A hospital worker has spoken about how fear of coronavirus prompted her family to separate for two months.
Rosaline Pollard, 32, from Ashington, is a lead pharmacist at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex.
Her job involves making recommendations on ward rounds with consultants, but coming home to a young family during the pandemic proved a frightening prospect.
“It is scary. You don’t really expect to ever feel concerned about going into work,” Mrs Pollard told the PA news agency.
“Are you going to pick up something? Are you going to take it home to your family?”
“We’ve got two small children, a little boy who’s only just one, and our daughter’s two and a half.
“I felt nervous. I’d never forgive myself if I went to work and I brought something home and then they were really ill.
“We didn’t need to take that risk so we chose not to.”
To allay their fears, Mrs Pollard’s husband moved into his parents’ house in Surrey with their children in March.
Doing so gave Mrs Pollard flexibility to work late as well as peace of mind, but the move was not without challenges.
“I would walk across the landing and see their two little cots in their rooms, and I would think, ‘Oh, there’s no one in there’ – that was quite sad,” she said.
“The hardest bit was Easter weekend, because I didn’t actually have to work any shifts. Normally I’d love Friday to Monday off, but without them here, I had no idea what to do with myself.”
After almost two months spent apart, Mrs Pollard’s husband had to return to work, and so the family moved back home.
But family life has yet to return to normal as the fear of coronavirus remains.
“We didn’t really have a choice which is a bit of a concern because the lady who sits next to me in the office, she has quite recently been off poorly with Covid,” said Mrs Pollard.
“We’re just being as vigilant as possible. As soon as I get home, no cuddles or anything like that. It’s straight in the shower, get changed, don’t touch anything.”
Mrs Pollard is one of a number of key workers who have shared their stories as part of Sterling Mint’s Heroes of 2020 campaign.
The commemorative coin and medal company has launched a range of silver medals to recognise the pandemic’s key workers, with all profits to be donated to NHS Charities Together.
Ellie Orton, chief executive at NHS Charities Together, said: “The Heroes of 2020 campaign is a wonderful way to recognise the remarkable commitment made by key workers whilst also raising funds for NHS staff, volunteers and patients.
“Our Covid-19 appeal is about giving back and supporting to those who have done so much for us, and this campaign is a lovely way to do this.”