Shocking pictures of how Covid-19 is affecting Northamptonshire's front line doctors and nurses
"I will work 12-hour shifts in full PPE to care for you and your loved ones...but I would rather you keep safe, so I don’t have to treat you"
This is shocking evidence of how front-line doctors and nurses are being affected by working gruelling 12-hour shifts treating Covid-19 patients in overwhelmed intensive care wards.
A Northamptonshire firefighter posted photos of his wife, who works in a rammed ITU department at Kettering General Hosptial.
In a series of powerful tweets he said: "I don’t think I have ever felt so helpless, to witness the impact and strain Covid-19 has put on my wife and NHS staff is truly horrendous.
"If people could just see the impact on my wife and the NHS. She is physically and mentally exhausted, her smile and joy for life has been stolen from her.
"We need to put a face to these amazing people that put themselves on the front line to care for others, working 12 hours in all this PPE.
"Her message is: 'please help us help you, follow government advice. I will work those 12-hour shifts in full PPE to care for you and your loved ones — but I would rather you keep safe, so I don’t have to treat you'."
Their hope is that people seeing for themselves will persuade more to stick to lockdown rules and avoid risking more people needing hospital treatment to beat the virus.
Many believe pressure on hospitals is no worse than in other years.
Yet Covid-positive patients occupied nearly a third of beds in Northamptonshire's two acute hospitals at the end of last week — 344 out of around 1,100.
That figure has risen by 60 per cent since Christmas Day.
The 29 ITU beds are full with 18 of the patients Covid-positive. Plans are in place to boost "surge capacity" as more patients require urgent treatment.
KGH chief executive Eileen Doyle revealed on Friday the hospitals are working at around 96 per cent capacity — above the 92 per level which NHS Improvement says makes it unsafe and lowers the performance of hospitals.
And things are only likely to get worse in the next few weeks as the number of positive tests continues to rise.
Out-patient appointments and routine operations are being postponed as staff are diverted to work on wards.
Latest NHS figures say 839 Covid patients have died since March in Northamptonshire's two acute hospitals, nearly a quarter of them in the last 5½ weeks.