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Pictures | Sun Mar 7, 2021 | 7:18pm EST

Women of the NHS fighting on Britain's COVID frontline

After a year that has shaken Britain's National Health Service to its core, women working at a hospital in the East Lancashire NHS Trust in England's northwest talk about what the coronavirus crisis has meant to them. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

After a year that has shaken Britain's National Health Service to its core, women working at a hospital in the East Lancashire NHS Trust in England's northwest talk about what the coronavirus crisis has meant to them. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

After a year that has shaken Britain's National Health Service to its core, women working at a hospital in the East Lancashire NHS Trust in England's northwest talk about what the coronavirus crisis has meant to them. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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1 / 23
Maxine Sharples, 36, a Paramedic for North West NHS Ambulance service: "We’ve been to hell and back. Every member of the NHS has I think. It does finally feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Maxine Sharples, 36, a Paramedic for North West NHS Ambulance service: "We’ve been to hell and back. Every member of the NHS has I think. It does finally feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Maxine Sharples, 36, a Paramedic for North West NHS Ambulance service: "We’ve been to hell and back. Every member of the NHS has I think. It does finally feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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2 / 23
Sheeba Philip, 44, a Stroke Nurse Consultant: "During Covid I lost my mum as well. And when she was in those last moments of her life, it was very difficult for me to step into the two roles. I knew as a nurse what I should be doing, that end of time was coming and she would not make it, so as a nurse I very well knew the outcome of her (contracting) Covid ... But at the same time, as a daughter I did not want to let go of it, I just wanted her to hold onto the last straw. I wanted to say and scream at the top of my voice 'No don’t, I don’t want her to go.'" REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Sheeba Philip, 44, a Stroke Nurse Consultant: "During Covid I lost my mum as well. And when she was in those last moments of her life, it was very difficult for me to step into the two roles. I knew as a nurse what I should be doing, that end of time...more

Sheeba Philip, 44, a Stroke Nurse Consultant: "During Covid I lost my mum as well. And when she was in those last moments of her life, it was very difficult for me to step into the two roles. I knew as a nurse what I should be doing, that end of time was coming and she would not make it, so as a nurse I very well knew the outcome of her (contracting) Covid ... But at the same time, as a daughter I did not want to let go of it, I just wanted her to hold onto the last straw. I wanted to say and scream at the top of my voice 'No don’t, I don’t want her to go.'" REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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3 / 23
Jacqui Jocelyn, 53, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurse: "We’re worried what it's going to be like after, actually, for the nurses, because it's been quite traumatic seeing the things we’ve seen on the unit." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Jacqui Jocelyn, 53, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurse: "We’re worried what it's going to be like after, actually, for the nurses, because it's been quite traumatic seeing the things we’ve seen on the unit." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Jacqui Jocelyn, 53, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurse: "We’re worried what it's going to be like after, actually, for the nurses, because it's been quite traumatic seeing the things we’ve seen on the unit." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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4 / 23
Priscilla Manuel, 44, a Matron: "The staff were not prepared for that many and that many sudden deaths despite the treatment, care we gave. Because nursing, nurses and doctors they come in because we want to serve and care, and we want to make people better but when, no matter what we did did not bring the result we required. That sort of affected the team as a whole." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Priscilla Manuel, 44, a Matron: "The staff were not prepared for that many and that many sudden deaths despite the treatment, care we gave. Because nursing, nurses and doctors they come in because we want to serve and care, and we want to make people...more

Priscilla Manuel, 44, a Matron: "The staff were not prepared for that many and that many sudden deaths despite the treatment, care we gave. Because nursing, nurses and doctors they come in because we want to serve and care, and we want to make people better but when, no matter what we did did not bring the result we required. That sort of affected the team as a whole." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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5 / 23
Michaela Gildley-Taylor, 31, a Staff Nurse: "It’s been hard on us at home. We can’t see our own families but we’re there for other people's families. Yeah, it’s definitely going to stay with us forever." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Michaela Gildley-Taylor, 31, a Staff Nurse: "It’s been hard on us at home. We can’t see our own families but we’re there for other people's families. Yeah, it’s definitely going to stay with us forever." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Michaela Gildley-Taylor, 31, a Staff Nurse: "It’s been hard on us at home. We can’t see our own families but we’re there for other people's families. Yeah, it’s definitely going to stay with us forever." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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6 / 23
Dulcie Burrows, 52, a Head Chef: "We’ve had a few little end-of-life requests. It might just be a bacon sandwich. It might be some chips at the wrong time of day. But if we can do it, we’ll do it. You know, that’s what’s important. Just giving someone a little bit of happiness, with food." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Dulcie Burrows, 52, a Head Chef: "We’ve had a few little end-of-life requests. It might just be a bacon sandwich. It might be some chips at the wrong time of day. But if we can do it, we’ll do it. You know, that’s what’s important. Just giving...more

