‘A living nightmare’ Life on the front line: Inside Intensive Care

Watch a report by ITV Anglia's Stuart Leithes


In March 2020 the government said keeping the number of coronavirus deaths to below 20,000 across the UK would be a ‘good result’

Ten months on, the East of England has reached half of that alone, breaking the grim milestone of 10,000 deaths. Across the UK over 85,000 people have died. 

Behind every statistic is a person. A parent, a child, a sibling, a friend.

Whilst it might be hard to picture such a huge loss, for our nurses, doctors and other NHS staff it is less hard. They see most of the faces behind these stark statistics.

Many parts of the region are bearing the brunt of the new coronavirus variant, but few are feeling the strain as much as those on the front line. 

Joanna Snow Credit: ITV Anglia

For Joanna Snow, a Matron at Kettering Hospital she says every day feel like ‘a living nightmare’.

During the covid pandemic its been dreadful really because a lot of the patients, initially they’re speaking to us, they’re obviously struggling, we support them, we intubate them and then they go to sleep and those that don’t make it its really sad because obviously you start to make connections as you do with all patients.

Joanna Snow, Matron Critical Care Services

Joanna added her team are starting to feel frustrated at those that do not believe the dangers of what is happening. 

  • Watch: Joanna speaks to ITV Anglia

Dr Selva Panchatsharam is someone who knows the dangers all too well. As clinical lead in intensive care at the hospital he, and his team, have been working flat out. 

Dr Selva Panchatsharam Credit: ITV Anglia

We started seeing patients from March and since then it has been relentless and in the last few weeks it has increased quite significantly and it is expected to get worse in the coming weeks. We want to do our best of our patients, we want to save as many lives as possible, that means we really have to dig deep to find that resilience to be able to cope.

Dr Selva Panchatsharam, Intensive Care Clinical Lead

Louisa Hyde Credit: ITV Anglia

Louisa Hyde, a matron on Urgent Care Wards, explained that unlike common rhetoric the pandemic is affecting everyone. 

We’ve seen patients in their 20s and their 30s, we’ve seen mothers and sons, we’ve seen husbands and wives, we’ve seen older adults coming in that have contract it from their family, so I think its the age that [staff are] really struggling with and how sick the patients become and how quickly.

Louisa Hyde, Urgent Care Wards Matron

Patient numbers have continued to soar past those seen in the first wave, and staff are warning they are almost overwhelmed.