Jo Strickland - A radiographer's plea

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

I am a therapeutic radiographer. Every day I treat cancer patients with the hope of, at best, curing them or, at worst, giving them a better end of life. These are patients who are dealing with an awful disease. They don’t need another.

I love my job, I love my colleagues and I love the patients who come and go and become friends for a few weeks at a time. I used to go to work knowing I was making a positive difference in their lives, but now, despite following government advice, I go to work hoping I’m not the unsuspecting weak link in a chain that passes on this new disease to someone who is already dealing with too much. And I pray that my patients haven’t inadvertently come into contact with someone who didn’t realise social distancing was a necessity rather than an option.

I’m young(ish) and I’m healthy and can probably/hopefully deal with COVID-19 if it darkens my doorstep but I’m not sure all the ‘friends’ I see on a daily basis can. These people are my priority. They are the reason I wish people would just stay home. I need the deniers to let me treat my cancer patients without the daily fear that while they battle one evil they may be being inflicted with another.

Jo Strickland, Radiotherapy Team Leader

The NHS is awesome and rightly deserves the current influx of appreciation it is swamped with but I’m not directly on the coronavirus frontline and I’m not looking for applause, gratefulness or thanks. In fact, in this weird world in which we’re currently living, I actually think I’m lucky. I get to go to work every day as normal, my daily routine is normal and, most importantly, I’m paid as normal. I don’t have to worry if I’ll have a job in the next few weeks, I don’t have to fret that I won’t be able to pay my mortgage, I don’t have to think about how to fill my days and I don’t panic that I won’t be able to afford food to fill the cupboards at home (that is if the hoarders have left anything on the shelves). Right now, normality is a godsend!

What we're being asked to do isn’t hard. I’ve cancelled plans, lost a long-planned holiday, found isolated places to walk my dog, accepted that I won’t be able to hug my mum for a while and got to grips with technology to find new ways of keeping in touch with friends and family. Just stay at home people, avoid unnecessary travel and social interaction, keep an eye (from a distance) on those more vulnerable and help stop this virus spreading. Nobody died from staying at home or not seeing their friends!! The sooner we’re all following these simple rules, the sooner the NHS can breathe again, the sooner people can stop fearing for their livelihoods, the sooner loo roll will no longer be a black market commodity, the sooner hugs will be permitted again and the sooner I can once more concentrate on cancer instead of coronavirus.

Latest NHS advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) - Here