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What an ‘ice’ bunch of people! Hospital staff praise snow heroes

VOLUNTEERS came to the rescue of staff and patients at Frome Community Hospital when heavy snow left them unable to deliver and receive vital services.

Hailed as ‘snow heroes’, residents from across Frome volunteered their time and their 4x4s to drive staff and patients to and from the hospital when Storm Emma brought treacherous conditions to roads in the area.

Coming to the rescue of staff at the Minor Injuries Unit was Clive Harrington, who called the hospital to offer his services. Nurse practitioner at the minor injuries unit, Becky Church said, “Clive spent all Thursday evening and all day Friday driving nurses, midwives and other NHS staff to and from the hospital, including myself, so we could be there for patients. He also rescued people from Bath as well.

“We are really thankful for this support as otherwise we would have struggled to keep Frome Hospital functioning without him!”

Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, nurse  practitioner Annette Brett-Bowen and hospital receptionist Jazz Grey, Becky said, “We want to say a massive thank you to Clive and his family for giving up his time to help us get to work safely last week. As nurses and hospital staff, we know we have to get to work whatever the weather. We are therefore very grateful for his kindness and would have been very stuck without him. What a hero!”

Matron Hayley Hughes, added, “A huge thank you to Clive Harrington from all the very grateful staff at Frome Community Hospital.  Clive was such a huge help and support, transporting staff to and from work during the snowy weather to ensure our patients were well looked after. Myself, Sister Anna and all the staff could not have managed without his trusty 4×4!”

Patients in need of crucial dialysis sessions at the renal unit were given a helping hand to and from appointments by volunteers, including local man, David Hall, with his wife Sharon and son William, and also from drivers from Wessex 4×4, Volunteer Wessex and the Environment Agency. Staff nurse Julie Webber from the renal unit said, “Frome Renal Unit staff, patients and carers from Frome Community Hospital, send out their heartfelt thanks to all the amazing volunteer drivers who helped provide patient transportation during the recent snow weekend.

“Frome Renal Unit, operated by B. Braun Avitum, has capacity for 48 patients from across the Somerset, Wiltshire and BANES area, most of whom require treatment three times a week, whatever the weather. Missed dialysis sessions can cause serious side effects to patients.

“Whilst some patients’ dialysis session start times were delayed, and the renal unit opened an additional day on Sunday to meet the patients’ requirements, thanks to all the volunteer drivers, all patients were treated.”

Praising the other heroes of the hour, Matron Hayley Hughes said,  “The staff were truly amazing and made every effort to get to and from work, with some staff choosing to sleep over to ensure patients continued to be their number one priority. They are a real credit to the NHS.”

The weather conditions also brought out the community spirit in other parts of Frome as people joined together to rescue those stuck in the snow.

A man travelling through Frome on Thursday 1st March around 6.30-7pm would like to pass on his thanks to a gentleman and some females who helped dig his wheels free from the snow on Gore Hedge Hill.

The man said that he had no other option but to travel, as he looks after others who are vulnerable, suffer from anxiety and have learning difficulties. He explained that even though he is an experienced driver, he persisted through the thick snow, only to be beaten.

He explained, “A kind gentleman appeared from nowhere and started digging my wheels out for me, then a few females came to push me out. I didn’t have time to thank them, as once momentum was gained, I had to keep going so I didn’t get stuck again. I did wave thanks out of the window, but wanted to thank them properly, so I hope they receive my thanks this way.

“If they weren’t there, I wouldn’t have been able to get out and check on the people I look after. The snow would have been causing them all sorts of trouble with their anxiety, so being there was very important. But my question is, where was the council in all of this?”

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