As explained in James' message on Monday we have implemented a formal command and control structure to manage our response to the evolving COVID-19 situation.
The Gold meeting will take place every Tuesday morning, attended by the executive team, divisional directors and lead for emergency preparedness and resilience. After each of these meetings and having reviewed all the various information streams I will share the top three priorities that the leadership are going to focus on over the coming week.
This week they are:
1 – Keeping Team ASPH safe by ensuring you have the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) you need to look after patients safely
I understand that some areas have experienced supply disruptions to important PPE. I have been clear today that your safety is my priority and therefore ensuring we have what is recommended and needed is a priority and so we have been in urgent discussions with national supply chain providers and others. You can help with this priority by:
- Complying in full with the universal infection prevention and control measures and bare below the elbows requirements.
- When testing patients for COVID-19 or caring for patients with confirmed COVID-19 it is absolutely vital we follow specific infection prevention and control precautions.
- Only use precious PPE appropriately, and only when required. If you are unsure please refer to the guidance, speak to your line manager or contact the Infection Prevention and Control team. Incorrect usage or over usage makes Team ASPH and patients unsafe. Please also note that staff required to use FFP 3 must be clean shaven as per the guidance from the Health and Safety Executive.
- Declaring in full all your ward or department stocks so that we can have a clear picture of stock levels across the organisation.
2 – Keeping patients and colleagues safe by staying at home if you believe you have COVID-19 symptoms via the new "stay at home" advice
You will see the new "stay at home" advice shared in the COVID-19 staff bulletin today and on the NHS Coronavirus website. Essentially the advice is now to stay at home for seven days if you develop symptoms of a high temperature or new, continuous cough. The addition is that if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.
I want to be really clear that looking after your well-being and protecting your families is really important and that by doing this you will also be protecting vulnerable patients so I am asking every member of Team ASPH to take personal responsibility in following this advice. I know that you want to take care of patients and do not wish to let your colleagues down but it's absolutely vital that you follow this advice. If you become unwell at work please inform your line manager and go home immediately. If you become unwell at home please stay home and call your line manager.
We will be sharing very detailed COVID-19 HR guidance this week and setting up a central HR phone helpdesk for all enquiries.
3 – Keeping Team ASPH up-to-date with clear and consistent communications and clinical guidance
I understand there is a lot of information, advice and opinion out there and it can be difficult to cut through it all. My priority is to ensure that clear, consistent and current information is available to you all in a timely way.
The Trustnet COVID-19 Resource Centre is an excellent resource with all the up-to-date information and guidance available and we are working on ways to make it easier to navigate. We will also be launching COVID-19 Myth Busting this week and are filming a series of short, informative videos today that will be available in the next couple of days.
The BBC news website also has some good updates and articles and personally I have found the daily Prime Ministerial briefings very useful, especially the Q&A.
Finally I'd like to say the situation we find ourselves in is highly unusual, challenging and changing every day. To be honest the information and guidance I am receiving multiple times a day is not absolutely clear and consistent, but we are doing our very best to provide direction that is as clear as possible. Please bear with us and support each other. No doubt the days, weeks and months ahead are going to challenge us all personally and professionally but I have absolute confidence that our collective commitment, creativity and adaptability will give us the best chance of coming through this together.