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Peninsula Practice staff make it to work ‘by hook or by crook’ amid snow chaos

PUBLISHED: 17:29 02 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:31 02 March 2018

Staff at the Alderton Health Centre have been praised for their commitment and resilience during the bad weather this week.  Left to right: Zoe Goldsmith, Amber Snowdon, Dr Heather Noone, Sarah Fiddes, Dr Fiona Hobday. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Staff at the Alderton Health Centre have been praised for their commitment and resilience during the bad weather this week. Left to right: Zoe Goldsmith, Amber Snowdon, Dr Heather Noone, Sarah Fiddes, Dr Fiona Hobday. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A leading doctor in rural Suffolk has praised the commitment and resilience of her staff and the community amid a hazardous cold snap.

Sarah Fiddes, Dr Heather Noone, Zoe Goldsmith, Dr Fiona Hobday and Amber Snowdon of the Alderton Health Centre.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSarah Fiddes, Dr Heather Noone, Zoe Goldsmith, Dr Fiona Hobday and Amber Snowdon of the Alderton Health Centre. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Dr Lindsey Crockett says she has been “touched” by how everyone has rallied together to overcome challenges brought by a severe weather front nicknamed the Beast from the East.

Dr Crockett is a GP partner at Peninsula Practice, which covers 80 square miles of countryside with two surgeries in Alderton and Orford, and a full-time GP service in Warren Hill and Hollesley Bay prisons.

Virtually all staff have managed to get to work this week despite blocked roads, snowdrifts reaching 6ft, icy treacherous roads and temperatures sinking to -5C (23F), Dr Crockett said.

One of the practice nurses left her home in Kesgrave at 5.30am to get to Orford; a receptionist’s husband went out to rescue a stranded GP; and two doctors abandoned their cars in the snow to reach work.

Dr Lindsey Crockett from Peninsula Practice. Picture: LOUISE BUTLERDr Lindsey Crockett from Peninsula Practice. Picture: LOUISE BUTLER

A woman employed as a dispenser for the practice enlisted the help of her husband so she could deliver medication as usual on Wednesday.

Patients have also displayed “true camaraderie”, Dr Crockett said, helping to clear snowy paths, offering the use of their 4x4 vehicles and providing warm soup and tea.

A local professional carer contacted the practice to say they could visit patients in their homes for any non-medical needs; while clinical staff not employed at the organisation but who lived in the area offered their services.

Dr Crockett said: “I wouldn’t normally blow our trumpet but I was so touched by the incredible community spirit and our staff commitment.

“We are good at getting bashed a lot, the NHS and GPs, and actually this was an example of where there was true resilience.

“The staff got themselves to work by hook or by crook.”

She added: “I think I was slightly anticipating that there would be staff who couldn’t get in, but in fact it was the opposite, everyone felt inspired and motivated by each other’s strength of spirit and it was such a lovely atmosphere to be working.”

Meanwhile, bosses at Ipswich, West Suffolk and Colchester hospitals have said their A&E departments have not seen a rise in attendances by patients suffering from weather-related problems this week.

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