A man from Peel has been awarded an MBE for his services to the island during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Peter Duffy, a consultant urological surgeon, was seconded to health and social care services during the height of the pandemic in 2020.
The 60-year-old said he was taken ‘by surprise’ with the news when he received a call two years ago, saying: ‘I genuinely had no idea. It came completely out of the blue.
‘The way that the honours system is structured, you don’t tend to find out who nominated you, so I don’t know who put my name forward, whether it was someone on behalf of Manx Care or an individual.
‘I don’t really feel I did any more than a lot of people who were in healthcare at the time. We all tend to forget now just how awful it was two and a half years ago, it was awful.
‘I think if we hadn’t had the successful lockdown then it’s quite possible that the healthcare service could have been easily overwhelmed just as it was in other parts of the world. I was just one of thousands of people across the island who put themselves forward.’
When the pandemic first broke, Peter volunteered to work on the Covid 111 helplines.
‘That was where the first pressures were when it was just building,’ he said. ‘I also did what I could to help out on the medical and surgical wards.
‘Then the pressure switched to the intensive care unit. Luckily cases never spilled out of ICU.
‘At one point we were completely full and although I’m certainly not ICU trained, just an extra pair of hands is always helpful.
‘So I used to go and help with that which meant getting into all the Covid PPE.’
Abbotswood Nursing Home saw 20 residents die in June 2020 after testing positive for Covid. Peter moved to the ward where the survivors were treated.
He said: ‘The hospital opened ward 20 which was separate in the grounds of the hospital because you obviously couldn’t bring the survivors into the hospital because of the danger of infecting other patients, so ward 20 was re-equipped within a few days and they did a fantastic job.
‘It was a matter of getting volunteers from all over the place. I was there for a number of weeks before all the patients tested negative.
‘Ward 20 was towards the tail end of the first wave.
‘After that the virus slowly dwindled away, so it was a matter of going back and picking up regular work from there on.’
He added: ‘I don’t think I did any more than my medical duty and professional obligations.
‘There was a lot of pressure on staff at the time so it just seemed the right and natural thing to do to help out.’
Peter visited Buckingham Palace with his wife, mother and one of his sons to be awarded his MBE by Prince William, who he described as ‘really pleasant’.
‘He asked about the island, the lockdown and how we’d handled Covid,’ Peter added. ‘We were allowed to park in the palace courtyard, which is quite something.’