A CORONAVIRUS survivor has praised staff at Dorset County Hospital for saving his life.

Robin Bowler, 58, lives in West Lulworth. He was hospitalised for 12 days after contracting COVID-19. He had returned from a trip to Italy on March 9 and began noticing symptoms soon after.

He was placed under intensive care and put on a ventilator, but Mr Bowler says it was the incredible care given to him by the frontline hospital staff that he is most grateful for.

In a message directly to those heroes, he said: “You have given me a second lease of life, and although mere words seem so inadequate to express my gratitude for such a priceless gift, I want you to know that I will be grateful to you for every day that remains to me in this life.

“To be able to spend time with my family again following my discharge from hospital was a joy that at times I wondered if I would ever again experience, and I shall cherish those moments all the more in future. And for all those other COVID-19 patients who you treat, and their families, they can know that they are in the very best of hands, and that with your skills and dedication, they can come through this awful virus and be together again as well. Thank you for being amazing.

“Finally, I must recognise the commitment, care and the bravery of the front-line nursing staff who worked in the coronavirus environments for long shifts at a time. I was struck by how much they all wanted to help me as much as they could, make me as comfortable as possible, and were constantly alert to any monitoring equipment alarms that were sounding so frequently. It was also apparent to me how carefully they all observed the infection control protocols in order to ensure the virus was not allowed to be transmitted to other areas of the hospital.

“I am left with the inescapable conclusion that this efficient and structured teamwork, together with the committed and courageous execution by each and every member of the clinical and nursing staff, is the reason COVID-19 was beaten in my case, and it will save many others as well.”

After seeing first-hand the life-saving work being done at Dorset County Hospital, Mr Bowler added that the nation will never look at the NHS the same way again: “I think before this crisis, many took the NHS for granted,” he said. “Generations have now been so used to free medical care that its true value had become largely under-appreciated.

“I believe the COVID-19 crisis is proving to be the NHS’s finest hour, and I think instinctively the nation as a whole perceives that too. Hence the applause for carers has been a natural and heart-felt appreciation for what the NHS is doing today, not just with COVID-19, but across all of its functions and patient groups.”

“I think from now on, the NHS will be seen through a very different lens, to everybody’s benefit.”