This week we have seen a significant development in our fight against Covid-19 with the opening of a mass vaccination hub at Telford International Centre.
This has been an incredible effort by everyone involved.
There has been much said and much written about the speed vaccines are being delivered across Shropshire, but we should have nothing but praise for the people who have added a significant piece to the jigsaw which will, hopefully, get us back to some sort of normality.
It’s easy to forget everybody involved in getting the centre off the ground, and everyone who will keep it running, has been dealing with this pandemic for almost a year.
People are tired, working incredible hours every day of the week and making sacrifices which, 12 months ago, we might not even dreamed of asking them to make.
To all of them, to everyone involved in our efforts to tackle Covid, thank you.
Sadly, the number of coronavirus patients we are seeing at our hospitals continues to rise. Tragically, so does the number of people dying.
For the good news things like the vaccination centre brings, we are far from out of the woods just yet.
Be in no doubt, this disease is deadly and you may even pass it on without knowing. We need to do everything we can to stop its spread and to save people’s lives.
In a situation like this it is easy, I think, to feel helpless; to feel powerless to make any significant difference.
But just by continuing to do what you are doing – staying at home as much as possible, wearing masks when you go out, washing your hands regularly – you are making a difference.
There is more you can do. Shrewsbury’s rapid testing centre is now open 12-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week – meaning more frontline and key workers can get a speedy test. The centre is at the Lantern in Harlescott, and is available for people who can’t work from home, to get Lateral Flow Rapid tests twice-a-week.
Results are turned around in less than an hour. There is also a test centre at Craven Arms Community Centre, which is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 9.15am to 4pm, and on Sundays, 9.30am to 12.30pm. All tests must be booked in advance via the shropshire.gov.uk/lfdpublictesting website.
At SaTH, our staff vaccination programme continues rapidly and we have now begun to vaccinate more colleagues, not just those on the frontline, so that we can slow the spread of this disease as much as possible.
Sadly, we are still some way from being able to allow visitors back into our hospitals, so we have been thinking of ways we can help both our patients and their loved ones.
We have introduced a team of volunteers so that patients can receive essential supplies from home.
The response volunteers are manning desks at both hospitals seven-days-a-week in order to receive items from people with loved ones in hospital, and then deliver them to the wards. You can find more information on our sath.nhs.uk website.
Relatives and friends of patients can also send their best wishes through our new ‘send a message to a loved one’ scheme. Details of that are also online.
We asked people who sew to help make sleepwear for patients whose relatives may not be able to bring a change of clothes because they themselves are unable to travel. We have had a wonderful response, including from Sainsbury’s, which is donating some pyjamas after hearing about the scheme in the media.
We don’t take things like this for granted.
Thank you all. Stay safe.