Storm Emma may have wreaked havoc on travel, business and schools across the region – but vital care services at Weston Hospicecare and local medical centres remained fully functional thanks to a team of volunteer 4×4 drivers from Burnham-On-Sea.
Snow and ice brought much of the South West to a standstill on Friday, but Weston Hospicecare continues to provide free, expert care to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families.
A number of hospice staff have battled their way through the snow on foot from across the area to ensure care services could be maintained.
The hospice’s team of community nurses continue to reach as many patients as possible, in most cases by travelling to appointments across North Somerset on foot.
However, it is thanks to a team of 12 volunteers at Burnham-On-Sea’s BARB Search & Rescue that the hospice’s In-Patient Unit continues to be fully-staffed.
BARB’s 4×4 drivers have been busy ferrying the unit’s nurses into and out of work from across Weston-super-Mare, Worle and Burnham, and outlying villages too. In many cases, standing snow would otherwise have made their journeys to work impossible.
As a result of BARB’s gesture, the seven patients currently onsite at the hospice’s In-Patient Unit continue to receive their usual round-the-clock care from a full complement of clinical staff.
Weston Hospicecare’s Director of Patient Services, John Bailey, said: “Snow storms over the past couple of days have caused chaos for people all across the area, but even in tough conditions such as these it of course remains essential for us to be able to ensure our patients continue to receive the quality of care they need.”
“We know Weston Hospicecare’s staff and volunteers are committed and passionate about the work they do, and we’re grateful to all of those who have gone above and beyond to make it into work today, and to those who have taken on extra tasks to ensure services are maintained.”
“However, we know too that some of our in-patient unit team simply would not have been able to get here without help from the team at BARB, so we’re enormously grateful to them for their efforts on our behalf. BARB’s work has made a real difference in helping us to support our patients.”
The BARB volunteers have also helped transport staff for Burnham-On-Sea Hospital, Highbridge Medical Centre and Bridgwater Hospital during the snow using its 4x4s.
A BARB spokesman said: “BARB Search & Rescue is happy to be providing emergency snow transport to Weston Hospicecare and other crucial local medical services during the extreme wintry conditions to enable their vital work to continue.”
“BARB has a team of trained 4×4 drivers who are able to drive in a variety of demanding conditions. As an organisation with the local community firmly at our roots, we will always try to help in times of difficulty.”
Pictured: Top, BARB Search & Rescue volunteers David Flurry and Adrian Hooke help staff get to work at Weston Hospicecare; above, Sam Mason and Bob Smith at the Burnham Hospital