We Can’t Afford To Become Complacent

Trust Chief Executive, Kevin McGeeI want to mention a couple of things today that are important to myself, the Trust and to colleagues across the organisation equally.

The first is the continued infection prevention control measures that will remain in place across all our hospital and community settings – and indeed those of the wider health and social care system not just across Blackpool and the Fylde Coast but nationally for the NHS.

I know this is in direct contrast to the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday, where he confirmed that mandatory social distancing and mask wearing would come to an end on Monday.

But we are still seeing rising cases of Covid in our communities and admissions to hospital. I know many of you watch the Trust’s brilliant Medical Director Dr Jim Gardner in his weekly video blog and he talks about the continued challenges around Covid each and every week. You can see his latest episode here and listen to an audio-only podcast version here for more details, and I would encourage you to check in with his update regularly for the latest information.

What is clear, is that we can’t afford to become complacent in terms of infection control, especially in our settings where people are already fighting illness and injury and colleagues are at increased risk. We have put in place rigorous processes to keep our patients and indeed each other safe as we go about our working lives.

I make no apology that we will not be standing these down and I know I speak for the entire team when I say we appreciate your ongoing support with this when you come into one of our settings or into contact with a colleague.

On our premises, nothing will change. This includes wearing a face mask, respecting social distancing and gelling your hands on entry. Please if you’re asked to continue to respect this guidance know that it is there for your safety and especially to protect staff who have and continue to work so incredibly hard to make sure patients get the care and support they need to return home and recover. Arguing or challenging colleagues is neither welcome or helpful and it will not be tolerated. The controls are mandatory and they aren’t able to relax them unless you have a clear exemption to do so.

This will affect visiting for some time yet too and please do check the latest on those arrangements here. Most visiting is currently suspended albeit it there are exceptions, of course.

I know we are looking forward to some ‘freedoms’ in our lives for the first time since March 2020 and I don’t underestimate how welcome this will be for most people.

But as well as retaining measures within the Trust, I do want to urge caution and highlight this idea of personal responsibility more generally. I have documented in this blog many times the relentless battle against this terrible virus and the many people we have lost to it. Please, be mindful of continued hand hygiene and social distancing and the effectiveness of continuing to do both where possible to keep yourself and those around you safe.


Secondly, I wanted to reiterate the message I issued across the Trust earlier this week about racism following the events that unfolded following the final of Euro 2020 on Sunday.

Like many people, I feel very strongly about this subject and am certain colleagues within the Trust Board and around the organisation feel the same.

I’ve been really clear and I reiterate this again now for anyone from outside of the organisation who is now reading this:

The Trust is an anti-racist organisation. We will not and do not tolerate racism.

As we have seen this week, simply being against racism is no longer enough. If we see something, we must actively say something. If you face abuse, please do not accept it. If you see someone else being abused, please do not ignore it.

Be in no doubt – unacceptable language or behaviour towards others has no place in our culture, within our wards, in our community or our workplaces.

Whether you are a member of the team or someone visiting our settings, we encourage you to speak up, call it out and reject it. We want staff, service users and carers to feel supported and safe, irrespective of skin colour, culture, ethnicity or faith, gender, sexuality or if they have a disability.

Our most recent staff survey clearly shows that racism is an issue in the NHS, with six per cent of colleagues experiencing discrimination at work within the last 12 months. Some of this will have emanated from colleagues and other times from patients and their families.

Wherever it comes from, we must recognise it is still out there and come together to stop it. We will support you every step of the way.

If you experience or witness any form of racism – or any unacceptable behaviour, language or manifestation – please report it. Staff should do this through their line manager, through colleagues in the People team or our brilliant Freedom to Speak Up Guardians here bfwh.ftsug@nhs.net

Patients and their families should raise it with a colleague immediately or through our Patient Relations Team here. Call them on 01253 955588 / 89 or email bfwh.patientrelations@nhs.net

I am proud of our diverse workforce and the care we provide to everyone, no matter their background. We will play our part in creating a society free from discrimination and a workplace that is safe, happy and where everybody can thrive.

There is more to do, but with your help as a colleague, volunteer, patient or partner, we can achieve equality for all. You can learn more about Blackpool Teaching Hospitals’ Equality and Diversity policies here

Let’s continue to be actively anti-racist and work together for a better future for all.

Kevin McGee

Chief Executive

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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