Page last updated: 28 April, 2020, 3:15pm
Message from the Chief Executive 1 April 2020
It’s now been over a week since the Prime Minister instructed us to stay at home and avoid contact with others to delay the spread of COVID-19. It’s been inspiring to see the amount of concerted effort and activity that everyone has put into preparing our hospital to respond to the pandemic.
I know that there is a lot of fear and uncertainty. Our families and friends – many of whom are confined to their homes – are also understandably concerned. I’m not afraid to say that I am anxious about this disease and what it will mean.
But in the face of that fear, we are continuing to provide excellent care to our patients and creating strong bonds in our teams. Every day we are finding better ways to prepare and progress.
Currently we have around 60 patients in hospital who are positive for COVID-19 and a small number of them are acutely unwell. Sadly 9 of our patients have died having tested positive for this disease but it is important to say that we are discharging more people home who have recovered.
It is so important that we create capacity to care for as many people as possible, and release staff from other duties which are less crucial.
At the same time, I want to recognise – and thank – all of our colleagues who are continuing to provide ‘non-covid’ clinical and corporate services across our hospitals and in the community.
I’m grateful to those staff working in cancer services, providing dialysis, in children’s services and many other areas who are continuing to deliver outstanding services in these extreme circumstances. Everyone’s efforts are remarkable.
I wanted to give you an update of the action we have taken across the trust to put us in the best possible position to manage the surge of patients that we all expect.
- We have stopped all visitors to inpatient areas apart from in exceptional circumstances.
- Scaled back our non-urgent planned operations and activity. We will continue to provide emergency, urgent and cancer care.
- We are reviewing all current patients to see if there are alternative ways that our clinical services can provide outpatient consultations without face-to-face contact and we’ve provided hundreds of telephone appointments.
- We are creating more COVID-19 cohort wards for suspected and confirmed patients and reviewing this daily.
- We are planning for the ITU capacity that will be required including staffing, ventilators and locations. We have already ordered additional equipment in readiness.
- We have established a process to harness the fantastic response we have had from retired colleagues, NHS volunteers (as a result of the national call to arms), medical and nursing students and so many more people.
- We are stopping some business as usual activity, such as peer review and non-COVID research activities.
- We have made arrangements to provide free parking, lunches and hotel accommodation for staff as required.
Every part of the organisation is playing an important role. Thank you for the part each of you is playing.
Dame Jackie Daniel