Dulcie Burrows, 52, a Head Chef: "We’ve had a few little end-of-life requests. It might just be a bacon sandwich. It might be some chips at the wrong time of day. But if we can do it, we’ll do it. You know, that’s what’s important. Just giving someone a little bit of happiness, with food." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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7 / 23
Ellie Pearson, 24, a Physiotherapist: "You don’t expect someone the same age as your dad to not be able to stand up and walk without getting really out of breath and not coping, you know, people who are still working full time. I think that’s the bit that hits home." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Ellie Pearson, 24, a Physiotherapist: "You don’t expect someone the same age as your dad to not be able to stand up and walk without getting really out of breath and not coping, you know, people who are still working full time. I think that’s the bit...more

Ellie Pearson, 24, a Physiotherapist: "You don’t expect someone the same age as your dad to not be able to stand up and walk without getting really out of breath and not coping, you know, people who are still working full time. I think that’s the bit that hits home." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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8 / 23
Zebun Nissa, 42, a Doctor: "Having the second wave of pandemic didn’t really stop me from joining (the NHS) because I understood that I could contribute, I could help, so I wanted to do that." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Zebun Nissa, 42, a Doctor: "Having the second wave of pandemic didn’t really stop me from joining (the NHS) because I understood that I could contribute, I could help, so I wanted to do that." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Zebun Nissa, 42, a Doctor: "Having the second wave of pandemic didn’t really stop me from joining (the NHS) because I understood that I could contribute, I could help, so I wanted to do that." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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9 / 23
Lisa McMullin, 50, a Patient Services Assistant: "Your feet ache, your legs ache. At the end of every shift you're sometimes absolutely drained but you get better and come back to work and carry on." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Lisa McMullin, 50, a Patient Services Assistant: "Your feet ache, your legs ache. At the end of every shift you're sometimes absolutely drained but you get better and come back to work and carry on." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Lisa McMullin, 50, a Patient Services Assistant: "Your feet ache, your legs ache. At the end of every shift you're sometimes absolutely drained but you get better and come back to work and carry on." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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10 / 23
Kirsty Wilkinson, 33, a Healthcare Assistant: "It’s a real privilege really, to be with them (people dying) and you remember everybody. Each and every single person." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Kirsty Wilkinson, 33, a Healthcare Assistant: "It’s a real privilege really, to be with them (people dying) and you remember everybody. Each and every single person." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Kirsty Wilkinson, 33, a Healthcare Assistant: "It’s a real privilege really, to be with them (people dying) and you remember everybody. Each and every single person." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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11 / 23
Ruth Clarke, 36, a student nurse: "It’s learning how to make them feel like you’re still the same person even though they can’t see your facial expressions and we’re not able to touch and use those human interactions like we’re used to." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Ruth Clarke, 36, a student nurse: "It’s learning how to make them feel like you’re still the same person even though they can’t see your facial expressions and we’re not able to touch and use those human interactions like we’re used to."...more

Ruth Clarke, 36, a student nurse: "It’s learning how to make them feel like you’re still the same person even though they can’t see your facial expressions and we’re not able to touch and use those human interactions like we’re used to." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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12 / 23
Mez Bagas, 38, a Ward Manager: "I couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated team. Yes, there have been times when we’ve cried, but there have also been times when we’ve laughed, when we’ve joked. We’ve got through this with humor, we’ve got through this by being kind and compassionate." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Mez Bagas, 38, a Ward Manager: "I couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated team. Yes, there have been times when we’ve cried, but there have also been times when we’ve laughed, when we’ve joked. We’ve got through this with humor, we’ve got through...more

Mez Bagas, 38, a Ward Manager: "I couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated team. Yes, there have been times when we’ve cried, but there have also been times when we’ve laughed, when we’ve joked. We’ve got through this with humor, we’ve got through this by being kind and compassionate." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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13 / 23
Gillian Parker-Evans, 56, a Midwife: "All midwives are there to be with women, and that’s what ‘midwife’ means - it means ‘be with woman’. So we’re always there as a support even though we’re a professional. We’re also there for the women to make sure they have a really good experience. At the beginning when birth partners were more restricted, we were still there for the women." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Gillian Parker-Evans, 56, a Midwife: "All midwives are there to be with women, and that’s what ‘midwife’ means - it means ‘be with woman’. So we’re always there as a support even though we’re a professional. We’re also there for the women to make...more

Gillian Parker-Evans, 56, a Midwife: "All midwives are there to be with women, and that’s what ‘midwife’ means - it means ‘be with woman’. So we’re always there as a support even though we’re a professional. We’re also there for the women to make sure they have a really good experience. At the beginning when birth partners were more restricted, we were still there for the women." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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14 / 23
Maxine Sharples, 36, a Paramedic: "As soon as I get home I shut the door and I’m back to being a mum and a wife, and I just have to play that role until I go back to work again." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Maxine Sharples, 36, a Paramedic: "As soon as I get home I shut the door and I’m back to being a mum and a wife, and I just have to play that role until I go back to work again." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Maxine Sharples, 36, a Paramedic: "As soon as I get home I shut the door and I’m back to being a mum and a wife, and I just have to play that role until I go back to work again." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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15 / 23
Mable Ng, 25, a Pharmacist: "Personally, I feel this year is a very special year and a very stressful year. Because of these trials in the pandemic I actually feel that it has built a stronger foundation to my career. Especially for the future." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Mable Ng, 25, a Pharmacist: "Personally, I feel this year is a very special year and a very stressful year. Because of these trials in the pandemic I actually feel that it has built a stronger foundation to my career. Especially for the future."...more

