Health care colleagues working in the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System have volunteered to be one of the first of a small number of areas in the country to formally ‘accelerate’ the restoration of services.
Being part of this ambitious Government initiative is great news for patients in the region, particularly those whose appointments and procedures have been postponed due to the pandemic.
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS FT, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS FT, Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS FT and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS FT will be working together to make some very big inroads in our collective waiting lists over the next three months.
The NHS has never been a COVID-19 only service during the pandemic. Many services have continued as near to normal as possible. Understandably, over the past months there has been increasing concern about the rising numbers of patients waiting for care and treatment across health and social care settings. Funding received, as part of the initiative, will go towards driving down waiting lists which have risen to unprecedented levels. The many thousands of people on waiting lists across the Lancashire and South Cumbria region are now a step closer to being seen and receiving the care or treatment they need.
Kevin McGee, Chief Executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS FT and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, and Gold Command of the Hospital Cell, said: “We have set ourselves very some ambitious plans as part of the super-charged Government initiative and, whilst there is much more planning and details to emerge, one thing is sure – we are going to do everything within our gift to prioritise and see as many people as possible from our waiting lists in the coming months. We’re acutely aware that the alternative is to run the risk that people suffer more harm while they’re waiting for their appointment. I have every faith in the teams across Lancashire and South Cumbria to take this on. Together we will do our best to achieve these ambitious targets, but it is a balancing act as we continue to be equally determined to restore our people too.”
Steve Fogg, Chairman of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS FT, said: “This is tremendous news for the region, and amidst the logistical challenge, please be reassured we’ll never lose sight of the fact our patients are people and will always remain at the centre of the care provided. There is no doubt this is going to be difficult and pressured – and not least for colleagues who are already exhausted from their relentless contribution to our Covid response. Caring for the health and wellbeing of our workforce, so they can care for the people of Lancashire and South Cumbria, will remain an absolute focus for us.”
The scale up to see and treat many more people means patients may be asked to go where there is specific expertise and capacity to see and treat them quicker and more effectively. They may be asked if they are comfortable to travel a little bit further or see a different person than usual to help us achieve as many appointments for as many people as possible. Of course, if this is something they not able to do easily or have reservations about, they will be able to discuss alternatives.
We are working together in partnership across Lancashire and South Cumbria and with our primary and community care colleagues. Although we are well positioned to do this, we recognise it will take a considerable workforce to achieve it, and so the initial part of this work will be to recruit as many people as possible, filling current vacancies and bringing on additional temporary resource where appropriate.
If you would like to join the Trust in a wide range of roles, please do check in with our vacancy page here, which is constantly updated. If you would like to help and be part of this enormous but amazing challenge, we want you!
Together we will do this. We know how hard this has been for people who have patiently waited, sometimes in very difficult circumstances, and we would ask that people continue to be patient and respectful to our staff as we do our best to restart the care of as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.