St Helens councillor and former nurse coming out of retirement to join fight against coronavirus

A councillor and former nurse is preparing to come out of retirement to join the fight against the coronavirus.

Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 8:45 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 8:46 am
Councillor Linda Mussell

Rainford Conservative councillor Linda Mussell enjoyed a career with the NHS spanning more than four decades.

For 25 of those years she worked in the community as a district nurse.

Last week the government introduced emergency legislation that brought in sweeping powers to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

One of these powers has allowed the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to create a COVID-19 temporary register, which allows them to temporarily register fit, proper and suitably experienced people to enable them to practise if they want to and feel able to do so.

Coun Mussell, who turned 65 this week, is one of the retired nurses who has been contacted by the NMC to ask her to sign on to the temporary register.

“I only came off the register in November of last year,” Coun Mussell said. “I had no intention of going back to practise again.

“I thought, right, that’s the end of that.”

The events of the last few weeks have thrown a curveball into Coun Mussell’s plans to stay retired and now she is just waiting to re-enter the fold.

Coun Mussell was first elected to represent Rainford on St Helens Council in 2014, the same day she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The people of Rainford put their trust in Coun Mussell again in 2018.

Now in remission, Coun Mussell’s family are understandably worried about her joining the front-line against a global pandemic that is far more deadly against the elderly and those with underlying health issues. Despite that, she insists they still support her decision.

But Coun Mussell said she will only come out of retirement if asked to help in a way that is suited to her particular skills and experience.

The NHS stalwart admitted she has never seen anything like what is currently happening around the world and expressed her sympathies to all those who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19.

But while the last few weeks have undoubtedly taken its toll on communities, it has also brought them closer together.

“I think it’s brought the best out of our society,” she said. “It has brought out the best in people.

“I just hope it all continues after and we don’t go back to that old way of arguing with each other all the time and we start working together again.”

For now, Coun Mussell will watch on from the sidelines, biding the time until she can join the fight.

“It’s just about waiting game now to see if my experience can be called upon,” Coun Mussell said.

“But to not do anything would be to completely against every fibre in my body.”