advanced nurse practitioner working in A&E at a large hospital.
She has tested positive for coronavirus, she lives with her diabetic asthmatic husband and has an asthmatic son. Her elderly father is symptomatic.
She says it is no surprise that she has contracted the virus as she feels that the frontline staff are being treated like cannon fodder.
They are only given full PPE in certain circumstances, such as during intubation.
However, they are seeing and treating many, many patients who are obviously clinically Covid positive, with only flimsy aprons, the cheapest of masks and no eye protection.
They are being exposed to the virus on a daily basis and, therefore, will have a much higher viral load than those exposed in a less intense environment.
The provision of safe and adequate PPE is paramount if health care workers are to remain safe and healthy, and able to fulfil their roles without putting themselves and their families at risk.
My sister and her fiancé are frontline NHS staff and, along with many of my friends, they all report the same problems with PPE.
It is essential that this problem is publicised and addressed.
It is a sorry state of affairs when NHS staff are having to look at ways of purchasing their own PPE.
Don’t just clap, call for PPE
This is not my idea – I am just sharing as much as I can as I think it is something we should do.
Instead of just clapping for the frontline workers this week, can everyone go outside and shout Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) repeatedly.
PPE, PPE, PPE.
Even though we are in lockdown, we’ve a responsibility to care for those who may be called upon to care for ours. The ones that can’t lock down and are supporting us.
This ‘self isolation’ is going to prove very difficult indeed for those classified as ‘old or vulnerable’.
I know – I’m one of them!
One very constructive idea is for those involved to try and put their life stories on paper.
This is an excellent idea as it not only provides a distraction from the isolation but also leaves a very interesting record of times gone by for members of our families and others, to enjoy long after we have gone.
I actually started mine some time ago but only got so far and then other things have taken it out of my mind.
The most difficult thing is the start.
However, once you start to cast your mind back, it is quite surprising just what springs to mind.
Start by jotting down key words or phrases as you delve into the depths of your memory and when you have a few of these, start linking them together.
Graham Archer, Chorley