Many parents were left terrified as they were forced to welcome their little ones into the scary world of the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the course of a year, from March of 2020 to March 2021, Manchester gave birth to more than 17,000 babies at one of the most perilous moments for health care in the recent history.
At almost two babies per hours, every day, there were also more than 1,600 newborns admitted to the intensive care unit, requiring lifesaving surgery and specialist treatment.
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For the nurses and midwives working across Manchester hospitals, including Saint Mary’s Hospital on Oxford Road, Saint Mary’s at Wythenshawe Hospital and Saint Mary’s at North Manchester General Hospital, they did everything within their power to help new parents get through an already challenging time, made even more difficult by a pandemic.
Staff at the hospitals battled all the obstacles thrown up by Covid-19, from working in restrictive PPE to treating patients with coronavirus.
Kathy Murphy, director of nursing and midwifery at Saint Mary’s Hospital Managed Clinical Services (MCS) said: “Throughout the pandemic our staff undertook their normal duties in circumstances that were anything but normal.
“These included the challenges of working in personal protective equipment (PPE), adapting to changing advice and guidance on practice, providing a safe environment for all our patients and families, including those diagnosed with Covid-19, and further supporting families during the restricted visiting policy whilst managing their own worries and challenges of the pandemic with their friends and family.
“Throughout this, our staff continued to provide the highest standards of care and support to all our women, babies and families ensuring that their experience was as special as it should be."
During the pandemic, the Newborn Intensive Care Unit across the hospital sites provided around-the-clock care to sick or premature babies, whilst supporting new mums and families during times of uncertainty.
Midwives, nurses and doctors cared for 1,688 babies from March 31, 2020, to the same date, 12 months on.
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Beverly Riddett, lead midwife, who has been a midwife at Saint Mary’s for an incredible three-and-a-half decades, recalls: “In my 35 years of working in midwifery, it has been one of the most memorable, challenging and rewarding years of my career.
"One of the hardest things during the pandemic was keeping up with the changing guidance and our teams went above and beyond to ensure that women felt supported during what was such a unique time in their lives.
"It is great to work with such dedicated staff who are totally committed to providing the very best care to women, babies and their families and in supporting each other.”
For staff, working long hours in scary circumstances, it was 'tough' to keep going, added Beverly.
"We needed each other to get through, to keep going, to support each other, because it has been tough out there for a lot of our staff.
"We've been trying to manage work-life balance in a pandemic and the support of each other in a multi-disciplinary team we've had has been phenomenal."
"We are truly proud of each member of staff in our Obstetrics and Newborn Services Team and throughout Saint Mary’s, for their contribution as both individual members of staff and as one fantastic team," added Kathy.
“We also want to thank our patients and families for being so understanding during those challenging times.”
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