A huge thank you in unprecedented times
I wanted to continue with my fortnightly blog as one of the many ways which I and the leadership team are trying to keep the communication channels as open and clear as possible.
The Coronovirus has presented an unprecedented challenge for us all. It is and will continue to affect all of our lives for some time to come. Like every other NHS organisation we are preparing for what we know will be a huge undertaking. If the numbers of patients present in the way we are expecting – it will be our biggest task in a generation.
Our preparations have been underway for a number of weeks and we are now working within our full Emergency Response framework and processes.
The biggest early challenge we face is in giving clear advice and guidance to staff. You will all be attempting to track the emerging and changing picture nationally and locally. We are seeing this unfold first hand and I fully appreciate that over the last few days the advice has been confusing as we try to work out the local translation and practical application for our staff and patients. The NHS is all about people. It is not surprising then, that our staff and all of our many thousands of patients are phoning, emailing and messaging us for advice.
We are working hard to prioritise our response and put clear plans and communication channels in place. These have been summarised each day in the bulletin which we aim to circulate at around 11am each day. The dedicated intranet site is the central source of information and we will be making this accessible from outside of the trust IT network early next week.
We are also working to provide a patient information line in the next few days to try to reassure and support our wider community.
Clinical teams are working through our plans to respond to the anticipated surge in patients who will require care. We have cancelled all non-urgent elective surgery and have moved wherever possible to handling outpatient consultations via telephone or video conferencing. As you will appreciate, being a tertiary and trauma centre means we also need to protect services for many other patients who will continue to require specialist care and treatment.
I am so proud of the response I have seen by teams right across the trust who are working to ensure we are ready to handle all these demands over the coming months. As we have acknowledged so many times, this is a truly outstanding hospital and the COVID response is no exception.
Strength in working together – many acts of kindness
You will be observing just as I am, the disappointing behaviour of some members of the public who I am sure are frightened and trying to protect themselves and those closest to them. We have seen panic buying in supermarkets and stockpiling of certain goods.
But it is heart-warming to also see the many acts of kindness which are happening all around us, both across the hospitals and out into the community. I have seen fantastic offers of help and support – all of which will make a difference to our experience of what we are facing. Staff have offered to wash uniforms for colleagues, local businesses have given free and discounted hotel rooms, delivered chocolate and provided hot lunches for staff.
These acts of kindness and offers of support can and will make a massive difference to our ability to continue to meet the challenges we face. As a trust we are trying to do all we can to respond to the big and small things that matter. As well as the more formal lines of support we have established a staff welfare group, where we can coordinate and provide for some of the many needs that staff will have over the few weeks and months. Keeping all of us well, mentally and physically, is more important than ever.
I am really pleased to be able to announce that from Monday we will be offering staff free car parking for all staff. The parking team are working with the city council and other city partners to access more spaces so that we can keep staff at work. We will also offer a free meal and other refreshments in our staff facilities and canteens. This will be introduced over the next few days in a planned way, so please do refer to the daily update for details. This will go on for an indefinite period and certainly for the next 3 months.
I’d also like to share some resources developed by one of our anaesthetists, Roo McCrossan to support our mental wellbeing which some of you may find helpful. You can find them under the coronavirus page on the Intranet.
I’m delighted to be able to share some positive news with you. Congratulations to the KidzMedz team for winning the Clinical Award at the NHS Sustainability Awards for their project to teach children how to swallow tablets. Well done to Dr Emma Lim, Dr Yincent Tse and the team!
A final note
Thank you all so much for your flexibility, your energy, your patience, and most of all for the outstanding care you provide everyday.