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Free meals for nurses at St John’s Hospital

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(From left) Bino, Manoj and Biju from The Holy Grail) with Nollaig McGrath (Clinical Nurse Manager) and Jenny Dowling (Assistant Director of Nursing) at St John’s Hospital and Dr George Leslie from Slaney Medical Centre

(From left) Bino, Manoj and Biju from The Holy Grail) with Nollaig McGrath (Clinical Nurse Manager) and Jenny Dowling (Assistant Director of Nursing) at St John’s Hospital and Dr George Leslie from Slaney Medical Centre

(From left) Bino, Manoj and Biju from The Holy Grail) with Nollaig McGrath (Clinical Nurse Manager) and Jenny Dowling (Assistant Director of Nursing) at St John’s Hospital and Dr George Leslie from Slaney Medical Centre

The nurses and staff in St John's Hospital in Enniscorthy have been recognised for their commitment to the residents and for being fearless in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr George Leslie, a GP with the Slaney Medical Centre, wanted to recognise the staff in the facility to coincide with International Nurses Day last Tuesday.

Speaking to this newspaper Dr Leslie said he approached his friend, Biju, who owns the Holy Grail restaurant in Enniscorthy, with the idea and he was delighted to help.

'I initially thought about giving something to one ward in the hospital just as a token of appreciation,' said Dr Leslie.

'However, when I approached Biju he said he would give a free meal to everyone up there,' he added.

Dr Leslie said he regards nursing staff all over Ireland, back home in his native India, and all around the world as being the 'forefront fighters' against the pandemic.

'Doctors are doing great work but for the most part it's the nurses who are putting themselves in danger because they are the ones who are constantly in close contact with people,' said Dr Leslie.

From the Kerala region of India, Dr Leslie has been coming to Ireland regularly since 1998 and while he worked as a locum for many years has been working with the Slaney Medical Centre for the last year and is very popular in the local community.

In addition to being a medic, he also writes a regular column for one of India's most popular magazines and through that has focused attention on aspects of Irish history and mythology - something he has a deep interest in.

'I have written about things like myths, traditions, the banshee, holy wells and Huntington Castle,' he said.

He also tries to promote positive living and recorded a short video clip in which he promotes 'the two Cs' - don't complain and don't compare.

'It's about people believing in themselves and being positive,' said Dr Leslie.

He visits St John's regularly through his role with Slaney Medical Centre and he said the work being done there is exemplary.

Both he and Biju were delighted to be able to offer a gesture of appreciation to those in the hospital and when the food was delivered there last Tuesday Biju enlisted the help of his two brothers, Bino and Manoj, who runs the Holy Grail restaurant in Wexford.

Dr Leslie said the gesture was a show of appreciation to all nursing staff around the country.

'While we just did it in St John's, it was really to show appreciation to nursing staff everywhere,' he said.

'Our catchment area is Enniscorthy and that is why we decided to go to St John's but it was in acknowledgement of everyone in the country.'

He also praised the local community and people here in general for their sense of unity in fighting Covid-19.

The area where Dr Leslie comes from in India is known for the amount of medical professionals that emanate from there.

'Around 99 per cent of the [Indian] doctors and nurses who are here come from there,' he said

'In that region we have three Covid-19 deaths and we have flattened the curve,' he added.

'We are proud of that but it is spreading badly in other areas,' he said.

He pointed out that other areas of India are being very badly affected by the worldwide pandemic.

'The nursing staff in St John's were delighted with the gesture from Dr Leslie and Biju and they expressed gratitude to them for what they did.

Enniscorthy Guardian