Health heroes go the extra mile to provide care despite snow and freezing conditions

Health heroes have been going the extra mile to ensure people get the care they need and stay safe as the county is battered by snow and freezing temperatures. 

Doctors, community carers, pharmacists and practice staff have walked and cycled miles, bunked down at colleagues’ homes and used some very interesting modes of transport in their determination not to be ground to a halt  by the ‘Beast from the East’ and ‘Storm Emma’. 

Dr Bradley Medlock, a GP at the Mullion and Constantine Group Practice, ran eight miles from Helston to Mullion through snow and freezing conditions, to make sure he reached the surgery – and even arrived half an hour early. 

Luckily for Dr Medlock, a member of Hayle running club, a patient offered the doc a lift back at the end of his shift in their four by four. 

At Helston Medical Centre not even frozen drains, a burst pipe and broken front door could stop the surgery remaining open throughout the bad weather.  One nurse even arrived on a tractor. 

A GP organised ‘snow socks’ for colleagues so that they could continue to drive on the ice and snow, and drove an 80 mile round trip to make sure that every GP had them. 

Alison Butterill, from the Helston Medical Centre, said: “Throughout the three days not one patient was turned away, not one person moaned. I am so proud that under such difficult circumstances – when other services closed  we carried on. 

For carer Karen Yates, who works for Thyme Care Limited, snow wasn’t going to stop her from carrying out a job she is dedicated to. 

Despite getting stranded in a snow drift, she managed to dig out her car and carry on.  

When driving became impossible, she completed the journey and the visit on foot only to return to her car to find she was snowed in again. 

Elaine Noble, from Thyme Care Limited, said: “Luckily she managed to catch a lift back to her home in Nancledra on the back of a tractor.” 

Other staff also walked miles on treacherous roads to make sure the most vulnerable received the care they needed. 

Elaine said: “They were out there in those hazardous conditions but it wasn’t going to stop them reaching service users, making sure that those service users were safe and ensuring they had the medication that they needed, a hot drink and that they were warm. It brought me to tears – they are remarkable.”

Klara Godone Zavilla, who works for home care provider Taylors of Grampound, pulled out all the stops, working a 17 hour shift on foot to make sure all visits were made and logged correctly - only to be back in again bright and early the next day.

There were also stories of colleagues pulling together in other ways. Gary Lockwood gave up his day off to rescue a colleague stranded in the snow and then volunteered to complete her shift.

Meanwhile James Godolphin didn’t let an accident in his car get in the way of helping others.

Jane Batterbury, head of community support, said: “Rather than abandon his work he made safe his vehicle and continued his run of work on foot ensuring that no client was without a visit.

“The support staff of Taylors of Grampound never cease to make me proud of working alongside them.”

Andrew Abbott, NHS Kernow’s director of primary care, said: “I have had heard some truly incredible stories, some of which are included here but there are others such as those walking in for four miles to get to work; practices with a single doctor seeing everyone and working non-stop all day. Thank you to each and every one of you for your amazing efforts during a truly difficult few days and for putting the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, first, as always.”