Pulling together through a crisis

Nicki Latham

Nicki Latham, Deputy Chief Executive

I was delighted to be invited to be ‘guest blogger’ this week in Kevin’s absence for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it’s great to see colleagues like Kevin taking a break from work to rest and recharge as we continue to experience huge pressure across Blackpool Teaching Hospitals to care for a very high number of patients indeed.

Our staff have worked flat out, for a very long time indeed, whilst also managing the implications of the pandemic and restrictions in their own lives. There were times – and still are – when staffing has been very fragile and colleagues have worked extra hours, extra shifts, extra days and through holidays and rest periods.

It has been the most monumental effort and something I am so proud to have been part of.

We describe ourselves as part of a family here at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and we have pulled together through this crisis like never before. We have lost colleagues and seen things that can never be unseen, but we have done so with integrity, grace and the most inspiring personal resilience. It is right that now, as we look towards recovery, we take a moment to rest and see our families too. We are encouraging all staff to take leave and breaks and rest wherever possible and that includes every – right up to the Chief Exec.

It is true that community infection rates are reducing across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre and we are starting to see the impact of in the number of people coming into hospital with Covid each day. But I want to be honest too and put the numbers into perspective. We currently have on average over 100 Covid-positive patients, which is still a huge group of people needing care and support.

My message to everyone reading this is that no matter how hard lockdown has been this winter, the evidence is that it is working. Please continue to stay at home wherever possible. Don’t meet up with people outside of your household unless in your support bubble. If you need to go out maintain social distancing and wear a face mask. Keep washing and sanitising hands. This is the most effective way you can support the NHS. This is the way we will get back to normal and be able to restore our services.

We have been working with colleagues from BTH and across the healthcare system in Lancashire and South Cumbria to ensure the vaccination programme is as effective as possible as quickly as possible and we have now vaccinated over 13,000 people through our hospital hub at the Vic.

In addition, the team has been at Blackpool’s iconic Winter Gardens providing vaccines to the most vulnerable groups.

The team has worked incredibly hard to get the vaccination centres up and running so quickly and effectively and I want to pay tribute to them for everything they continue to do. I know this is acknowledged within the community and thank you to everyone who has sent kind comments of thanks and support, they really are appreciated.

I know there are some arguments suggesting the vaccine to be neither safe nor effective. This narrative is particularly forceful in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities where the take up is still very low, despite research clearly indicating this group of people can be more affected by the virus than others.

I want to encourage everyone who is called to have their vaccine to do so. It is safe and effective and it is the only way to get out of this nightmare that has affected so many people in the most terrible way. Please, when you are called come forward and have the vaccine.

Lastly, it would be remiss of me not to mention and pay tribute to one of the most incredible and inspiring people to ever champion the NHS. It was with such huge sadness that everyone at BTH learned of the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore. What an amazing man, leaving such an amazing legacy. We have been fortunate to have received some of the £39million raised last summer and we are very grateful indeed. RIP Captain Sir Tom – you will be forever in our hearts.

Take care, Nicki


Posted in .