Shropshire hospitals boss: 'There is light at the end of the tunnel'

Read the latest column from Dr Arne Rose, medical director at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

Dr Arne Rose
Dr Arne Rose

While the number of Covid-19 patients in our hospitals has fallen slightly in recent weeks we remain extremely busy.

We still have more than 120 cases in our hospitals and, sadly, we are still seeing people dying.

We can take hope from the fact infections are falling – the seven-day rate of new cases for the West Midlands as of February 5 stood at 248.6 per 100,000 people (down from 327.8 one week earlier) – but now is not the time to take our foot off the pedal and start relaxing the way we live our lives.

Please, stay at home, wear a face mask when you do go out, maintain social distancing and observe strict hand hygiene at all times. I know it is tough, but by doing all these things you really are making a positive difference.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccination programme continues to be a huge success and I truly believe this is our way out of the pandemic.

I am energised by the fact that 15 million people in the UK are set to have been vaccinated by mid-February and extremely grateful to everyone involved in this massive operation.

This immense local effort across our health and care system has led to the rapid roll-out of the programme across our communities, with more than 90,000 people in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin having received the first dose. Thank you to everyone involved.

I would also like to express my thanks to everyone who continues to support us with well wishes.

Our staff are tired and have worked as part of the response for a very long time, and therefore your kind words and generous donations really do mean a great deal to us.

Inspiration

I want to take this moment to pay tribute to our teams for their hard work and dedication, not just those on the frontline in our emergency departments or in critical care but everyone in every department who has contributed to a true and sustained response.

I would also like to pay tribute to, perhaps, our greatest supporter, Captain Sir Tom Moore, who sadly died last week. He was a complete inspiration to us all and he did more than anyone to raise vital funds to support patients, staff and volunteers during this crisis,

Here at SaTH, we have used the funds of over £100,000 to meet requests from staff. These funds, based on suggestions from staff, have been invested in supporting colleagues and patients who have been, and continue to be, impacted by the pandemic – just as Captain Sir Tom Moore envisaged. These range from dozens of outdoor seating areas, improvements to staff rooms and televisions for wards to support patients who can’t have visitors due to restrictions.

We also have plans to honour Captain Tom Moore through the development of outdoor areas for colleagues on both sites. At PRH, we will be developing the PRH main courtyard, which we would like to call Captain Tom’s Courtyard. This will provide a landscaped garden with seating pods, private areas, lighting and flower beds with curved willow fences.

Even though Covid-19 case rates have dropped to their lowest levels since before Christmas, the message remains very clear – Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.

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