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People are being urged to recognise the work of operating department practitioners (ODPs) in tonight’s “clap for carers” to recognise their work with patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
To mark annual National ODP Day on 14 May, the College of Operating Department Practitioners (CODP) is encouraging everyone to give an extra clap at 8pm on their doorsteps this evening.
ODPs work in operating theatres and other parts of hospitals, with their job to provide complex care to patients at all stages of the surgery pathway, including the anaesthetic and recovery.
However, the pandemic has seen them re-deployed to help care for coronavirus patients in intensive care units, but the profession remains little-known among the general population.
“The novel Covid-19 pandemic has seen ODPs redeployed nationally to critical care areas”
Their number includes Louise Cowey who has been supporting Covid-19 patients as they are placed on ventilators in the intensive care unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.
The senior ODP, who is the equivalent of a ward sister, carries out technical checks while also helping to reassure people and take any messages that need passing on to relatives.
She said: “It’s a really emotional job supporting patients with Covid-19. I’m often the last person they see before they’re sedated for the breathing tubes to be put in place.
“I do everything possible to comfort them and ensure messages are passed on to their loved ones who are unable to see them face-to-face.”
Hannah Abbott, president of CODP, which is affiliated to the union Unison, said: “Every ODP has contributed to the current Covid-19 emergency.
“This includes on the frontline, supporting essential education or by assisting the government to protect the NHS,” she said. “And for this – on National ODP day – we thank you.”
Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: “These dedicated NHS staff work tirelessly behind the scenes at every stage of an operation.
“This annual event is particularly special this year given the pandemic. It’s great to recognise the important work they do.”
Meanwhile, academics at Birmingham City University are also celebrating the work of ODPs, describing them today as the “unsung heroes” of the Covid-19 crisis to mark National ODP Day.
Laura Garbett, lecturer and outreach co-ordinator for operating department practice at the university, said 2020 was a “year that will be remembered as a pivotal moment for ODPs”.
“The novel Covid-19 pandemic has seen ODPs redeployed nationally to critical care areas, showcasing the amazing adaptability of practitioners to transfer their skills well beyond operating theatres,” she said.
National ODP Day comes as the university is creating a new BSc ODP degree apprenticeship programme.