Retired NHS Medics Who Returned To Covid Frontlines Issue Stark Warning About Second Wave

Aasma Day
·2-min read

Former NHS staff who came out of retirement to join the frontline to fight coronavirus have warned that hospitals could face an entirely different staffing crisis in the looming second wave.

At the height of the pandemic in Spring, medics worked alongside furloughed staff from other professions including dentists and airline staff, as well as doctors redeployed from routine procedures.

“It is absolute nonsense for the government to say they have got the Nightingale hospitals on standby,” Graham Sabino, a clinical perfusionist, who returned to the frontline told HuffPost UK. “Who is going to staff them?

The NHS’ rallying call in April to former medics to return generated more than 60,000 applications for roles, and within a couple of weeks, they had heard from more than 20,000 health workers. Of these, 9,000 have been deployed so far.

But medics who joined that effort have revealed a second wave of coronavirus is less likely to see as many former and retired staff join the ranks, and that many current NHS workers will struggle to take on more patients.

Sabino, 58, feels “beyond despair” at the current surge in coronavirus rates, and fears there will be “lots more deaths” this winter.

“If things carry on the way they are, I fear we’re going to be in a situation which is as bad as it was in March and April,” he said.

Graham Sabino, a clinical perfusionist who returned to the NHS from retirement to help out during the coronavirus crisis
Graham Sabino, a clinical perfusionist who returned to the NHS from retirement to help out during the coronavirus crisis

Sabino retired from the NHS after 41 years in May last year, and was enjoying time with his grandchildren, holidaying with his wife and playing golf.

But when coronavirus hit, the specialised medic returned to the frontline at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

“After retiring, I decided to carry on working one day a week at the hospital to keep my registration active as I did some charity trips abroad to help with heart operations on children and I wanted to still be able to do these,” he told HuffPost UK.

“But when the true scale of how coronavirus was affecting hospitals became apparent, I knew I had to come...

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