After contracting Covid-19 and being hospitalised for over a week, a Southport M&S colleague and NHS volunteer Sue has made a full recovery and returned to work at her local hospital this week.

Sue has been volunteering in the pharmacy department at Southport Hospital since August and is currently on furlough from her role in the Clothing & Home department at M&S Southport.

Sue’s role is to help deliver vital medication to wards and other departments in the hospital – a service which facilitates quicker discharges for patients and frees up much needed time for the pharmacists and other staff.

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Sue realised her support at the hospital was more vital than ever – which is why in mid-March she asked M&S if she could work her contracted hours at the hospital instead of in the store. This was before the government announced its coronavirus job retention scheme.

However, on April 1 Sue began to feel unwell, and after her paramedic friend insisted on checking-up on her, Sue ended up being taken into hospital and was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Sue, M&S Southport colleague, and Southport Hospital volunteer, said: “I’m so grateful to my friend for checking-up on me. Without him I probably would have just soldiered on as I told myself I was fine, but really, I wasn’t. I’m just relieved to have made a full recovery; sadly so many others haven’t been so lucky.”

Sue resumed her volunteer role on Tuesday last week – something she’s been looking forward to for many weeks during her recovery at home.

Sue added: “I’ve been itching to get back to the hospital over the past month. I thoroughly enjoy being able to support the hospital at this really challenging time. It’s so important that people and businesses like M&S give back where they can and help our vital NHS fight coronavirus.”

And Sue’s hospital colleagues are glad to have her back. The hospital relies on volunteers, but unfortunately with many of them being over 70, it has lost 75% of its volunteer workforce due to the government’s self-isolating guidelines, so the NHS team has been more grateful than ever for Sue’s contributions.

Irene Gardner, Volunteer Services Manager at NHS Southport & Ormskirk NHS Trust, said:

“Our pharmacy team look upon Sue – or ‘Sudafed’ as she has been affectionately nicknamed by staff – as an essential member of the team. She’s an inspiration to us all and we’re so glad she’s made a full recovery and is back with us. We missed her a lot. Everyone she meets on her travels throughout the hospital is greeted with her cheery smile, enthusiasm and optimism. A massive thank you from myself and all of the staff at Southport & Ormskirk NHS Trust!”

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