Hello, my name is Drew and I’m a consultant anaesthetist at West Suffolk Hospital.
Work since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a rollercoaster of challenges. Dealing with an overwhelming step-change in our way of life and work had many downsides but I would like to highlight the positivity, camaraderie, generosity and adaptability that characterised our experiences in dealing with COVID-19.
Back in March, myself and my colleague anaesthetists and intensivists assembled for our first of many COVID-19 briefings. It was clear that we would have to adapt to a completely different way of working. We rapidly underwent training in the use of PPE, assisting the intensive care team and setting up areas for lung ventilation for the anticipated surge in patients.
Changes of this magnitude would normally take weeks of planning and consultation. Watching departmental meetings played back on TV at home wasn’t the normal way to spend evenings, but they were necessary and an effective way of communicating important updates and changes.
Our usual elective daytime anaesthetic service rapidly changed to an emergency and trauma service delivered in 12-hour shifts. Staff from operating theatres were formed into teams alongside our intensive care colleagues and wonderful cohort of hard-working junior doctors.
During the peak of COVID, our team shifts were punctuated by a voyage of culinary discovery as many of us had taken to cooking and baking during lockdown as a means of preventing boredom. Having the time to commit to running outside of work narrowly avoided significant weight gain!
I thoroughly enjoyed being part of ‘Team Bravo’ and working alongside my supportive, cheerful and dedicated colleagues. We rose to the challenge and – on the whole – did it with a smile and radical acceptance that ‘normal’ had been suspended for a while, but would resume.
We are very pleased to welcome back our elective patients and get their long-awaited procedures done and we thank them for their understanding.