Catholic MP returns to NHS front line to help in coronavirus fight
A Catholic MP has returned to the NHS front line to help in the fight against the coronavirus.
Conservative MP Maria Caulfield said “we desperately need people” to help the NHS in its fight against coronavirus as she announced she was returning to her job as a nurse alongside her political role.
“I have kept my nursing registration since I became an MP in 2015,” Ms Caulfield said.
She explained that she was returning to nursing because “the NHS will be getting unprecedented numbers of patients needing care, but also because staff are liable to get sick themselves.
“They can only go at 110 per cent pace for so long and will need breaks themselves.”
Ms Caulfield, who used to work at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Brompton, is the MP for Lewes in East Sussex.
She will be working on the front line in time for night shifts, weekends and during Parliamentary recess.
Her announcement follows a call from Health Secretary Matt Hancock for doctors and nurses who have recently left the NHS to return to help fight Covid-19.
Ms Caulfield said: “I am very happy to use that time to help those who are ill during this time.
“I have got all my training for that hospital. I have still got that uniform.
“For me it’s very easy to get back into the swing of things, others will need more help to do that.”
Ms Caulfield, who was returned to the House of Commons with a majority of 2,437 in December’s general election, said: “It’s important to help out if you can.
“With schools closed it’s putting a lot of pressure on the NHS.
“If one member of their family goes into self-isolation they all have to now, so that’s taking people out of the system.”
She has kept in contact with former colleagues in the NHS, who she says are working long hours.
With the coronavirus crisis escalating every day, Ms Caulfield said she was granted an exception from the ministerial code to go back to work.
She said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “very supportive” of her decision.
Welcoming Ms Caulfield’s announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Twitter: ‘Thank you Maria for responding to the call.
‘The country needs the NHS, and the NHS needs you and other trained staff on the front line.’
The NHS is looking for volunteers to join its ranks to help the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are your questions answered on the NHS Volunteer Army:
– Who is being asked to join?
People in good health are being asked to join the national effort to ensure vulnerable people can stay safe and well at home and to support local services.
– How many people are needed?
At least quarter of a million.
– What are volunteers being asked to do?
As many as 1.5 million vulnerable people across England have been instructed to “shield” themselves from society to ensure they do not get the virus. The volunteers will help ensure these people have vital supplies such as food and medicines. They may also be asked to drive people to appointments or make regular phone calls to those in isolation.
– What about local schemes already in place?
These people are not intended to replace local schemes already set up to help the vulnerable, but to provide additional assistance to the NHS.
– How will we know who needs help?
GPs, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, NHS 111 advisers and social care staff will all be able to request help for their at-risk patients via a call centre run by the Royal Voluntary Service, who will match people who need help with volunteers who live near to them.
– How can they join?
Members of the public can sign up at goodsamapp.org/NHS
Picture: Catholic Conservative MP Maria Caulfield who has said “we desperately need people” to help the NHS in its fight against coronavirus as she announced she was returning to her job as a nurse alongside her political role. (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA).