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Shropshire hospitals chief: ‘Let’s work together’ to beat this virus

By Dominic Robertson | In-depth | Published:

Dr Arne Rose, medical director at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust, gives the latest update on the Covid-19 crisis in Shropshire.

Dr Arne Rose, Medical Director at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust

The reaction of the public to the coronavirus pandemic has been incredible. I am pleased and proud to say that across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales people are, for the most-part, heeding the advice to say at home and only travel for essentials like food and medical treatment.

This – along with regular hand-washing – is the best way we can stop the spread of the virus. Sadly, as we knew it would, the virus is now claiming more lives, both nationally and here in Shropshire. We are seeing increasing numbers of people being admitted into our hospitals and we are preparing for a sharp rise as we reach Easter.

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I know there may be considerable anxiety around this, but we at SaTH and our partners have prepared for this and I want to thank all the teams for the incredible work they continue to do.

This week we began testing colleagues who are self-isolating because they are either symptomatic or a member of their household has the symptoms of coronavirus. We are prioritising front line staff in the first instance.

To you I would say, if you follow Government advice we know that, over the period of one month, the number of people who will be infected by one person can be reduced from 400 to 15. That is a huge difference.

Please, continue to play your part. That being said, it is important that those who need urgent medical attention seek it out immediately.

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Our A&Es remain open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week for patients who have suffered a serious injury, severe illness or a medical emergency.

Equally, mums-to-be should continue to attend antenatal appointments as normal unless advised otherwise. If you have any concerns about your baby’s movements, do not hesitate – call maternity triage on 01952 565948 and they will advise you what to do.

 
   

We have had great support from schools and colleges in the area, including University Centre Shrewsbury, Harper Adams University, Wolverhampton University, Shrewsbury Group Colleges and Telford College, as well as business organisations like Shropshire Chamber of Commerce and Telford BESST Network, who have been instrumental in helping us source some items we needed.

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We have also had so many donations of food and drink to keep our teams going that it is impossible to say thank you to everyone who has supported us in this way. To ensure we can co-ordinate the offers and ensure they are distributed to all of our teams, we have set up a dedicated email address – we.supportsath@nhs.net.

As you may have seen or heard, we have also suspended our parking charges for staff and patients alike during this unprecedented time.

I was on BBC Radio Shropshire last week and was asked to pick a song which summed up my experiences so far. I chose ‘Let’s Work Together’, which contains the line ‘Together we will stand, every boy, girl, woman and man’. That is exactly how I feel. Members of the public are standing with us in the battle against this virus and our teams at SaTH are standing up and coming up with some great ways to work in the most difficult circumstances any of us have ever faced.

One of our consultants in the Intensive Therapy Unit came up with the idea of using his child’s Spider-Man walkie-talkie set to communicate with colleagues in isolation bays. The idea worked so well that we have now sourced walkie-talkies from other areas with the help of places like Shrewsbury Town Football Club and Mirco Videos in Shrewsbury, who are heavily involved in the Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

This is just one example. Amongst all the headlines it is, I think, easy to forget that this extraordinary of times is bringing out the best in so many people. To them, thank-you does not seem enough, but for now it is all I have. Thank you.

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