There is no doubt that things are tough at the moment. The number of patients in our hospitals who have coronavirus remains very high. And, sadly, we are still seeing people dying.
On top of this, we are continuing to see high numbers of acutely unwell patients presenting at our hospitals.
You may have heard that, last week, we declared an internal ‘incident’ which meant we put additional measures in place to ensure that we could deal with the additional numbers of patients that we were seeing. I want to thank everybody within the trust and our partners for their hard work.
While things have now eased, it would be wrong to say that we are not still incredibly busy.
We have been dealing with the pandemic in Shropshire for almost 12 months and, naturally, that takes its toll. And yet, 12 months later, we are still seeing incredible acts of kindness directed to our colleagues and to our patients.
An appeal we put out for nightwear for patients whose loved ones can’t travel to the hospital has met with an incredible response, with companies like Adsa and Sainsbury’s donating items.
But even more wonderful is the number of people who have donated individual items by buying them online and having them sent straight to us.
This weekend we also heard of another individual who has raised hundreds of pounds which he has used to organise pizzas for our emergency teams at both hospitals.
These acts of kindness mean so much to our teams, so thank you.
On the flip side, sadly, we are seeing people spreading false rumours on social media. You may have seen my colleague Mark Brandreth at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital comment on rumours that vaccine at their vaccination hub was being wasted.
I really don’t understand why people would chose to make up such things with absolutely no evidence.
It is an insult to colleagues across the health and care sector who are working so hard to ensure the vaccine is delivered to people as quickly as possible.
On that front, this week, three further vaccination centres are launching in Shropshire. Vaccination centres at Ludlow Racecourse and AFC Telford United opened yesterday with a third centre at Shrewsbury Indoor Bowling Centre on Sundorne Road coming online later this week. The three vaccination centres will be capable of vaccinating thousands more people every week as national supplies of the vaccine allow.
But as I have said before, we are not out of the woods yet. Coronavirus is still spreading and coronavirus is still claiming people’s lives.
You will have seen in the news about the new South African variant of the disease which, while it does not appear to make people sicker, is more infectious.
Measures such as washing your hands, keeping your distance from other people and wearing a face covering will still help prevent infections, and because the new variants appear to spread more easily, so it is important that we continue to follow the guidance.