FROM lifeguards working as porters, to secretaries helping distribute vital equipment across the wards, more than 4,000 staff in Salisbury District Hospital have “risen to the challenge” of dealing with Covid-19.

The entire workforce, both clinical and non-clinical, have been retrained to complete different tasks and support other colleagues and patients across the hospital, in a time where illness and self-isolation has resulted in less staff and more pressure.

Nurses, doctors, porters, caterers and more are working around the clock to tackle the challenge and strain the virus has put on the hospital.

Lynn Lane, executive director of organisational development and people, described staff at Salisbury District Hospital as “amazing in rising to the challenge”.

She added: “They have demonstrated incredible dedication, loyalty, flexibility, compassion, great humility and a huge team spirit, all focussed on helping our patients and supporting each other."

Head of integrated discharge Emma Cavill added: “At times it can feel overwhelming as it is often stressful and exhausting. But it’s what we do, we are here for our patients and it is rewarding when we can discharge patients when they recover.”

Respiratory Physiologist Zoe Fox said: “We are seeing more and more people struck by coronavirus but we know that if we keep on fighting we can win this.”

The hospital site and appointment procedures have also changed in response to the crisis.

What was a stroke unit has been transformed into a Covid-19 specialist ward with up to 80 beds, and the Accident and Emergency department has been divided to enable a dedicated coronavirus section.

The number of remote video appointments has increased significantly, covering more than 20 specialities, in a bid to prevent patients visiting the hospital.

A spokesperson for Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust described the video appointment system as an “incredibly successful service”.

They added: “This is a very different place to what it was, we’ve needed to make enormous changes to the way we can deliver our services and how we can deal with patients.

“It is important to remember that although our focus is on providing first class care and treatment for patients admitted with Covid-19 related conditions, we are also doing everything we can to continue to provide treatment to all other patients.

“We’ve just needed to upscale and change the hospital to fit the needs of the situation.”

Chief executive Cara Charles-Barks said: “These are unprecedented times we are living in and each and every one of us is being asked to contribute in one way or another.

“I would like to thank every member of staff here at Salisbury hospital for the extraordinary effort being put into managing the coronavirus crisis. I have seen incredible teamwork and a willingness to adapt and change.

“And finally I would like to thank our volunteers many of whom are continuing to support our staff through this crisis and many others that are only now joining us here at the hospital.”