Jan Sobieraj: Snow brings out the Yellowbelly spirit

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This last week has been a tough one for us all across Lincolnshire. I am so proud to say that despite all the challenges, we’ve had some amazing stories about staff at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust who have gone above and beyond to make sure they got into work to help care for patients.

Some clinical and support staff walked more than 10 miles to get to our hospitals after they realised driving was not going to be an option. Others had to abandon their cars at various locations and continue their journeys on foot. Many stayed overnight and slept in hospital restaurants and on the floor to make sure they were available to help out and also be on time for their next shift.

Sepsis Practitioner Kat Mayer hit the headlines after deciding to live stream her walk to work at Lincoln County Hospital from her home in North Hykeham. She says she started filming to keep herself motivated and that it was the support and messages she received from friends and colleagues that helped her to complete the journey. Kat even had to rescue a colleague on the way after she slipped and hurt her ribs.

She had no idea that within hours her footage would have been viewed and shared thousands of times around the country and would lead to her being on both local and national TV and in most of the local media.

Kat herself has said that she was not alone and that hundreds of her friends and colleagues across the Trust’s hospitals did exactly the same. It’s just that her experience got picked up as she filmed it.

I have heard so many stories about staff who went above and beyond to make sure they were able to get in and also to help each other out. It has been really heart-warming to hear.

I would also like to thank patients for their support and understanding. Unfortunately, we had to make the tough decision to cancel outpatient appointments and non-urgent operations. Many of our staff were unable to get into work due to the adverse weather conditions and we didn’t want patients to risk their safety by travelling to one of our hospitals for a routine appointment which we will now rebook and get them back in ASAP.

I would also like to thank all of our NHS partners, East Midlands Ambulance Service, Thames Ambulance Service, local councils, farmers, the MoD, the RAF, volunteers, Listers Toyota who helped to get our staff to work, local businesses and everyone who has helped us to keep looking after our patients. Despite not originating from the county, I have heard a lot about the Yellowbelly spirit and we have certainly seen that in action over the last week.

One of the biggest issues was finding a way to get patients safely home and it even involved organising a big convoy (footage of it leaving Pilgrim Hospital in Boston can be seen here).

Our A&Es continue to be really busy treating very sick patients or patients who are badly injured. To help ease pressures on A&Es (winter may not yet be over), we urge everyone to think twice before they go to an A&E – if it’s not serious or life threatening, you shouldn’t be there. Call NHS 111 for advice.

Please consider whether you may be able to self-care your condition through over-the-counter medicine, staying warm, hydrated and through resting.​ You can receive further help and advice on what the best remedy is for you, from your local walk-in pharmacy.

Alternatively, ring NHS 111 and you will be put through to a Lincolnshire clinician who, if necessary, can book you an appointment at your local GP practice.