A HOSPITAL boss has praised his staff for showing “bravery and dedication” during the coronavirus crisis.

Nurses and doctors at Braintree Hospital have helped treat dozens of Covid-19 patients from all over Essex since the pandemic began in March.

Healthcare provider Provide has been tasked with running the hospital during the crisis and says it was able to make small changes to the day surgery area to turn it into a place to treat coronavirus patients.

Provision for an extra 24 beds was also made amid fears major nearby hospitals such as Broomfield and Colchester would be overwhelmed with patients.

A spokesman said: “At the height of the outbreak we nursed many patients who were suffering from Covid-19 which was very challenging for our staff who obviously had not experienced this type of condition previously.

“It addition to our existing doctors and nursing workforce, many of our other staff volunteered to work on the ward supporting our clinical staff and comforting patients who were unable to have visitors.

“They used social media and video technology to bring families together, some at the end of their lives, as a result of the pandemic.”

Data released by NHS England shows six people have died so far at Braintree Hospital while being treated for coronavirus.

The rate of infection in Essex has slowed in recent weeks and Provide has now set up a rehabilitation ward and stroke ward at the hospital.

A spokesman said they were unable to confirm if doctors and nurses were still treating patients for Covid-19 because the figures change on a day to day basis.

But Provide chief executive John Niland has heaped praise on his staff for their ongoing work in tackling the virus and comforting patients suffering from Covid-19.

Braintree and Witham Times:

He said: “This outbreak has proved, if indeed proof was required, how dedicated and brave our staff are in continuing to put others before themselves.

“Not only our fantastic clinicians but our back-office and support staff who have put themselves on the frontline in an effort to combat this dreadful pandemic.

“They have provided the comfort needed when loved ones have been unable to visit people in our care because of COVID-19 restrictions and have reported how privileged they feel to be able to do this for people.

“They have also managed to maintain our Community Nursing Service during the outbreak and assist Essex County Council in setting up and running the Essex Welfare Service, which has proven to be a lifeline for many.

“We have appreciated the public support for our staff over the past months and we hope it continues into the future.

“Needless to say, I am immensely proud of each and every one of them.”