Mid Yorkshire hospitals chief pays tribute to 'inspiring and courageous' NHS staff and thanks public for support
The man in charge of Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals has issued a heartfelt 'thank you' to the 8,000 NHS workers employed across the three sites.
Martin Barkley, chief executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, paid tribute to its "inspiring" staff who are working round the clock amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He also extended his gratitude to the general public, who he praised for being kind and supportive to staff.
It follows a 'thank you' banner being hung on railings at the grounds of Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield on Thursday, which the trust said had reduced some staff to "grateful tears".
Speaking on Friday Mr Barkley said no worker should go without praise, adding that hospitals had adapted to the situation "remarkably".
He said: "In all my time in the NHS there's been nothing like this and I've never seen anything like the way our staff have risen to the challenge, in terms of implementing the arrangements we've had to put in place.
"Many have had to work in different locations, and carry out different types of work they don't normally do. It's all been done with willingness and co-operation.
"The courage our staff are showing every single day is inspiring."
The trust chief said the physical and mental health of the workforce would be a "significant issue" as coronavirus develops and pressure on the NHS increases.
Plans are in place to offer extra emotional and psychological support for staff feeling the strain.
Parking at all three hospitals has been made free for staff, as have tea and coffee in the workplace.
Mr Barkley added: "Like the rest of us they are anxious about this, what it means for them and their families and it's a disconcerting time.
"A lot of them are very experienced in dealing with a major incident, but instead of lasting one or two days, this looks like it will be lasting weeks and months.
"Three of the most important things we want to ensure are that staff are getting adequate sleep, good nutrition and that they're being kept hydrated."
Mr Barkley, who's been in charge of the trust since 2016, said Thursday night's 8pm clap for the NHS had reminded him how highly valued the institution is.
"I'd like to say how much we appreciate the support of the public," he added.
"When you're working and caught up in this, it can be difficult to tell what the public are thinking.
"But for me, the clap brought home how important the NHS is to our society. It was absolutely amazing.
"Such kindness, as with the banner, keeps us going and we're really grateful for it."
Local Democracy Reporting Service