NHS staff are having to sacrifice their family lives to protect loved ones from coronavirus

Support us and go ad-free

Some NHS workers are sending their children to live with relatives in a bid to protect their loved ones from coronavirus (Covid-19).

Staff caring for coronavirus patients on the front line are fearful of catching the it themselves and potentially passing the infection on to their loved ones.

In a bid to protect their families, some NHS workers have taken steps to isolate themselves outside of work.

Sending children to stay with grandparents, aunts and uncles is one step some NHS staff have chosen to take.

Other NHS workers have started living in hotels, hostels and other temporary accommodation as they care for coroanvirus patients.

The PA news agency has seen information from frontline nurses who said they have sent their children away for weeks on end while they deal with the crisis.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

One nurse said: “My daughter is staying with her dad, I’m working on a Covid ward. It’s really hard but I can’t take the risk of bringing it home.”

Another said: “[My daughter] had to go and live with my sister unfortunately as the risk is just too great.”

Other medics have also taken precautions including moving out of the family home or ceasing physical contact altogether.

One Glasgow GP described how he is still sharing a roof with his family, but is isolating himself from his wife, son and newborn baby in order to protect them.

Sandesh Gulhane’s baby girl is just one week old but he has only held her once – after she was born by caesarean section in a sterile operating theatre.

He told PA that he wanted to do “everything” he possibly can to keep his family safe.

“I am basically socially distancing myself from my family,” Dr Gulhane said.

“I say hello, but I don’t hug my six-day-old child, my six-year-old son, I don’t go near my wife.

“I sleep in a separate room, I use a separate bathroom, I eat separately to them.”

NHS staff are isolating themselves in a bid to protect their families from Covid-19 (PA)

He urged people to stay at home, adding: “I am sacrificing my family life and people can’t sacrifice having a BBQ.”

Meanwhile, a consultant anaesthetist in South Wales said he has removed himself from the family home in order to protect his wife who had a kidney transplant seven years ago.

Dr Craig Williams, who donated his kidney to his wife, now only sees his wife and 15-year-old daughter in person through the window when dropping off supplies.

“It is the reality of what people are going through and it is hard,” said Dr Williams, who is living alone in a holiday cottage. “We’re envisaging this for another 11 to 12 weeks.”

Liam Barnes, chairman of the Laura Hyde Foundation, which provides mental health support for medical and emergency services personnel, said: “Rising numbers of nurses are sending their children away to live with grandparents, relatives and friends in fear of catching or exposing Covid-19 to their loved ones.

“To carry on working and to protect others they are making the ultimate sacrifice. What more powerful message could there be – than the isolation nurses now face – for staying at home.”

Dr Trevor Pickersgill, treasurer for the British Medical Association and consultant neurologist, added: “The tremendous effort that doctors and NHS staff across the UK are making in the battle against Covid-19 does not always stop at the front line.

“As well as working tirelessly to protect and save the lives of patients, many are having to make the incredibly difficult sacrifice of not seeing their families and loved ones.

“We know that doctors are more likely to come into contact with the virus in the course of treating patients, and as such, many are having to make significant changes to how they live and interact with their families in order to limit the spread of the virus.

“Not enough can be said of the incredible effort and sacrifice that doctors and NHS staff throughout the UK are making during these trying times. Their contribution is massively valued and appreciated.”

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said on 8 April that a lack of protective gear has led to nurses “facing impossible decisions between their own or their family’s health and their sense of duty”.

The college has heard from nurses who have isolated themselves away from their loved ones in order to keep them safe.

Susan Masters, the director for nursing, policy and practice at the RCN, said: “We have called on the government urgently to increase staff testing so that nurses who test negative can come out of isolation and return to work. But it is no surprise that nursing staff are taking the instruction to self-isolate when they exhibit symptoms extremely seriously.”

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us