Youngsters ask the public to help protect their loved ones by reminding them that Covid-19 safety is ‘In Our Hands’

Date published: 15 September 2020

Young relatives of staff working for Northern Care Alliance NHS Group are reminding the public how important it is for everyone to stick to the Covid-19 safety guidelines.

The children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of staff from Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, The Royal Oldham Hospital, Rochdale Infirmary and Salford Royal Foundation Trust, as well as community services run by the NCA Group, have joined forces to deliver a very clear message to local communities – reminding them that infection prevention and control is ‘in our hands’. 

The ‘It’s in Our Hands’ campaign encourages patients and the wider public to maintain high standards of infection prevention and control at all times – whether at home or visiting our hospitals and community settings for treatment. 

The videos feature a variety of children and young people connected to the NCA Group who have recorded short clips in English, Hindi and Urdu, describing why it’s so important to wear a facemask, wash our hands and maintain social distancing to help keep their family members, our patients and themselves safe.

The youngsters, who range from just three years of age to 13, were filmed at home after creating their own visuals including painted hands, signs and posters to emphasise the fact that infection prevention and control is in everyone’s hands. 

Betsy Sutcliffe, age 7, from Moorside in Oldham is fronting the ‘It’s in Our Hands’ campaign, which has seen young people across Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Salford record messages to emphasise the importance of continuing to follow infection prevention and control guidance.

Her determination and passion for communicating the important safety message comes after mum, Tammy Sutcliffe, a Directorate Manager for The Royal Oldham Hospital which is part of the NCA Group, spent six days in the Acute Medical Unit being treated for Covid-19.

Betsy explains: “My mummy had to go into hospital because she had Covid. I missed her so much, and me and my daddy didn’t know when she would come home, so it was very worrying. She’s gone back to work now, but Covid is still real. People should still wash their hands, wear a mask and social distance to help protect my mummy, her patients and everyone else. Please follow the rules and keep everyone safe. It’s in our hands.”

As the child of an NHS key worker, the brave youngster attended school during the peak of the pandemic and after following the Covid-19 rules put in place by teaching staff at Christ Church Denshaw Primary to the letter, Betsy was awarded a prize for her efforts. 



Mum Tammy, Directorate Manager for Trauma Orthopaedics & Vascular at The Royal Oldham Hospital, explained: “Betsy has been an absolute superstar during what has been an incredibly tough time for us as a family, but her response to the rules around protecting each other from Covid has really blown us away. We are a very open family and didn’t keep anything from her when I was poorly, but she completely took it in her stride, staying strong and setting the example that some adults seem to be struggling with.”

Recalling her experience of the virus, which she contracted in April, Tammy described her sudden decline and the eventual realisation that she would need to be admitted for treatment to her usual place of work.

She said: “I’d been feeling poorly for a few days at home with crippling headaches, gastric pain, a high temperature and finally a cough. It was at that point I realised it was probably Covid. I suffer with asthma and as my symptoms got worse and worse, I realised that I was probably going to need to be admitted and on arrival at hospital my oxygen levels were very low.”

Unable to enter the hospital due to the Covid restrictions on visiting, Tammy’s husband Craig Sutcliffe dropped her off at the doors to A&E where she was assessed and then admitted.

She added: “It was a hugely emotional experience, and as I closed the car door and hobbled into A&E in my pyjamas, I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen next. My breathing was shallow, the pain and temperature had become unbearable and I was saying goodbye to my husband and daughter, not knowing when I would see them again. It sounds quite dramatic but I was genuinely frightened at that point, it was really upsetting.”

After almost a week as an inpatient, Tammy was thankfully well enough to be discharged back home to continue her recovery. After her successful recuperation, she was pleased to return to work and is now back to full speed operating in often intense and high pressured situations.

She explains: “I was lucky, I have made a full recovery and I’m so happy to be back at work and for us to have come through this as a family. The long lasting effects of Covid-19 have been talked about a lot and having experienced the after effects, I would simply echo what Betsy has said, which is that Covid is still real. Anyone can catch it, anyone can pass it on, and anyone can be affected by it. We all need to be vigilant, we need to look after each other, our families and our patients, let’s stay safe and secure by washing our hands, wearing a mask and staying socially distant. It’s most definitely in our hands.”

One of the videos features Alfie, age 13, whose Nana, Gill Sharples is a Neurosurgery Co-ordinator at Salford Care Organisation. Alfie talks about the importance of social distancing, both in and out of the hospitals, and what it means to him.



Amna, age nine, is the niece of one a staff member at Fairfield General Hospital: she is encouraging everyone to follow the rules about wearing a face mask, both in and out of hospital, and has recorded her message in Urdu.



Chris Brookes, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Medical Officer for the NCA explained: “We are incredibly proud of our younger NCA family members for playing a vital part in spreading the message about infection prevention and control.

“We have all been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, including the youngest members of our wider NCA Family. The relatives of the children in this campaign have been directly involved in the Covid-19 response, whether caring for patients on the frontline or working behind the scenes.

“The message from the children is clear - we all need to protect them, their relatives and all of our patients by making sure that everyone who attends our sites is following our stringent infection prevention and control guidelines. It’s in our hands.”

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