Mable Ng, 25, a Pharmacist: "Personally, I feel this year is a very special year and a very stressful year. Because of these trials in the pandemic I actually feel that it has built a stronger foundation to my career. Especially for the future." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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16 / 23
Georgina Robertson, 46, an Accident & Emergency (A&E) Consultant: "The numbers have been the highest, the patients have been the sickest. And alongside that, we’ve had to struggle with staff shortages at levels that we’ve never seen before." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Georgina Robertson, 46, an Accident & Emergency (A&E) Consultant: "The numbers have been the highest, the patients have been the sickest. And alongside that, we’ve had to struggle with staff shortages at levels that we’ve never seen before."...more

Georgina Robertson, 46, an Accident & Emergency (A&E) Consultant: "The numbers have been the highest, the patients have been the sickest. And alongside that, we’ve had to struggle with staff shortages at levels that we’ve never seen before." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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17 / 23
Rahila Dusu, 33, a Junior Doctor: "You’re scared. People are dying. It was tough but it's been a great learning curve for me as well. There’s a lot I will take forward. The toughness, but also not being afraid, it takes that away from you, you feel a bit more confident and bold. You feel like yes, I can face anything else that comes my way." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Rahila Dusu, 33, a Junior Doctor: "You’re scared. People are dying. It was tough but it's been a great learning curve for me as well. There’s a lot I will take forward. The toughness, but also not being afraid, it takes that away from you, you feel a...more

Rahila Dusu, 33, a Junior Doctor: "You’re scared. People are dying. It was tough but it's been a great learning curve for me as well. There’s a lot I will take forward. The toughness, but also not being afraid, it takes that away from you, you feel a bit more confident and bold. You feel like yes, I can face anything else that comes my way." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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18 / 23
Charlotte Dugale, 41, a Consultant Orthodontist: "As a team actually it's pulled us together. We’ve realized how much, not only on a professional level, that we rely on each other, but also on a personal level and having that level of trust and companionship, really, through what’s been a really, really difficult time." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Charlotte Dugale, 41, a Consultant Orthodontist: "As a team actually it's pulled us together. We’ve realized how much, not only on a professional level, that we rely on each other, but also on a personal level and having that level of trust and...more

Charlotte Dugale, 41, a Consultant Orthodontist: "As a team actually it's pulled us together. We’ve realized how much, not only on a professional level, that we rely on each other, but also on a personal level and having that level of trust and companionship, really, through what’s been a really, really difficult time." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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19 / 23
Ruby Jocelyn, 19, a Student Nurse: "I became a nurse because of my mum. I began critical care nursing because I knew help was needed." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Ruby Jocelyn, 19, a Student Nurse: "I became a nurse because of my mum. I began critical care nursing because I knew help was needed." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Ruby Jocelyn, 19, a Student Nurse: "I became a nurse because of my mum. I began critical care nursing because I knew help was needed." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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20 / 23
Voirrey Quilliam, 25, a Speech and Language Therapist: "Being able to see facial expressions, being able to show non-verbal communications to our patients to get the best from them has really been a challenging factor." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Voirrey Quilliam, 25, a Speech and Language Therapist: "Being able to see facial expressions, being able to show non-verbal communications to our patients to get the best from them has really been a challenging factor." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Voirrey Quilliam, 25, a Speech and Language Therapist: "Being able to see facial expressions, being able to show non-verbal communications to our patients to get the best from them has really been a challenging factor." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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21 / 23
Marie Hudson, 61, a housekeeper: "They looked after us, we got free meals. Loads of stuff coming in every day for us from hand creams to toffees, you name it. We were getting all sorts, so I felt very much appreciated." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Marie Hudson, 61, a housekeeper: "They looked after us, we got free meals. Loads of stuff coming in every day for us from hand creams to toffees, you name it. We were getting all sorts, so I felt very much appreciated." REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Marie Hudson, 61, a housekeeper: "They looked after us, we got free meals. Loads of stuff coming in every day for us from hand creams to toffees, you name it. We were getting all sorts, so I felt very much appreciated." REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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22 / 23
A combination picture shows details of uniforms and PPE worn by East Lancashire NHS Trust healthcare workers. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

A combination picture shows details of uniforms and PPE worn by East Lancashire NHS Trust healthcare workers. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

A combination picture shows details of uniforms and PPE worn by East Lancashire NHS Trust healthcare workers. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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23 / 23

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