If you’re a BBC Radio Lancashire listener you might have heard me on the breakfast show earlier this week where I was really honest about the current situation facing colleagues at both Blackpool and East Lancashire Hospitals.
I want to be honest with local people as well as staff and system partners about our response to the pandemic. As a whole, our intensive care, high dependency, critical care and enhanced care units are dealing with supreme pressures which I know require a Herculean effort from all departments to manage. We are making decisions daily about non urgent care facilities and staff redeployment to enable us to respond as effectively as possible.
In addition to this you might be aware that the Quality Care Commission (CQC) made an unannounced visit to inspect our emergency department and some medical wards on
Monday. I want to thank everyone who was involved in supporting them on top of everything else happening that day. I am immensely proud of everyone here at BTH. We will of course receive a formal report from the CQC in due course but I wanted to share some positive feedback they have shared.
There were no regulatory breaches whatsoever for immediate action. Indeed, the team was very complimentary about a number of areas including how calm and controlled the teams and the environments were, despite the huge amount of activity going on. They described how people were getting things done with no complaints and commented on infection prevention control and cleanliness. The team also observed a staffing meeting and whilst the whole of the NHS is struggling with staffing at the moment the team was pleased with how we were managing it, demonstrating good oversight and management across the Trust.
This is testament to an incredible amount of hard work delivered by all staff in recent months. Well done and thank you for everything you have and continue to achieve.
Blackpool has seen high numbers of people infected and needing hospital care throughout the pandemic and there are over 100 people in hospital suffering from the virus. We are also taking patients from other areas where hospitals don’t have enough staff or beds to cope. Thank you to all the staff who are supporting each other across the NHS. It is much appreciated.
I am asking myself and colleagues each and every day what more can we do, is there anything we can approach differently and have we considered all our options – even the normally unthinkable – in helping us to provide care, whilst the number of people with Covid in our communities or who need to come into hospital continues to rise.
We are adding beds wherever we can – moving to ‘surge’ and ‘super surge’ plans in place for demand of this nature – but for every bed we have to also find trained and qualified staff to look after people admitted with very serious health issues. We have a great team here but are always looking for more. Please recommend us to family and friends as a place to work and you can find our vacancies here including information for people who would like to be volunteers.
We have made some very difficult decisions this week with partners across the healthcare system including to postpone some outpatient appointments and elective surgery, as well as services in our cardiac unit. We are doing this to enable people to stay safe at home if they do not need to come into hospital but, also, so that we can use these brilliant staff elsewhere.
We are also working closely with our staff and partners in community health services and settings to ensure we are supporting people to avoid them coming into hospital where possible and, if they are admitted, to get them home as soon as we can.
In addition, we are prioritising the vaccination programme and it is making great progress. I was really pleased to hear that we have now vaccinated more than 2,400 staff. This is a fantastic achievement and I want to thank all the team who are making it possible. They continue to increase the number of vaccinations every day and more staff are now eligible to ensure we get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.