As our nation comes together to beat Covid- 19, Tory Progress managed to catch up with Gavin Chambers. Gavin, the Chairman of Islwyn Conservatives and the seat’s most recent Conservative PCC, has returned to nursing after 16 years of absence. Like many returning medical professionals up & down the UK, Gavin wanted to do anything he could to support our NHS at this most crucial time.
Words by Cllr. Gavin Chambers:
I stopped working as an accident and emergency nurse in the Welsh Valleys and Cardiff Hospital 16 years ago. I had a clinical background in stroke rehabilitation and loved the job.
I have never truly left nursing and used my nursing registration to set up a healthcare training company online and have worked in healthcare education role ever since.
Looking back though, I never thought I’d be putting on a pair of scrubs again and working on the front- line during a national outbreak. But times have changed and like many nurses, I couldn’t ignore the plea for assistance.
Covid-19 demonstrates to society that everything we once took for granted is no longer guaranteed. I was looking forward to my retirement from the small District Council of Epping Forest, which I have served on for 8 years to spend more of my time at my second home and with my family in sunny Wales. However, the election delay has kept me in place for at least one more year. The suspension of election this year means councillors who were planning on stepping down have stayed on, with the sense that public duty which must always come first. A small burden to pay at this time of national crisis.
Upon returning to hospital, I was shocked. The hospital corridors are like ghost towns with police and security on the doors and relatives being turned away, albeit for the right reasons. In some areas taking a relative to the ward usually only in situations where a patient’s life is about to end. The love for Boris has appeared to have stretched deep and wide into the NHS workers. While online it may appear that some on the left are using this crisis to fuel their political agendas, it’s clear most are united in wanting the best for everyone. Politics has nothing to do with it.
Brexit conversations are a distant memory. The main aim is to kick this virus and save lives. At the time of writing this short article, there are enough beds and supplies of personal protective equipment. There are enough ventilators. There is also an abundance of determination to beat this virus once and for all. The number of tweets and messages of support I have received has been amazing. What we need now is to continue to thank the NHS where we can and when this is all over make sure we give them a long overdue pay rise. Politically this would be advantageous but also the right thing to do. I ask, as a returning nurse, that you continue to do your bit. Stay at home. Protect the NHS. The morale is high in the NHS where I am. I must admit I had a few private tears. The big clap was very emotional, and I can tell you now that NHS workers really appreciate this sentiment. For now I remain as a nurse helping where I can in various areas of the hospital. My skills are rusty, but I hope to gain some new ones over the coming weeks. I look forward to the day where I can take off the scrubs and put myself back into my suit. But until then, I and my colleagues have a job to do.
Cllr Gavin Chambers, Cllr on Epping Forest District Council and Returning NHS Worker