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An NHS worker has quit his 'dream job' after the pressures of working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic got too much.
Shane Longton, 37, said he was prepared and willing to work for the NHS for the rest of his life but was forced to reluctantly admit he 'didn't sign up for this' when the pandemic hit.
And Shane isn't alone, a new survey from UNISON found that 52 percent of NHS staff are considering leaving their jobs in the next year.
Shane spent four years as a healthcare worker and says he can remember the names of all 50 people he sat with during their final moments.
He said staff sickness levels have piled on extra pressure and morale is at an all-time low.
The final straw for was abuse from those who believe the virus is a 'hoax' and he has now handed in his notice.
Shane, from Preston in Lancashire, said: "I still remember all my patients' names and faces. One morning I could be chatting to them about their life and their family, but by the afternoon I could be be preparing their bodies after they passed away.
"I loved my job, and I still want to care for people and make an impact on people's lives, but it's become too much to bear - I have to look after my mental health.
"People say 'it's what you signed up for' but none of us signed up for this.
"I wanted to do my job and save people, but you can't save everyone.
"The icing on the cake for me has been the anger directed towards the NHS and people refusing to follow the rules."
Shane began working for the NHS as a healthcare worker after being inspired by a nurse who cared for him after having surgery.
Following his training, he's worked at several hospitals in the north west and says he 'absolutely loved' his job until the pandemic started last March.
As wards began to fill up with Covid-19 patients and PPE stocks were running low, Shane became anxious about catching the virus and seeing so many patients dying began to take its toll.
Now seeking a new job, Shane said: "This past year has really taken its toll on my mental health and I have to put that first. My anxiety has got a lot worse and I'm showing symptoms of PTSD from the first wave."
Sara Gorton, head of health at UNISON, a union which represents public service workers, described the experiences of many of the union's NHS members.
She said: "The NHS is under unbelievable strain and the pressure on staff is overwhelming.
"With soaring numbers of health workers off ill, those on duty are being asked to give even more.
"It's clear people are now beyond exhausted. This could lead to them quitting the profession altogether."
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