The number of patients being treated for coronavirus at our hospitals continues to grow.
Sadly, we also continue to see people lose their lives. More than 200 people with coronavirus have now died at our hospitals. This does not indicate a failure of the new ‘lockdown’ rules. We know that there is a delay between the start of restrictions and the impact they can have.
What it does show is why the new lockdown was needed and why we need to continue to comply with the rules as well as remember the most basic measures like washing our hands regularly and thoroughly.
We all hope the lockdown will end in two weeks’ time, as has been indicated. But only by working together to slow down the spread of the virus will we be able to go back to our ‘new normal’.
We are all only too aware that Christmas is just around the corner, and we all want it to be as normal and as happy as possible, which is why we must take this virus, and the measures to curb it, seriously.
Of course, there has been more promising news on the vaccine front, but we are not there yet. As you read this, there is currently no vaccine for coronavirus that has been cleared for use, and until there is, it is up to all of us to, to coin a phrase, ‘control the virus’.
The ‘front door’ of our hospitals – A&E – continues to be very busy. You may have seen a story in the Shropshire Star this week that the number of people coming into our A&Es is down on last year, but that does not tell the whole story.
Although we are seeing slightly fewer patients, many of those that we are seeing are more seriously unwell. The number of people being brought into our A&Es by ambulance is about the same. Added to this, the measures we have in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus, which include the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), swabbing patients, and having social distancing measures in place, means every patient takes longer to assess and treat.
It is important to remember that the NHS is open for business. Our A&Es will continue to treat those who need the specialist care that Emergency Departments provide, but equally pharmacies, GPs, NHS111 and others are also there for those whose treatment is less urgent.
Finally, I just want to say that is not just in the communities that coronavirus is having an impact. My colleagues across the NHS are not immune and we have, of course, had members of staff off either because they have contracted the virus or because they are self-isolating. Clearly, this has an impact on the teams in our hospitals and I want to pay tribute to them for their incredible dedication in continuing to do the best for our patients every day. On behalf of all of our patients, thank you.