A local police officer from Merstham has given up his time to help East Surrey Hospital staff get the right protection against coronavirus.
Steve Norton, 48, has been a police officer for 15 years, serving in Surrey and now with the Metropolitan Police Service’s specialist search unit. He wanted to find a way to offer support for staff at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) during the coronavirus outbreak, and realised he had the ideal experience to provide practical help.
Doctors and nurses who need to wear certain face masks require them to be expertly ‘fit tested’ to make sure they have a good seal with the wearer’s face. A trained fit tester from previous experience, Steve felt this was the perfect opportunity to give back, say thank you and repay hospital workers for the care and support that he and his family had received at both East Surrey and Crawley Hospital. He volunteered to join the team in the personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution hub at East Surrey Hospital to help with fit testing staff who use face masks when caring for patients.
Steve said: “I’m coming in when I’m off duty to support the PPE hub and their mammoth push to continue getting staff fit tested to use FFP3 masks and to ensure everyone has the confidence that the masks are protecting them whilst they are working.
“SASH took fantastic care of my partner throughout her pregnancy and safely delivered our son Luca, who is now seven. The midwifery team were excellent and we couldn’t thank them enough.
More recently, in April 2018 I fell ill and went to my GP with what I thought was a chest infection. Minutes after arriving, I was in the back of an ambulance being taken to the emergency department (ED) – I was having a heart attack. The care from the minute I arrived was nothing short of outstanding. Everyone in ED, the critical care unit and the cath labs were so professional and friendly. The ongoing cardiac rehabilitation after angioplasty got me back to full health and eventually, back to work. Everyone at SASH was amazing and the care throughout was exceptional.
“We will all get through this eventually. We need to dig deep and follow the rules for the longer term benefits to beat this virus and continue to support our NHS – the staff go to work when others don’t have to and like all emergency services and key workers, they are ready to help when we need them most.”
Michael Wilson CBE, chief executive at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Thank you to Steve and our dedicated team for going above and beyond in overseeing this vital work. We have trained fit testers in our organisation, but we’ve never before needed so many staff to be tested so quickly; that’s why Steve’s help has been so gratefully received. An enormous amount of hard work and effort is going on to ensure that our staff can continue to deliver safe and effective care to our patients, particularly during the challenging times that we are facing. We are proud to be working with our colleagues from other organisations within emergency services and very grateful for the additional support.”