16 www.lennoxherald.co.uk 19.05.2020 A to loved ones Life Line ‘Ambulance cleaning job is my legacy’ TECH SCHEME KEEPS COVID-19 PATIENTS CONNECTED An army of unsung heroes are working hard to support the NHS – and Abdel Elaabdi is one of them. He heads up the Interserve team, which cleans ambulances in London, making sure each one is spotless and ready for the emergency services. The dad-of-two from Hackney, North London, says: “I’m doing this job because it’s the right thing to do. This is my legacy. “When my children ask me, ‘What did you do in the pandemic, Dad?’ I’ll be able to talk with pride about what I did.” Abdel takes pride in his work spearheaded the scheme Dr Joel Meyer and Prof Louise Rose FAMILIES can keep in touch with their loved ones in intensive care thanks to a “virtual visiting” initiative by BT, technology leaders and London hospitals. come off a ventilator wanted to propose to his girlfriend so we facilitated that. And she said yes! Scenes like that brighten our days.” The virtual visits are comforting for patients and their families, but hard-working NHS staff benefit too. “They say it’s helping them through difficult days,” says Louise. “It’s very important for doctors and nurses in ICU teams to have a connection with a patient’s family – we see supporting family as part of our role – so to be able to do that even when they can’t visit is important to staff.” Diane, whose husband spent 15 days on a ventilator, was able to closer to the people they love. “We have seen everything from the saddest goodbyes to some almost positive goodbyes, where the spiritual team and chaplaincy were there and prayers were said,” explains Joel. But he’s witnessed some heart-warming moments too: “It’s quite common for patients to want to chat to their pets. And we’ve had a marriage proposal. A man who was just about able to speak having just could not be with their loved ones as they were dying in intensive care. The three founders got backing from BT and Google, and now have 1,046 tablets at 159 intensive care sites. They have been used to make more than 15,000 video calls across the country. Hospital staff have found Life Lines invaluable as a way to keep families informed, which they’d usually do face to face. And for the patients, it’s a way to feel Abdel keeps ambulances spotless and is committed to providing the best service to the NHS, cleaning, decontaminating and replacing equipment in each ambulance in 30 minutes. “I’m genuinely enjoying the work,” he says. “We have the right equipment, we’re all part of a team and here to do our best. “I’m immensely proud of my colleagues. We are totally committed to ensuring the ambulances are in the best possible shape to save lives and protect the health of our wonderful medics.” Interserve, the support services, construction and equipment company, has been pulling teams together to work behind the scenes all over the country. They toiled around the clock to help build Birmingham’s NHS Nightingale Hospital and put together the facilities management at Nightingale North West in just 11 days. A man who’d just come off a ventilator proposed to his girlfriend – and she said yes! With the coronavirus preventing hospital visits, Professor Louise Rose from King’s College London, Dr Joel Meyer from Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Aetonix CEO Michel Paquet set up Life Lines. It provides tablet computers and other tech so ICU patients can keep in touch with their loved ones. Louise spotted the need early on in the Covid-19 crisis when she read about Italian families who How Pam and her team are working hard to Kitchen Manager, Debbie Trickey after the start of lockdown, we were delivering 130 packed lunches and now we do 550 hampers a week. The uptake has been fantastic.” The hampers contain essential items such as of children who would normally receive free school meals. “Our first delivery was in the Easter holidays,” says Pam. “Two weeks Trust, which runs 13 schools in West and South Yorkshire. She’s working with ISS Facility Services to deliver recipe books and hampers to hundreds Many children are at risk of missing out on their free school meals, but Pam Knox and her team are determined pupils won’t go hungry. Pam (right) is chief finance officer at the Waterton Academy
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