Ebola survivor Will Pooley from Eyke near Woodbridge says response to the disease is ‘woefully slow’

Ebola survivor William Pooley (left)

Ebola survivor William Pooley (left) - Credit: PA

William Pooley, the British nurse from Suffolk, who survived Ebola, has said the international response to the crisis has been “woefully slow”.

The 29-year-old, who lives in Eyke, near Woodbridge, returned to Sierra Leone in West Africa last month to continue treating patients in an Ebola isolation unit run by UK medical staff.

Discussing his return to the country where he caught the infection on the BBC, Mr Pooley said “the biggest surprise was getting back here and seeing so many dead people”.

He described seeing around eight to 10 corpses a day.

He said: “The response has been woefully slow. People don’t have any appreciation of the numbers of people, little kids that are dying. Because people are being too slow back in Europe and the States and elsewhere.”


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The nurse described the circumstances at the Connaught Hospital where he is working in his second spell treating people infected by the deadly virus.

“We’ve got one bed at the moment and there’s four suspects in the tent,” he said.

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Mr Pooley said that staff were screening patients outside the hospital to avoid people suspected of Ebola going in.

“The thought of Christmas at home is great in some ways. But you’re not going to be able to switch off and enjoy your roast and relaxing with your family when you know what’s going on here. When you know what you should be doing.”

Mr Pooley, from Eyke in Suffolk, became the first confirmed Briton to contract Ebola and was flown back to the UK in August, where he was treated at the Royal Free Hospital in London. He was treated with the experimental drug ZMapp and left hospital on September 3 after making a full recovery.

On leaving hospital he said: “The real emergency is in West Africa, and the teams out there need all the support we can give them.”

He joined the King’s Health Partners team in October, a partnership between King’s College London and three NHS trusts - Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley.

More than 4,500 people have died from Ebola, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Department for International Development announced earlier this month that it was releasing £1.34 million in a joint fund with the Wellcome Trust. The funding will support five projects run by leading British and international researchers in a bid to improve evidence and understanding of the Ebola outbreak.

The UK, which has committed £125 million to tackling Ebola, has put pressure on other wealthy countries to do more to combat the spread of the virus.

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