A midwife long-term Covid-19 said she felt “abandoned and angry”.
New NHS sick leave rules mean Sarah Sutton, 44, from Swansea, will not be paid after November 1 unless she is able to return to work.
She contracted the virus in 2020 while working as a community midwife at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.
NHS Wales and unions have agreed to new Covid sick leave rules, which come into effect on July 1, the Welsh government said.
Two years after contracting the virus, Sarah was only able to walk short distances with a stick.
She also has difficulty breathing and tires easily, so the mother of four relies on her partner and eldest daughter to care for her.
New NHS Wales Covid absence rules mean she will only receive half her salary from this month and nothing from November.
Hospitals can increase sick pay to full pay at their discretion, “particularly to facilitate a gradual return to work,” but Sarah said her current condition meant she was unlikely to return to what she described as a “dream job” anytime soon. work” future.
“I don’t think I’ll be going back to work in November, which will mean zero pay, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” she said.
She said ‘abandoned’ was the best word to describe her situation, adding, ‘We went to do some work. This was before the first lockdown and we didn’t have personal protective equipment when people were stealing thermometers from hospitals and washing their hands liquid and other things.
“We don’t have masks, the focus is on hand washing, and now we know it’s airborne, so I’m mad.
“I’m doing my job, I’m looking after people, I’m doing what the NHS does, it cares, and then I get sick.»
Sarah said she can understand why employers might not want to be chronically infected with the coronavirus.
“I can’t do work, I need to take a nap after this [interview]. There won’t be many employers who will say “it’s okay, just sleep if you want”.
“I can’t focus on things long enough, I can’t focus on a computer screen long enough. What can I do and who would reasonably hire me? If I were an employer, I wouldn’t. I don’t have any help. »
Sarah has spent “thousands of pounds” for a private consultation with a Cardiff cardiologist and treatment including oxygen therapy and acupuncture in a desperate attempt to recover, to no avail.
Sarah graduated with honors from Midwifery in 2019.
But in March 2020, after just four months as a community midwife, she returned home from a shift at Neath Port Talbot Hospital and started experiencing symptoms of fatigue, which then subsided before turning into difficulty breathing.
Her partner was so concerned he called paramedics and she was rushed to hospital.
She has not worked since then.
She was not on full pay until this month, under the Welsh Government’s Covid sick leave rules.
“My life was interrupted and I couldn’t make plans. My youngest son Seth was 10 and he would say ‘Can we do something this weekend? I would say maybe.»
Looking at the photos she took before Covid, Sarah is a happy, healthy mother and partner who loves the outdoors and hits the gym at least 3 times a week.
But two years of illness took their toll.
Sarah said the chronic coronavirus had left her so exhausted and breathless that it was “impossible” to even take Seth to a party last weekend.
The venue is on a flight of stairs and there is no elevator.
And, instead of taking him to visit her new high school, one of the other parents took him into the building while she was waiting alone in the school auditorium.
The virus took away not only her strength, but her ability to be the parent she wanted to be, and even destroyed her memory and focus.
The family is now looking for other ways to stay financially healthy.
“Especially now, with the cost of living, it’s scary,” Sarah said.
She said she “goes above and beyond” at work, like everyone else on the NHS, adding: “But I don’t feel like anyone’s fighting for me, but I don’t have the energy…especially when you’re before you get up It’s already empty. »
Sarah’s employer, Swansea Bay University Health Board, was contacted by the BBC and referred to the Welsh Government.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “NHS Wales and unions have agreed to a Covid sick absence arrangement from 1 July to support a return to existing national conditions for all absences.
“Organizations can consider individual circumstances on a case-by-case basis and employ different compensation arrangements. »
- long term covid
- NHS Wales
- coronavirus pandemic
article Long Covid: Midwives furious over new NHS no-pay rules first appeared in Zimo News.