I know last week was a particularly busy one for the Trust, dealing with norovirus on top of the usual winter pressures, the associated visiting restrictions and precautions. We will send a full update on the norovirus situation separately but it is improving and I would like to say a huge thank you to all. It’s been a supreme team effort, from those caring directly for patients on the ward, to those standing in the front entrances of the hospitals and car parks alerting visitors and encouraging hand washing. And of course all of the support ‘behind the scenes’, managing bed capacity, enhanced cleaning regimes, getting information to patients and visitors and keeping colleagues updated.
Dealing with events like this really does take a team and I’m proud that all of Team ASPH, including several volunteers, stepped up so ably and went above and beyond for the safety of patients.
Of course the other key event of last week was the UK leaving the European Union on Friday. From the vote to leave the EU in 2016 this has felt like a long time coming and whatever your political views, I know the journey to Friday has caused uncertainty throughout the NHS and at ASPH, particularly for our EU colleagues. As the European Parliament agreed the Brexit deal, the concern around leaving without a deal has been negated. However we now enter a transition period until 31st December 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. During this period the current rules on trade, travel and business for the UK and EU will continue and staff and patients won’t need to do anything differently. Any changes will apply from 1st January 2021.
For the NHS some of the key issues to discuss and negotiate over the next eleven months will be patient safety; continuity of workforce, access to medicines and medical devices; reciprocal healthcare and overseas cost recovery and continued co-operation on medical research. The government will lead the response to this but NHS leaders will take every opportunity to share our views and promote health and the wellbeing of patients and colleagues as a priority.
In terms of further information and updates, there is some useful information on the Gov.uk website. There is also a section on the EU Settlement Scheme. If you are a EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you haven’t applied already you should take a look at what you need to do.
Finally, I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again! We are a robust and proactive organisation and as new mandates and direction emerges at a national level, I feel we are well equipped to respond and adapt quickly. Team ASPH is hugely diverse, something I am really proud of and we will do everything possible to keep colleagues working happily with us. As always, my key message is to keep doing what you’re already doing so well. Being kind, looking after the patients and each other and keeping focus on our vision to provide an outstanding experience and the best outcome for patients and the team.
With best wishes