Lorenzo Boccuzzi from the building/maintenance team at Whipps Cross Hospital contributed greatly during the peak of the pandemic by installing screen protections, signage, posters and hand sanitizer dispensers.
He’s been working for the NHS for 15 years and the pandemic has been one of the most challenging things that he has experienced.
Hi Lorenzo, tell us a bit more about your role?
I work in the maintenance team and I’m a carpenter by trade.
My main role is anything to do with fixing or repairing things like lock doors, shelves, wall damage, ceiling, and glass and window repair. It’s basically to fix what’s broken to keep the hospital in good condition.
How was it for you and your team at the beginning of the pandemic?
As a team we tried to keep everything the same as normal, trying to keep the same jobs as normal and tried to keep everything going and carry on as if nothing was happening but around us we obviously saw a lot of changes, for instance the hospital was much quieter.
That was one thing that I noticed, because I’m used to the hustle and bustle of the hospital and all of a sudden we got the pandemic and not everyone was allowed to go out and not everyone was allowed to see people in the hospital.
I tried not to go into certain wards that were really high risk to contract the virus but all in all, I was happy that I had a job because a lot of people through this pandemic lost their job or were not able to work and I’ve been able to work all through the pandemic.
Were there any specific jobs during the pandemic that you were asked to help with?
One of my jobs was to keep everything safe, and that meant fitting locks in a lot of places because things went missing some times and people were trying to get hold off face masks and antibacterial hand gel because they were obviously on high demand at the beginning of the pandemic.
I was also asked to put a lot of screen protectors across the hospital which we never used to have. Actually I’m still doing this these days.
There were some doors that haven’t been closed in ages and all of a sudden they needed to be closed and locked so it was quite difficult to get them sorted. Jobs like this kept popping up.
How did you feel back then and were there any challenges?
I was just working through the pandemic, trying to get on with it and tried not to think about it too much.
Early on at the beginning of the pandemic, a lot people used to say that Covid could get in your clothes and you can transmit it and bring it home with you, so when I was going home before I greeted my wife and kids I had to make sure I washed my hands, changed my clothes because they were scared of getting infected.
It was difficult to keep social distance with my other colleagues at the time because we were in the same place, especially when we were on a break and we tried to keep our distance to one another. That was difficult and people sometimes don’t understand how difficult it can be for us keep away from people, but when you are working and going around the hospital it can be difficult some times – that’s what I found tricky but we all managed to do it.
Do you feel your work has helped staff and patients throughout the pandemic?
Yes, I feel that my work has a made a difference and I’ve made a contribution somehow. I like to think that what I do really helps people and that hopefully my work has made a difference to people in the hospital.