Hospital staff to enjoy a wild day out as a thank you

As a ‘thank you’ for the tremendous effort its staff have made throughout the challenges presented by Covid-19, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) have teamed up with Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) to host an exclusive ‘thank you’ event for local NHS heroes.

Richard Parker OBE, Chief Executive of DBTH said: “Over the past 18 months, every single member of Team DBTH has worked tirelessly to adapt to new ways of working which has allowed us to continue to care for patients throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. A large number of them have also spent a lot of time away from their families and they themselves have had to deal courageously with additional worries and anxieties of having a loved one fighting this disease on the frontline.

“We want to recognise these truly heroic contributions during the pandemic, and we thought the Yorkshire Wildlife Park provided the perfect opportunity for this. The park is set over hundreds of acres of land which will allows us all to adhere to social distancing guidance, whilst also coming together to celebrate our recent achievements, during what has been the most challenge period the Trust has ever encountered. It is a small gesture, but the least we could do for our amazing team.”

Taking place on Saturday 25 September, staff at Bassetlaw Hospital, Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Montagu Hospital and Retford Hospital will gain exclusive access to the 175 acre park, with family and loved ones also invited to come along to share in the fun. The Trust’s Board of Directors will personally greet guests, as well as present a special ‘thank you’ badge to all of the staff at DBTH.

This approach of bringing colleagues together, alongside their families and loved ones is supported by mental health experts and is seen as a good way to move past a time of high stress and anxiety.

Professor Neil Greenberg, a world-leading expert in trauma at King’s College London who set up the Mental Health staff support strategy at London’s Nightingale Hospital said: “Resilience doesn’t lie in individuals, but between individuals and now is a time when social networks and bonds need to be as strong as possible. Hospital trusts should be doing everything they can to provide opportunities for those social bonds to be really strengthened.”

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trust received an overwhelming amount of support from local residents in Doncaster and Bassetlaw, and many donors who provided funds made specific requests that their donations be used for the benefit of staff. Amongst these donations, DBTH Charity received a number of large sums from local businesses and individuals including Premiere League footballer and local lad, Danny Rose whose contribution will fund a large proportion of the events.

Another large proportion of the funding for the event is attributed to a donation made to the Trust through NHS Charities together after Captain Tom raised £32.8million for NHS colleagues.

Each member of staff will have access to one free ticket, and can also purchase two more at half-price. The event has been funded by kind donations given to the Trust during the pandemic, with YWP match-funding, providing half of the allocation of tickets. The offer is also extended to those who work at the hospitals but are not contracted to the NHS, as well as students and those who do regular bank shifts within the Trust.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park CEO John Minion said: “We are delighted to show our support for front line workers  after what has been an incredibly tough year for them all. We are really proud to host them all at our newly expanded park and will do everything to ensure they have a great day out.”

A number of local celebrities will be at the park on the day to say thank you to their health heroes including Olympic Taekwondo athlete Bradly Sinden who brought home silver for Great Britain at  Tokyo 2020. European Championship gold-medallist sprinter Lee Thomson and current Scottish record holder for the 200m sprint, Beth Dobbin will also be at the park on the day to celebrate their health heroes.

Richard continues: “Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Trust colleagues again for the inspiring effort and bravery you have displayed over the last few months and extend this thank you to your families for their resilience and patience. I hope you enjoy your day at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and I look forward to thanking you all in person.”

To-date, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals have cared for over 3,700 people with Covid-19.