James A Thomas
Chief Operating Officer
Over the past few weeks the discussions amongst many of us are about holidays we are having or indeed would have had and about how challenging the last six months has been. Most of us admit to at best being tired.
The last six months has without doubt been one of the most challenging periods for NHS hospitals in a generation. It was a period of significant change and adaption at considerable pace. We moved wards and services, changed working patterns and supported one another in ways we have never been required to previously.
Many of you did and still continue to be working in varying levels of PPE caring for patients often in challenging scenarios set against a backdrop of many other pressures. Regardless of what and where we are in the organisation working in our hospitals during a global pandemic and national lockdown has been hard. Many of you are experiencing the resultant impact of the Covid pandemic so far and now working equally as hard on restoring our services back to pre-Covid levels.
I continue to be in awe of the range of changes, innovations and support to the most pressured areas our teams provided. At every level we experienced teams coming together to support one another and to provide outstanding care to our patients in challenging circumstances. I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you to every member of Team ASPH for the contribution you have made during Covid and continue to make to ensure our patients are safe and that we continue to provide the services they need. I am extremely proud to be part of Team ASPH and never more proud than being part of the fantastic efforts made across our hospitals during the events of this year. It has been physically and emotionally challenging. Thank you.
Consideration of the extreme challenges over the last six months takes us to consider how we need to prepare for what lies ahead. The most important thing we all can do during the summer is to look after ourselves and each other. We have all not only worked extremely hard but we have had all to deal with the national lockdown in our own personal lives as well as the professional. We cannot underestimate the impact this has had and will be different but challenging to us all. Many of us have seen our holiday plans for this year changed or lost and for some this will mean a much awaited trip oversees to see family having been cancelled. It is, however, extremely important that we still take time away from work to recharge. This is something each of us must commit to. Please do ensure you and your teams are taking leave now and in the coming weeks.
To support the ongoing wellbeing of staff, both before and during the active stage of Covid, the Trust set up a number of wellbeing support options for colleagues to access. These ranged from on-line resources on our dedicated Wellbeing Covid pages to 1-1 staff psychological support, where staff could have the opportunity to speak to someone either from our in-house psychology team, or from our Staff Wellbeing Chaplain and Freedom to Speak-up Guardian. We are continuing to develop our wellbeing offer and have just launched a Wellbeing Survey which is asking for your comments on the support you received throughout recent months and what you would like to see the Trust offer in the future.
Once again my sincere thanks for the efforts in caring for our patients and each other during the Covid pandemic. Please do take time now to look after yourselves and one another.
Chief Operating Officer