By Liz Crudgington
Dozens of hospital staff will take two minutes out of their shifts tonight (April 9) to thank local communities for their fantastic support during the coronavirus outbreak.
Teams at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent and Canterbury Hospital, and the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate will gather outside the main entrances of the hospitals at 8pm with thank-you banners – including some created by children being treated in the hospitals.
It will coincide with the now-weekly ‘Clap for carers’ event, which sees people across the country stand on their doorsteps or by their open windows to applaud the efforts of keyworkers.
Lee Martin, chief operating officer at East Kent Hospitals, said: “It is hugely humbling to see the nation join together to applaud keyworkers, including NHS staff of all levels, each Thursday evening.
“This week, we wanted to say thank you for that support and for the hundreds of donations we have received from groups and individuals across our communities.
“We also want to thank all the people who are helping us to help our patients by following the government advice and staying home – even when the sun is shining.
“By staying home you really are helping to protect the NHS and helping us to save lives.”
Among the donations sent to hard-working frontline staff across East Kent Hospitals are 7,500 chocolate Easter eggs, from Cadbury’s and Gems At Work, as well as from Slimming World and Barretts car dealership.
Ralph’s Pizza Margate donated pizza to staff at QEQM, while an Ashford singer raised money through an online concert and donated afternoon tea hampers to teams at the William Harvey Hospital.
Tassimo has donated coffee machines for staff and rest areas, while Dreamland is donating bottled drinks for staff.
Lee said: “We have been overwhelmed with donations from people and we are grateful to everyone for thinking of us.
“But the best way you can support your local hospital is by staying home this Bank Holiday Weekend, to slow the spread of the virus and to help save lives.
“I am proud of the way all our teams have responded to the coronavirus outbreak, whether by taking on different roles, volunteering to go back to clinical areas or working to support the Trust in reorganising services to help us care for even more patients.
“You can do your bit by following the advice, and together we will beat this virus.”
If people do want to make a donation to support frontline staff, the hospital’s charity has an appeal dedicated to improving morale and well-being. To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/ekhc2020