WHILE families around Scotland have been forced to batten down the hatches and stay confined to their homes for months on end during lockdown, one family from Glasgow knows more than most what sacrifices are being made by workers on the NHS front line.

Brothers Tony, David and sister Laura Martin are doing the rest of the clan proud by providing lifeline services for the NHS at the cost of seeing their loved ones.

Not only have the three siblings sacrificed precious family time to do their jobs as an A&E nurse, Covid-19 nurse and junior doctor, they are also unable to see their other halves.

Likewise working for the NHS is Tony’s girlfriend Lauren, a junior doctor, Laura’s boyfriend James, a paediatric consultant, and David’s girlfriend Erin, a student nurse.

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Laura, 27, the eldest daughter of parents Leo and Louise Martin, lives alone and hasn’t seen her family or boyfriend in months while she works as a junior doctor at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

“The hardest part has been without doubt not seeing friends, family and loved ones,” she said. “Patients are also struggling with this and we do what we can to try and make a scary experience easier for them.”

Major trauma nurse David, Laura’s younger brother, also works at Ninewells Hospital, and was recently redeployed as a Covid-19 nurse to work directly with those with the virus.

“I’m normally orthopaedics, but everyone has come together from different specialities to work as a team in the Covid-19 ward,” explained the 22-year-old. The biggest challenge has been caring for the patients who cannot have family visit,” he went on.

“However, we have been helping them to use tablets to stay in contact with their relatives over video call.”

For the Martin family, sporadic Zoom calls are now their main way of keeping in touch during the pandemic, and youngest sibling Nicola is staying at home while her studies are suspended.

“When we chat on Zoom, we can see red marks on David’s face from his visor the day before,” said the 18-year-old. “They’re all working so hard in incredibly tough conditions.”

Nicola’s other brother Tony, an accident and emergency nurse in Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, has not seen his family since lockdown began despite being in the same city.

Among the difficulties he and his siblings face, the 24-year-old misses his girlfriend Lauren, a doctor in Perth Royal Infirmary, whom he hasn’t seen in months.

“There are many challenges working during the Covid-19 outbreak, like not being able to meet up with my family or girlfriend and seeing patients coming into hospital with understandably increased anxiety,” he said.

“However, the resilience and teamwork of all staff – the doctors, nurses, domestics, radiographers, porters and everyone else – has been without doubt one of the silent positives to have come from the outbreak.”

And despite the natural anxieties Nicola and her parents have for their family on the front line, they are immensely proud of the great work Laura, Tony and David are doing.

“We miss them a lot and they miss us, but they just keep going,” said Nicola.

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“They are so determined to help other people and happy to sacrifice things from their own lives.

“To them it’s just their job and they don’t view it as extraordinary, but that’s exactly why they’re my heroes.

“There are long hours and missed holidays, but it’s always been like that – we once celebrated Christmas two days early to accommodate their crazy shift patterns.”

Nicola added: “It’s been tough because we’re a close family and we love spending time together,” said Nicola.

“But we won’t be rushing to meet up any time soon. We’ll have to make do with Zoom calls for now.”

Proud parents Leo and Louise Martin said: “All NHS staff are on the front line so we knew from the very start that their jobs and our lives would be impacted.

“It seems very strange not to have them dropping by the house and raiding the fridge when they are not on shift but they are all working at what they wanted to do. That partially makes up for the disappointment at not seeing them and the stress of them working in what will probably be some of the most unusual circumstances in their careers.

“Everyone on the front line fighting Covid-19 is a hero as are the people sticking to the rules to prevent uncontrolled infection. We are proud of them, their partners and all their friends and colleagues in the NHS.”

Malcolm Buchanan, chair, Scotland Board, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Herald Heroes is a great opportunity to show our gratitude to those people at the frontline who are doing so much during the current situation to allow the rest of us to live as normal a life as possible.

“Tony, David and Laura are amongst the hundreds of Scottish hospital workers who have made the biggest sacrifice - staying away from home and remaining distant from their families to help those who have fallen victim to illness.”