A FORMER NHS worker has answered a call for ex-colleagues to return to hospital wards to help medics tackle coronavirus – and is now helping out in Barnsley on her days off.

Sue Williamson, not content with rising to the challenge of working a shift on Sundays at Barnsley Hospital’s intensive care unit treating coronavirus patients, is also donating her extra wage to Cancer Research UK.

The mum-of-five is currently Interserve Healthcare’s head nurse for the north of England, but worked for the NHS up until two years ago – including in Barnsley – and returned last month to help ease the workload.

She said: “It was important for me to lead by example because I am asking colleagues to go above and beyond and carry out challenging work supporting people in the community with multiple health issues as well as Covid-19.

“I also wanted to help the NHS and answer their call. They are stretched and it’s only right to support them. I feel positively about the fact I can contribute my services.

“What the NHS is doing restores your faith in humanity. It is really heartwarming to see colleagues giving such loving care and attention to patients during a 12-hour shift – especially while wearing all the PPE because it gets exceptionally hot in that gear.”

Sue, who is married to a police officer, was given responsibility for a patient on a ventilator on her first day back and has so far completed four shifts, but said she is looking forward to completing more in the coming months.

She added: “I’m not doing this for the money, I’m doing it because I can and it’s the right thing to do.

“I therefore decided to donate my NHS wage to Cancer Research UK’s ‘Petal’ appeal, which specialises in raising cash for children with the disease.”

Sue was able to join Barnsley Hospital to help the UK’s response to Covid-19 thanks to a new rapid response service set up by NHS Professionals, an organisation that supplies temporary staff to the NHS.

Ian Mulholland, managing director of Interserve, said: “Sue is a fantastic colleague and the fact she has voluntarily returned to the NHS to work with Covid-19 patients is inspirational. Even more remarkable is her determination to raise funds for Petal.

“Our colleagues are delivering a range of services to support patients in the community and I am immensely proud of all of them, particularly during this challenging time.

Trevor Lake, chairman of Barnsley Hospital, paid tribute to current staff and returning workers who have helped relieve the workload.

“The coronavirus pandemic is putting immense pressure on us all and yet the response across Barnsley has been one of great courage and amazing patience,” he said.

“In the hospital, our staff colleagues are working incredibly hard to keep us and our loved ones safe whether they’re directly caring for patients, cleaning wards or running reception desks.

“They are there for us all when we need them and I cannot express how grateful and proud we are of them all.”