‘Like a warzone’ – St Helier staff speak from the frontline

Staff at St Helier hospital have compared their wards to a ‘war zone’ as they fight the second wave of the pandemic.

Nurses and consultants at the hospital in Sutton urged that the pandemic was like nothing they had ever seen before.

Channel 4 was given exclusive access to see how the staff were coping with Covid-19.

Intensive care consultant, Dr Stas Jankowski, told Channel 4 that nothing had prepared him for the “sheer volume and relentlessness” of the disease.

He said: “It just hit us and we just had to get on with it – and that was quite tough”

This Is Local London: Hajah Sidibay, a Critical Care Nurse [image: Channel 4]Hajah Sidibay, a Critical Care Nurse [image: Channel 4]

Hajah Sidibay, a critical care nurse, said:

“They say we’ll see worse cases before it gets better but we’re already struggling with what we’re seeing now. Only God knows how we’ll cope.”

She added she had worked as a nurse for 20 years, and in intensive care for 17 years but had “never seen this – sometimes I feel like I’m in a war zone.”

The day Channel 4 filmed there were 262 Covid patients accounting for 43.5% of the hospital’s beds.

This Is Local London: St Helier Hospital, SuttonSt Helier Hospital, Sutton

Chief Executive of St Helier, Daniel Elkeles, spoke of the race to prevent the oxygen supply running out.

He said: “The two weeks between boxing day and last Thursday were probably the most challenging I’ve had as a chief executive, knowing how close we were to the whole oxygen system failing.

“Every three hours we were getting through one bank of cylinders. We had to have a team here for 24 hours, 7 days a week changing over the cylinders to ensure the supply kept going.

“There would have been severe consequences for our patients on oxygen.”

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