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Mandy

Age at interview: 59
Brief Outline:

Gender: Female
Ethnicity: White British
Background: Mandy is 59 and White British. She is a manager at a GP practice in Wales.  Mandy felt that working at a GP surgery and maintaining social interactions helped with her and her colleagues’ mental health throughout the pandemic.

 

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Mandy continued to work as a practice manager in a GP surgery throughout the pandemic. During the national lockdown periods, she says it was a very strange time because there was no traffic on the road, and there were only a few patients who would have in-person consultations. She and her colleagues all had letters explaining that they were healthcare employees in case they were stopped by police. Everyone wore masks and PPE and patients who had Covid symptoms could not enter the surgery. 
 
Mandy and several of her colleagues got ill with Covid in December 2020. They all experienced different symptoms. She was sick for the longest, and experienced terrible headaches. She was sad to miss spending Christmas with her family. 
 
Mandy says that her mental health was not affected by the pandemic. She believes this was because she continued to go into work and had social interactions. The most stressful event for her was when her mother passed away. She explains that the usual processes of getting a death certificate were delayed because of Covid.
 
Mandy felt that the vaccine rollout was difficult to implement, and described it as ‘horrendous.’ She says that elderly patients were sent to a vaccination centre quite far from her surgery whereas younger groups were able to get the vaccine in her surgery. Mandy says that people got quite angry about this. As she put it, “I’ve worked in general practice 27 years we have never experienced anything like people’s attitudes towards us and how they spoke to us.” 

 

 

Mandy, who is a practice manager at a GP surgery, recalls other potential outbreaks that had come to nothing.

Mandy, who is a practice manager at a GP surgery, recalls other potential outbreaks that had come to nothing.

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Yeah, I can remember when it, it was being bandied about that there was this, this, there was this Covid-19 and it was, it was in [country] and it was coming over. When we think we’ve, we’ve done this before. In all my years, we had the swine flu and we had all this. And I think, in the beginning, none of us thought it was gonna be like this. We didn’t really take it serious. ‘Cos we, we’ve been through this before. There’s been other, there’s been other times when they said, “oooh you’re gonna have swine flu.” I can remember we all had the special masks then, years ago and we all had to have the swine flu injections, and this is you know, gonna have this and remember we were all a bit, all of us, I think, doctors all of us. It’ll come to nothing. And then like you started to sort of get closer and people started to go down and then there who were people dying and you started to see more stuff on the TV. And then, it sort of just hit us, really then. I, to be honest, I think we were all thinking uh, this might be happening here, something might be happening. And all of a sudden then, it was, you need to stop people coming in. Don’t let anybody in. You know, respiratory, you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta wear PPE. Obviously, in the beginning, it was a nightmare ‘cos we didn’t have PPE in the beginning. We were struggling.

 

 

Mandy, a GP practice manager recalls trying to communicate with patients about Covid safety.

Mandy, a GP practice manager recalls trying to communicate with patients about Covid safety.

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Everything was changing for us in work. One minute you’re doing this and not allowed to do this and then you have to do that. A lot of pressure off patients that, ‘cos obviously to them it was all new to them. It was all new to us. We were trying to persuade people not to come in. You know, we had, in our area, we had a like a Covid hub where patients could go and meet, see a doctor and we, you know, be examined to try and stop them coming to our cluster. We had that for a little bit.

 

 

Mandy describes doing a lateral flow and PCR test. She found the lateral flow easier, but she is now used to both.

Mandy describes doing a lateral flow and PCR test. She found the lateral flow easier, but she is now used to both.

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Well, the lateral flow is much easier, ‘cos it’s just a, up your nose. It’s the back of the throat that’s on the PCR which is awful, ‘cos it does, it try they say, don’t touch your tongue. Don’t ah, don’t touch your tonsils. Ohhh. And that’s the bit. Have you had when you always gag, uh, ‘cos it’s, ‘cos it’s gotta go back so far. And then, yes, so but I’m used to it now. I don’t mind.

 

 

Mandy, who caught Covid in December 2020, had never experienced such a bad headache.

Mandy, who caught Covid in December 2020, had never experienced such a bad headache.

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I was my biggest symptoms was the temperature and the pains in my head. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. I felt like my head was gonna explode. And I said to him, the only relief I got was a hot water bottle and I’d have a hot water bottle on my head ‘cos the heat of it and then I’d go and stand under a boiling hot shower and then the water went on my head. I needed heat on my head, something to try and help it.

 

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