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Two lady doctors violinists from the Havant Symphony Orchestra

Unsung Heroes – let’s applaud amateur musicians!

07/05/2020

In these fraught times, let’s have a round of applause for all those amateur musicians who, in their professional lives, are also helping to combat the lethal virus gripping the country.

As written about before on Music in Portsmouth, nearly every local orchestra has a sprinkling of medical people in its ranks. Several are already in the NHS but others have stepped up to the plate and volunteered to help. To save their blushes, their names have been omitted whilst giving a glimpse of their activities. These are just some of the unsung heroes and heroines of today.

A community nurse who plays the ‘cello is doing her bit by working on the district. This means visiting people in their homes and in care homes. Many are elderly and, sadly, some are receiving end of life care. It’s a risky business. Rightly, she describes her area of work as the new front line.

A violin playing doctor, who is a specialist dermatologist was redeployed onto the wards of a busy hospital as a medical registrar. She is now back in her own area of work trying to catch up on cancer referrals.

Non-cancer patients are now being seen through a virtual clinic. This is a complete change of working routine for her but it keeps as many people at home as possible while dealing with their dermatological needs.

Another violinist, a surgeon, is studying for her PhD. Despite this she has worked occasionally at her hospital filling in for colleagues who are off sick.

One viola player, a former GP in his 70’s, retired eleven years ago. Realistically, he feels that he has little to offer but takes his hat off to all those who’ve put themselves forward to help. Even so, he is helping to save lives by self-isolating.

A paediatrician who is equally at home on viola or violin is now retired. She has had her licence to practice reinstated. She has volunteered to help in a non-frontline role because the NHS is not putting anyone over 60 in that situation. So far, she has not been called forward to help. However, her main contribution is to continue to work for the Tribunal Service. All the hearings are on conference calls now.

It’s a similar story with a retired doctor who is a clarinet player. The General Medical Council wrote to him, giving him back full registration. He filled in the forms but has not heard anything more. His son, who is a violinist, filled in the forms to volunteer to help at a local hospital. Again, no response. As John Milton put it, “They also serve who stand and wait.”

Author: Stuart Reed
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