STAFF at a Renfrewshire hospital have outlined their hopes for 2022 as Covid continues to put extreme pressure on NHS services.

John Hunter and Professor Kevin Rooney are among those at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Paisley, who have dedicated their time to helping others during the pandemic.

Professor Rooney, a consultant specialising in the care of critically-ill patients, said the last two years have demonstrated the benefits of taking part in clinical research to tackle emerging diseases such as Covid-19.

He said: “We now have the successful vaccination programme, which not only protects us from Covid but also minimises the severity of disease.

“My hope for 2022 is that we will continue with this relentless focus to learn from clinical research and find out what treatments work well, why and under what circumstances, so we can reduce Covid-related morbidity and mortality.”

Professor Rooney is also looking forward to the opening of a HALO (Hero And Loved Ones) critical care garden at the RAH in March, which has been funded by the Endowments Committee and the Green Exercise Partnership.

He said: “This is a sanctuary space that allows ICU staff and patients to get outside for respite and gives them the opportunity to see patient family members, especially during Covid when indoor visits have been difficult.”

Mr Hunter, who works in the Intensive Care Unit at the RAH, has described 2021 as one of the most challenging of his career.

The interim senior charge nurse also paid tribute to his colleagues for their efforts to provide the best possible care.

“I can see the toll this is having on them physically and psychologically,” said Mr Hunter, who lives in Paisley.

“I hope I continue to have the strength, empathy and professional fortitude to support my team through what lies ahead in 2022.”