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‘I couldn’t do nothing’ - retired nurse returns to fight coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 15:04 27 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:04 27 April 2020

Donna Booton has returned to the frontline at Colchester Hospital to help fight the coronavirus crisis. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK AND NORTH ESSEX NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

Donna Booton has returned to the frontline at Colchester Hospital to help fight the coronavirus crisis. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK AND NORTH ESSEX NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

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A retired nurse has returned to the frontline to fight coronavirus at Colchester Hospital - saying she “couldn’t sit at home doing nothing”.

Donna Booton spent more than 38 years in the NHS, first working as a nurse and then holding a variety of senior roles before becoming head of quality improvement covering both Colchester and Ipswich hospitals.

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She retired from East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs the two hospitals, just before Christmas.

But, seeing demand increase due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she has returned to the wards as a site matron for Colchester Hospital.

“A lot of friends still work at the hospital, so I was well aware that demand was beginning to increase,” said Donna.

“I immediately knew that I should put my experience to good use and offer to help.

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“Once you are a nurse, it gets inside you. I couldn’t just sit at home and do nothing knowing that my colleagues would be up against it.

“I had absolutely no reservations at all about going back.”

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Donna’s role is to support colleagues and offer advice.

She is also helping to manage beds while making sure patients are being cared for by the right specialist teams.

“It has been lovely returning to work and everyone has been really welcoming,” she said.

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“In other ways it has been quite surreal – because there are no visitors at the moment, the corridors are very quiet and you can walk through the hospital and not see anyone else at all.

“I am happy to stay at the hospital for as long as I’m needed and just want to feel as if I’m helping.”


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