Page last updated: 21 October, 2020, 1:39pm
Message from the Chief Executive – 13 October 2020
Yesterday was another day of important announcements from the Prime Minister as he addressed the nation to highlight the ongoing and increasing spread of COVID-19 across the country, and particularly in the North.
It is increasingly clear that we are experiencing the predicted second wave of the pandemic. We currently have over 70 patients with COVID-19 in our hospitals, some of whom require intensive care. This has been rising steadily over the last 2-3 weeks.
At the same time, teams across the Trust are responding magnificently to the drive to deliver our usual high quality services within the constraints of social distancing and PPE.
We are all conscious of the importance of supporting patients with non-COVID needs, and I know how hard everyone is working to give all of our patients the expert care that they deserve in these worrying times.
The announcement yesterday that the North East has been placed in the ‘high’ COVID alert level means that we continue to have a ban on indoor social mixing between households. The ongoing limits on mixing with family and friends are difficult for everyone, and are having an impact on everyone’s mental health and resilience.
As we head into the winter months, it will be more important than ever to support each other at work and to ensure that kindness towards each other is as important as all of the other safety measures we take to protect our friends and colleagues.
I very much appreciate the stringent compliance with PPE guidance that is clearly visible across all of our services. It’s vitally important that we remain vigilant so that we can all be protected and avoid staff needing to self-isolate.
Please remember that you must wear a surgical mask whilst at work at all times, unless you are wearing a higher level of PPE or are at least 2 metres away from others. Please do, politely and respectfully, remind both colleagues and patients to wear a mask if they possibly can so that they can remain safe.
Also yesterday, the Prime Minister confirmed that Nightingale Hospitals in the North have been asked to prepare for service. You will recall that Newcastle Hospitals provides the Nightingale Hospital for our area, which is in Sunderland. So far we have not needed to use the Nightingale Hospital and currently, the numbers of patients we are seeing with COVID are well below what we experienced at the height of the first wave.
While we have been asked to prepare for the next phase, we still hope that we won’t have to use any beds at all in the Nightingale in the North East. There are a number of steps that we can take to increase our bed capacity before we need to take that action. If we do decide to open any beds at the Nightingale, this will be based on local clinical advice and expertise, in each patient’s best interests.
I’ve heard from many of you that you’ve appreciated getting timely information about national and local developments, and we will continue to produce the COVID bulletins to keep you up to date with changes. If you have ideas or suggestions that might help to support you, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thank you all for your hard work and dedication. Please look after yourselves and each other.
Dame Jackie Daniel|