Page last updated: 28 April, 2020, 3:12pm
Message from the Chief Executive 25 March 2020
I’ve had feedback from members of the team asking for more information about what we are doing to prepare and respond to the covid-19 pandemic.
My Chief Executive messages will focus on these bigger, more strategic issues, setting out our leadership approach and responding to the national situation for example and I plan to send these at least once or twice each week. We will also continue to provide the daily ‘red’ updates which set out the practical issues that you need to be informed about.
The trust continues to have a relatively small number of patients with covid-19, although we know this is likely to change quickly.
Overall, from my conversations across the region and nationally, we are in a good position in terms of preparedness. We have cancelled large amounts of elective surgery and other non-urgent treatments and clinical staff are being trained and redeployed to prepare for large numbers of patients. This is working well and I am grateful to staff for their flexibility and commitment.
Several additional wards at the RVI are now designated as covid-19 wards. Other specialities have moved essential operations to the Freeman Hospital. A map of services that have made changes is being created to explain all these changes and this will be circulated over the next day or two once final details are known.
I know that everyone will understand that this is a work in progress and will continue to change as we respond to emerging activity.
We are driving conversations across the North East health system to dramatically increase critical care capacity, learning from what is happening elsewhere in the country – in particular London.
We know that this is the most important step we can take to save lives.
Our labs are providing an essential regional service to test patients for covid-19, and are leading the way in efforts to ramp up our capacity to test much larger numbers of patients and staff. This includes working with our local universities to use their research labs to provide additional testing capacity.
As I said yesterday, whilst this is a worrying time for us all we are working quickly and clearly to tackle issues that affect our ability to provide excellent care to patients with and without covid-19.
I’m also mindful of our team members who continue to contribute to our efforts from home because of their individual circumstances. I know how frustrating they will find it to be away from colleagues, but it is absolutely right that we follow Government guidance to shield vulnerable people and to work from home where that makes sense.
The IT team are working hard to dramatically expand our network capacity to allow staff to work more effectively from home. Fortunately our recent move to NHS mail enables everyone to access email through the Microsoft Outlook app to keep in touch. Thank you all once again for your hard work. It is a time to be proud to work as part of our NHS.
With best wishes
Dame Jackie Daniel