“We are staying at home. We want to stop the coronavirus from spreading”

Touching letter from 8-year-old Lyla to hospital pharmacy workers

Sage advice and heartfelt thanks, all bundled up in a handwritten thank you letter to hospital staff in Cottingham.

Lyla shows her support for the NHS

Senior Pharmacy Technician, Liam Kirby, and his colleagues received the letter from eight-year-old Thoresby Street Primary School pupil, Lyla Robinson, this week.

Liam works in Castle Hill Hospital’s Aseptic Unit, an essential behind-the-scenes service which prepares chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients and provides complete nutritional solutions (“Total Parenteral Nutrition”) for patients who are unable to eat.

Lyla’s letter reads:

Lyla pens her letter to staff

“I am writing to say thank you for helping us…. Everybody is very thankful for all the work you are doing for us in this hard time.

“We are staying at home these days because we want to stop the coronavirus spreading. We are social distancing. If we do this, the virus wouldn’t spread. It is also very important that we wash our hands.

“We appreciate all the hard work you do, and we are thinking about you. Thank you again!”

Lyla’s words of support come at a crucial time for staff across Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, as they brace themselves for a further rise in the number of patients being admitted with coronavirus.

And while the Aseptic Team is not always considered a front line service, their role is invaluable in ensuring scores of critically ill patients, some of whom will be COVID-19 positive, receive the daily medication and nutritional support they need.

Liam says:

“We have seen a lot of appreciation for health and care workers in recent weeks, and it’s great to know that the public are behind us at what is a worrying time for everyone.

Members of the Aseptic Team prepare a patient’s chemotherapy

“Lyla’s letter was so lovely to read. It was fantastic to read her words of support for us and to know that she understands and appreciates the role that the Aseptic Team and the pharmacy staff, who aren’t always visible to the public, still play in supporting patients’ health and recovery.

“We’re a small team who provide a big service. Our work, and the safety of the patients receiving the packs we prepare, are reliant on us operating in a sterile environment, so it was music to our ears to see that she understood the importance of handwashing too!”

Sharon Tummons, the Aseptic Unit’s Principal Pharmacy Technician says:

“I am extremely proud of my team; they have always had a strong work ethic but that’s even more evident in these uncertain times.

“The Aseptic Unit plays a major role when it comes to patient care. Each member of my staff shows such professionalism, dedication and immense pride, knowing that each product they manufacture contributes to successful patient outcomes.

“Receiving the letter from Lyla has boosted staff morale and even though it’s such a scary time for children, I’m so pleased she is aware just how crucial good handwashing is for infection control. We are all grateful that she has recognised the importance of what we do and the contribution of all NHS staff.”

Members of the Aseptic Unit Team (photo taken prior to social distancing rules being introduced)

And as the Bank Holiday weekend begins, Lyla’s words of advice are also echoed by trust Chief Operating Officer, Teresa Cope:

“Coronavirus has created an unprecedented challenge for our hospitals, and while we have plans in place and we are ready to act, we need every person to play their part so we can all get through this.

“Quite simply, the message is “stay at home”. No matter how nice the weather is this weekend or how tempting it may be to meet up with friends, please follow the Government’s advice. Practice social distancing, only go outside for essential travel or for short exercise, and together we will beat this.”