AN AMBULANCE worker from Gwent has been discharged from hospital after spending 11 weeks in intensive care with Covid-19.

Steve Bell was so severely ill with coronavirus that doctors told his wife to prepare for the worst.

But yesterday (Thursday), he left Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan to thunderous applause from his NHS colleagues, who had gathered to wave him off.

And there were more cheers as an emotional Mr Bell, 59, arrived back at his Ebbw Vale home for the first time since he fell ill with the virus in March.

Following his return, ambulance care assistant Mr Bell praised the NHS staff who had treated him.

“The staff in ITU (intensive care) in particular were brilliant and really looked after me, listened to me and showed compassion," he said. "I couldn’t have asked for better care. They saved my life.

“The support I’ve had from my colleagues in the ambulance service has also been brilliant.

“I was cycling 13 miles a day before I got ill. I’m still coming to terms with what happened, and I’ve got a long way to go.”


Mr Bell, who has worked for the Welsh Ambulance Service (WAS) for 19 years, spent 92 days in Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny – 78 of which were in intensive care – before being transferred to Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan, in Ebbw Vale, to begin rehabilitation.

Ann, his wife of 24 years, said Mr Bell had fallen ill a month after the couple had returned from holiday.

“After 12 days or so at home, he started to deteriorate and had to go into hospital," she said. "Before long, he was in intensive care.

“To make things worse, he contracted sepsis and his organs began to shut down. He also had a problem with his heart briefly, but that was overcome.

With strict quarantine rules in place, Mrs Bell wasn't able to see her husband while he was in intensive care, but the nurses at Nevill Hall did arrange video calls.

“The doctors prepared me for the worst, but slowly, they began to wean him off the ventilator," Mrs Bell said.

“We’re hopeful there’s no permanent damage to his organs, and he’ll be on oxygen for a while at home until his breathing improves.

“He’s also having to exercise to get his strength up. There’s a long way to go but we’re just so pleased he’s home.”

South Wales Argus: Steve Bell has worked for the Welsh Ambulance Service for 19 years.Steve Bell has worked for the Welsh Ambulance Service for 19 years.

Mr Bell, originally from Blackpool, spent 20 years in the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment before joining the Welsh Ambulance Service in 2001.

His WAS colleagues have so far raised more than £3,400 to purchase rehabilitation equipment for Mr Bell's recovery. You can support their efforts by visiting

“I formed friendships in the army that I didn’t think I would have on Civvy Street, but my friends at the ambulance service have been brilliant, especially my team leader Paula Griffiths – not just to me, but also to Ann, checking in on her every day, sometimes three times a day.

“They sorted videos from the cast of Emmerdale and from sports personalities to try and bring me round from the ventilation.

“My friends and family also sent me video messages to try and bring me out of the sedation."

“I love my job and I can’t wait to come back, though it won’t be for many months.”

Phill Taylor, the ambulance trust’s non-emergency patient transport service general manager in South East Wales, said: “We’re thrilled that Steve has been discharged from hospital and would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to our health board colleagues for looking after our dear friend and colleague.

“We’ll be supporting Steve and his family as he regains his health and wish him all the very best for his road to recovery.”

WAS director of operations Lee Brooks added: “It’s been a really difficult period for the service, especially with the death of paramedic Gerallt Davies MBE to Covid-19.

“At the Welsh Ambulance Service, our bonds run deep, and we were devastated when Steve also became very poorly with the virus.

“The whole organisation has been rooting for Steve, and we’re delighted that he’s now been able to leave hospital.

“Our focus now is on supporting Steve and his family as he continues his recovery at home.”