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Shropshire hospitals boss: 'We must all remain alert'

Shrewsbury | In-depth | Published:

Medical Director for The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Dr Arne Rose, says that while the situation in Shropshire hospitals is improving post Covid, they are still working to keep everyone safe - and warns everyone must remain alert.

Dr Arne Rose

We have seen more steps taken this week towards our ‘new normal’ – a phrase I have used many times yet one that sums up how this pandemic has changed, and continues to change, our lives.

The wearing of face coverings will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England from July 24. It is already compulsory to wear face masks in our hospitals, along with social distancing and regular hand washing, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus; with the masks supplied by the trust at mask stations at main entrances to our hospitals. It was a big change that was made at pace but our staff, and those coming in to attend hospital appointments, have adapted well to this.

This week has seen the re-opening of nail bars and salons with swimming pools and gyms to follow in England, on July 25. To be able to do some of the things that we so often take for granted – including having a haircut – is welcome. However, we must continue to do all that we can to reduce the spread of the virus so please continue to follow all the guidelines – maintain social distancing, wash hands regularly and stay at home as much as possible.

The situation in our hospitals continues to steadily improve, and I am pleased to report that we are seeing fewer Covid-19 positive patients in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital than we have for many weeks; but please remember, the virus has not gone away. We are not being complacent and restrictions remain in place in our hospitals. We must all remain alert if we are to see this continue.

Nearly 5,000 colleagues have now had their antibody test, and this week I am pleased to say that we have been able to roll testing out to our wider ‘NHS family’ – all those who have supported our trust during the pandemic. That includes our volunteers, Blood Bikes, contractors, military colleagues and our students whose vital support has enabled us to do our jobs and care for our patients in these unprecedented times. They have been a key part of our ‘family’ throughout this pandemic. We are incredibly grateful for everything they are doing and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them.

Capacity

Work continues behind the scenes to restore our services so that we can get back to ‘business as usual’ as much as we can; and there was some good news for the trust this week, our two week wait for cancer referrals in June was 97 per cent.

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We have, however, lost some beds due to social distancing and so we are bidding for funding for modular buildings on our sites to provide the capacity that we need. Modular buildings are used widely in the NHS for wards, theatres and diagnostic units – and we are hoping to use them for additional A&E space, particularly in Shrewsbury where the estate is very old and cramped, and also for wards. This will not only make restoring our services easier, it will also help prepare us for winter.

Winter. It brings with it its own pressures, such as flu – and factor in the very real possibility of a second wave of coronavirus, it means that we all need to play our part now. Please continue to follow all the guidance to help reduce transmission - maintain social distancing, wash hands regularly and stay at home as much as possible.

Thank you.

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