Page last updated: 28 April, 2020, 3:18pm
Message from the Chief Executive 21 April 2020
As expected, this has been an Easter holiday period like no other we have ever experienced. Our hospitals and community services have continued to work well in these unusual circumstances and have felt calm and professional as always. Thank you for your hard work and I do hope everyone was able to enjoy some time, in some way, with your families.
Over the last couple of Thursday evenings, I’ve been overwhelmed by the sight of Northumbria Police and Tyne and Wear Fire service, as well as our local bus companies joining together to say thank you everyone at Newcastle Hospitals and in the wider NHS.
It was very moving to see the police officers and fire engines outside the RVI and Freeman Hospitals expressing their appreciation of the work that you are all doing, and I know many staff were moved to tears by this gesture.
The #ClapForCarers is a national phenomenon and while we can’t ask the police to come to every one of our buildings, I hope that everyone has felt some of the goodwill towards the NHS. You can watch highlights here.
I’m conscious that our 24/7 frontline services have been swelled by others who are usually not required to be available round the clock. I particularly wanted to mention our procurement and supplies team today.
You will have heard a great deal in the media over the weekend about the availability of Personal Protective Equipment and hopefully seen the joint letter from our Medical Director, Executive Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention Control in the COVID-19 daily update yesterday.
I have explained before that huge efforts are being dedicated to ensuring that we have enough of the right equipment. There has been an unprecedented effort over the last week to source various PPE from around the UK and the world.
Every opportunity has been pursued to source masks, gowns, visors and many other items to ensure that they are reaching all parts of our clinical services in good time. We are currently in a good position, as a result of this hard work, and we will continue to keep you up-to-date about PPE.
For the last couple of weeks on a Tuesday, I have been sharing with you the numbers of patients with COVID-19 in the Trust. I’m doing this because I know that facts are important and help to give context to the experiences that individual members of staff will see each day.
We monitor this information constantly and report it to the national command centre. I can confirm that today we are caring for 100 patients in our hospitals with coronavirus and over the course of this outbreak, very sadly 74 of our patients have died.
I know that none of us ever forget that every one of those numbers is a valued and much loved person, with a concerned and heartbroken family. I am very grateful to everyone who is caring for those patients with such compassion and skill.
Earlier this month, Chief Nursing Officer for England Ruth May announced to the public that Newcastle Hospitals will be providing a Nightingale Hospital for the North East which will be based in Sunderland. This is a significant undertaking, and it’s a credit to us that we have been asked to lead this piece of work.
As we move towards the opening I will share much more information with you about how we envisage the Nightingale supporting the region. You will be able to see some footage about the development on the local news this evening, and I’ve included some time lapse filming of the work to-date here for you to see.
Finally, I wanted to say well done to all of the team on Ward 18 Intensive Care Unit, particularly Katey Murphy and Abi Purdy, who found themselves on BBC Breakfast after the video of them singing ‘we will rise’ went viral on social media. It’s also been picked up by ‘This Morning’ and other media including Tyne Tees and gives the public a glimpse of the pride and high standards we have in Newcastle.
We’ve also received a huge number of celebrity thank you messages from some North East legends and ‘adopted’ Geordies. The first one from David Ginola was sent out yesterday and we’ll be sharing these everyday on our Trust twitter and facebook pages as well as within the daily updates.
As ever, I am very proud to be part of this team. Look after yourselves this week.
Dame Jackie Daniel