The hidden legacy of Covid laid bare by LancsLive reporter and photographer

Photographer James Maloney was given exclusive access to a Covid ward with reporter Jamie Lopez

In a country where facemasks are now a personal choice, not mandated by law, and where the final Covid restrictions are likely to be lifted within weeks, it can be easy to forget that Coronavirus continues to dominate life in local hospitals.

LancsLive reporter Jamie Lopez, and photographer James Maloney, were invited onto the wards of the Royal Preston Hospital to see how Covid-19 continues to be a major part of daily activities.

At the heart of the RPH’s response to Covid over the past two years has been ward 23, which saw 5,000 Covid patients.

Jamie told readers: “A Nightingale hub has been erected in the car park, other areas are being fitted out for possible ward conversion, and all the while fatigued and traumatised staff struggle to see when life will return to some level of normality.

“The end of Plan B restrictions may see people say goodbye to their masks and move to much fabled ‘new normal’ but the impact of Covid continues to be felt in every aspect of the hospital. Put simply, the pandemic shows no sign of nearing its end for those in the health service.”

While on the wards, medics were keen to stress the importance Covid vaccines have played.

Jamie added: “For staff who have witnessed more deaths than they ever could have expected, stress and trauma are key issues, as is the potential for further surges as restrictions diminish, masks are taken off and people return not just to the office but also their old ways of life.

“Meanwhile, those working behind the scenes in non-clinical roles must continue to spin plates, finding ever more innovative solutions to improving safety and tackling the ticking time bomb that is the massive backlog of treatments which have pushed back throughout the pandemic.”

You can read Jamie’s powerful article here, and James Maloney’s photos here.

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