The coronavirus pandemic is a time like no other. As the government works to 'flatten the curve' of cases - ensuring the NHS have enough resource to look after the severely and critically ill - the general public is being told to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
As part of the effort to fight coronavirus, the government has enlisted the help of thousands of retired or ex- doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to return to the NHS. Among the willing volunteers are several famous faces, who have either returned to their former healthcare jobs from their position in the spotlight, or have upped their workload to provide all the help they can give.
Kudos to these brave people, who are putting their own lives at risk to help others at this time of need:
1. Princess Sofia of Sweden
In an effort to be as proactive as she can during the pandemic, HRH Princess Sofia of Sweden took a three-day medical course at Sophiahemmet University College in Stockholm, where she is an honorary chair member, to gain some useful skills. Following her training, she will now work in the hospital as a healthcare assistant, doing her bit to help those who are seriously ill with coronavirus.
Alongside the Swedish Princess, it's reported that approximately 80 people per week have signed up to carry out the same training at the hospital, to aid its emergency efforts. The royal will not have any direct contact with patients, but will instead help doctors and nurses with housekeeping tasks such as disinfecting medical equipment, cleaning, and working the kitchen.
2. Malin Andersson
Love Island 2016 star Malin Andersson has been an influencer and body positivity advocate since she appeared on the popular show. But she is also trained as an elderly and palliative carer, having been inspired to work in the area following her mum's death from cancer in 2017.
Malin has decided to return to her job as a carer during the coronavirus pandemic, as she explained last week on Twitter, "I can’t sit at home on my own anymore knowing I have training within the sector. My heart hurts for them, and if I can give something more then what I’m doing - then I am satisfied."
A couple of days later, Malin updated her followers to say she'd completed her first shift. "My heart feels full. So so full," she wrote on Twitter.
First shift complete. My heart feels full. So so full.— Malin Andersson (@MissMalinSara) April 1, 2020
Reflecting on the decision to go back to work as a carer, Malin shared: "I’m blessed to be able to work from home and that I’m financially free. I have a roof over my head. I have food. But with all of that something is still missing - that’s me sat here healthy knowing I can do more. Giving to others fills a void that material things can never bring."
3. Dr Ranj Singh
TV's Dr Ranj Singh may be a regular fixture on This Morning, where he shares his expert opinion on health issues, but that doesn't mean he's packed in his job as an NHS doctor. Dr Ranj specialises in paediatric emergency medicine, which he has continued to during the pandemic.
As he put it on Twitter following one programme recording: "TV job done... now off to the day job! I get a lot of stick for working in the media. Sometimes it’s quite hurtful. But I’m beyond proud to still be working alongside my AWESOME NHS colleagues. We are so lucky to have these people looking after us. So thank you!"
4. MP, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan
For the past four years, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan has served as the Member of Parliament for the London constituency of Tooting. But in the midst of the pandemic, Dr Allin-Khan has put her day job on the back burner to return to her medical roots.
Having worked in several London hospitals previously, including in the A&E department of St George's Hospital in Tooting, the MP also spent years working as a humanitarian aid doctor abroad. But in the 2016 by-election, Dr Allin-Khan switched to a political career. She continued doing occasional shifts as a doctor, but has gladly upped these in a bid to help coronavirus patients.
Delighted to be called by @Keir_Starmer earlier and to have been asked to join the Shadow Cabinet as the Shadow Minister for Mental Health, working with the fab @JonAshworth.— Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (@DrRosena) April 6, 2020
I’ll be back on the NHS frontline in coming days! pic.twitter.com/CL0RHncRCs
Despite having just been announced as new Labour leader Keir Starmer's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, it looks like Dr Allin-Khan will be focussing on her frontline medical work for the foreseeable future.
5. Anna Vakili
Love Island 2019 star Anna Vakili quit her old job as a pharmacist before heading into the Spanish villa last summer, but she has returned to work as a pharmacist amid the coronavirus pandemic. Telling fans why she's chosen to go back to her former profession, she said: "It felt wrong not to."
Alongside a picture of herself in the pharmacy, Anna wrote on Instagram: "First day back working as a Pharmacist since leaving Love Island. It’s been almost a whole year! Wow can’t believe how fast it’s gone. Wasn’t really planning on registering yet but with everything that’s going on it felt wrong not to. We can all fight this together. Stay safe. Stay home. Save lives 💙."
6. Rita Ora
While singer Rita Ora has no medical or carer training she can utilise to help the NHS, she is doing all she can by signing up to be an NHS volunteer. Along with her sister Elena, Rita has put her name down to be a volunteer for the NHS, which can involve anything from delivering medical supplies and collecting prescriptions, to checking on the elderly and making phone calls to lonely and vulnerable.
In an interview with Hello!, Rita's mum Vera - who's a psychiatrist and has returned to the NHS front line to protect mental health patients from the virus - said her daughter is "very keen to do her bit."
"She and her older sister Elena are among the 750,000 people who have applied to help out and prevent this illness coming through our door and overwhelming the NHS."
Speaking herself to Hello!, Rita Ora shared how proud she is of her mum's decision to go back to work during this time. "My mother has always been my hero, but this pandemic has honestly made her a superhero in my eyes," she said, adding: "But it's not only my mum, all the NHS doctors and nurses are my heroes."
7. Former MP, Karen Lee
Karen Lee was previously the Labour MP for Lincoln, although she lost her seat at the general election in December 2019. Prior to her career in politics, Karen worked as a nurse, and since the coronavirus crisis unfolded she has tweeted to say that she is returning to her old at Lincoln County Hospital.
Mid-March, Karen posted, "Ready now to go back to Lincoln County hospital and do my bit to help nurse patients in the current health crisis," before ticking off a virtual checklist including getting her uniform, a new pair of comfy work shoes and a nurse's fob watch. "I'ts going to be a busy time, keep safe everybody," the former MP urged.
Since returning to work as a nurse, Karen has been vocal about what she sees as necessary to be done going forward. Writing on Twitter, Karen said: "From the front-line of the NHS Prime Minister the answers are:
- The right PPE for everyone working in our NHS across the country
- Access to testing
- Decent wages
- Adequate NHS funding to address staff shortages
- Reinstate nursing bursaries immediately
8. Dr Alex George
Love Island 2018 star Dr Alex George could easily have abandoned his medical background for a life of sponsored social media posts following his moment in the spotlight, but he didn't. The 30-year-old continued working part-time in the A&E department of London's Lewisham hospital, and he's stepped up to work long shifts during the pandemic, too.
Despite having had to isolate away from his girlfriend, Amelia, and the rest of his family, Dr Alex has been remaining positive and posting regularly on Instagram in his scrubs. "I have isolated myself away from the people that I love because I couldn’t risk giving it to anyone," the Love Islander opened up in one post." To be honest it has been really hard being alone at times. Without me knowing Amelia asked people to send in messages of support and what they are up to in isolation. THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE 💙 I will stop crying at some point 😭 Definitely will be going to work with a smile on my face."
In a later post, a group photo taken on shift with the rest of his team, Dr Alex wrote: "From my family to yours, stay home and stay safe. We are on shift and so won’t be able to hear your clap tonight, but know that the message is received loud and clear."
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