Hospital staff thank the community for support shown during lockdown

North Walsham War Memorial Hospital nurse Stella Mihalache and support ward manager Diane Cremin rec

North Walsham War Memorial Hospital nurse Stella Mihalache and support ward manager Diane Cremin receiving the final goody parcel from the hospital's Friends group. Also pictured is Friends chairman Keith Jarvis. Picture: Richard Batson / Hospital Friends - Credit: Archant

Staff at a north Norfolk hospital have praised the morale-boosting support they have had from the local community through lockdown.

North Walsham War Memorial Hospital has been dealing with Covid patients as well as routine ones over the last six months, when a temporary ward was added in a day room to cope with the extra workload.

Ward manager Mandie Owen reported to a meeting of the hospital Friends group that it had been a challenging time, with community staff drafted in to help in-patients.

She said the support from the community, including the Friends who provided weekly goody bags of food for ward staff was “generous and appreciated”.

Ms Owen said: “The patients and staff felt very supported by the local community and the Friends during the outbreak. It has all been much appreciated.”

Staff have enjoyed sharing some of the gifts with the patients to brighten their day, especially those without any friends or family to visit. And staff particularly loved the support during a bad day.

Ms Owen added: “I cannot tell you how proud I am of the staff. They have worked incredibly hard to support their patients and care for their colleagues if they’re struggling on a shift.”

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As well as the Friends parcels, there have been gifts from other local shops, businesses and organisations ranging from flowers to takeaway meals.

The hospital’s 24-bed unit has been prepared for a second wave of pandemic, should it happen.

The Friends continue to liaise with health officials about future projects post-lockdown, including funding the fitting out of a room at the hospital where visitors can stay overnight or spend a bit of quiet time.

Other plans include asking Paston College art students to paint a mural to brighten a blank brick wall outside a ward window.

The group uses money donated by the public to provide “extras” to benefit patients, staff and visitors.