Give an extra clap for operating theatre staff working on the COVID-19 frontline, says UNISON

UNISON and The College of Operating Department Practitioners mark annual National ODP Day

People across the country are being urged to recognise the work of operating department practitioners (ODPs) in caring for patients during the Coronavirus pandemic, says UNISON today (Thursday).

To mark annual National ODP Day today, the union and the College of Operating Department Practitioners (CODP) are encouraging everyone to give an extra clap at 8pm this evening on their doorsteps for these NHS staff.

ODPs work in operating theatres as well as in other areas within hospitals providing critical care. Their job is to provide complex care to patients at all stages of their operation, including the anaesthetic and recovery.

They include Louise Cowey who has been supporting Covid-19 patients as they are placed on ventilator machines in the intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

The senior ODP, who is the equivalent of a ward sister, carries out technical checks while also helping to reassure people and take any messages that need passing on to relatives.

She says: “We’re essentially the eyes and ears for patients and provide highly skilled care.

“It’s a really emotional job supporting patients with Covid-19. I’m often the last person they see before they’re sedated for the breathing tubes to be put in place.

“I do everything possible to comfort them and ensure messages are passed on to their loved ones who are unable to see them face-to-face.”

After starting at the hospital in administration 20 years ago, Louise went on to train as an ODP and gained a diploma at Northumbria University in operating department practice.

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “These dedicated NHS staff work tirelessly behind the scenes at every stage of an operation.

“This annual event is particularly special this year given the pandemic. It’s great to recognise the important work they do.”

CODP president Hannah Abbott said: “Every ODP has contributed to the current Covid-19 emergency. This includes on the frontline, supporting essential education or by assisting the government to protect the NHS.

“And for this – on National ODP day – we thank you.”

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