Emergency workers praised for efforts in extreme conditions

1 March 2018, 15:15 | Updated: 1 March 2018, 15:17

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Medical staff and emergency workers have been praised for their "amazing" efforts to get to work as extreme weather conditions gripped the country.

Many hospital staff walked miles through the snow to get to work, while others slept overnight at work to ensure they were there for their next shift.

Some were helped by members of the public who stopped in 4x4s to offer staff lifts into hospitals, while some companies offered the use of their 4x4 vehicles and drivers.

Workers at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow have posted about their experiences on the staff Facebook page.

Helen Watson said: "I was working the night shift on Tuesday and drove home to West Lothian but left home again at 3.30pm to come in for the night shift.

"Not everyone has made it in but everyone is doing their best, walking, sharing lifts and even sleeping over to make sure they are here for patients in the morning.

"You don't go into the NHS to get any reward; it's because you have a passion. We need to put patients first."

A Met Office red weather warning of snow in Scotland's central belt was in place from 3pm on Wednesday and expired at 10am on Thursday.

However, an amber warning of snow for much of Scotland is in place until 10am on Friday.

On Thursday morning, police advised people not to travel during the red alert period unless they were emergency workers.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Director of Human Resources Anne MacPherson praised staff for their efforts to come to work.

She said: "We are greatly impressed and appreciative of the efforts made by our staff to care for patients in the most challenging of circumstances. This has happened all over the board area, in our hospitals and community settings.

"All our clinical and non-clinical teams have been working behind-the-scenes to keep our services running."

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde cancelled all non-essential operations and outpatient appointments on Thursday due to the severe weather, while NHS Lothian has cancelled all routine, non-urgent elective procedures and all hospital outpatient appointments on Thursday and Friday.

An NHS Lothian spokesman said: "Our staff have made heroic efforts to ensure the safe running of our services. Many worked late and stayed overnight while others have walked miles to report for duty this morning.

"We salute their commitment and thank them for their resilience."

NHS Tayside said most of its outpatient clinics and procedures are going ahead as normal and praised staff for their efforts.

Meanwhile, NHS 24 said it has been operating at around 50% capacity as many staff have not been able to get to work due to severe weather.

NHS 24 Medical Director Dr Laura Ryan said: "We have seen many staff battle the elements to get to our centres, including on foot and we have arranged transport and accommodation to get people into work where possible."

She added: "Our people have been amazing in their efforts to deliver services and we pay tribute to them for their endurance and support."

Police have also been praised for their efforts.

Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick tweeted: "Head of @polscotcontrol tells me his remarkable staff across Scotland have been walking for hours to get to work and/or not gone home.

"One stayed on overnight at Govan to make a huge pot of soup for staff to keep them going while they answer your calls."