A JUNIOR doctor who volunteered to help provide palliative care for patients dying from Covid-19 has spoken of his experience in what has become an unprecedented time for the NHS.

In the Bradford district, the hospital death toll is now nearing 300 and the pandemic has meant young doctors in training have found themselves working on the Covid wards.

Anish Mistry, 25, who grew up in Clayton and attended Thornton Grammar School before completing his degree at the University of Leeds, already had some experience of palliative care through his work at the Marie Curie hospice and put himself forward to care for patients in their final hours.

While more than 370 patients who have been treated for coronavirus at the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) have been discharged, some patients sadly deteriorate and die despite all the treatments doctors try.

Speaking on the BBC Radio Four programme The NHS Front Line, which has focused on the Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) since the early days of the pandemic and lockdown, he said: “I’ve actually seen quite a lot of death compared to the other juniors here and it has been of Covid and the way I see it, sometimes, it’s just a death that’s happened that shouldn’t have happened and it’s a terrible situation.

"I just take it as it comes and I’ve done the small things that matter.

“When a patient arrives they are really distressed - sometimes they have been taken off ventilators and if you’ve had a ventilator, like a CPAP machine opening your lungs up for the last two weeks, that’s suddenly not there, they arrive really distressed.”

He added: “All I’ve done is use that knowledge I’ve gained through Marie Curie, done the right medications to make them feel comfortable - because that’s the focus at that point.

“Then on top of that I’ve used all the basic things - mouth care is so important and just making sure their positioning is right and actually, just holding their hands. Making sure there’s a staff member to hold their hand, because I can imagine it’s incredibly scary for people as they are gasping for air, they’ve got no relatives around, it’s a really horrible situation.”

He spoke of how the smallest gestures can be the most meaningful in providing care for patients who are dying, but the most difficult aspect is making phone calls to relatives

“I found that incredibly tough,” he said.

He told the Telegraph & Argus: "I'm really enjoying working at the BRI, I think the response from the whole hospital has been incredible. Everyone has banded together.

"I feel like we're making a massive difference in such an awful situation. Being a Bradford lad, I feel like I'm giving back to the community."

Meanwhile, Martin Walker manages the hospital mortuary, where changes have had to be made in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking on the programme, he said: “It’s the biggest potential rise in the death toll for 100 years and we’ve got to look at PPE (personal protective equipment), we’ve got to look at staffing levels.

“We’re normally a team of two, but now we’ve got extra staff in so we’re now a team of five, to cope with the surge. We’re working now on a seven-day rota, whereas before it would just be Monday to Friday.”