Careful planning needed before returning to normal, says Shropshire hospitals boss

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

Dr Arne Rose
Dr Arne Rose

It is nice to be able to report that the number of coronavirus patients being treated at our two acute hospitals – the Royal Shrewsbury and the Princess Royal in Telford – remains low.

The combination of the vaccination programme and continued adherence to guidelines is having a positive impact.

Slowly, we are returning some of the normality to our daily lives, and to our hospitals.

As I’ve said before, this takes some careful planning, because we must avoid a further spread of the virus, so we are not yet in a position where all services are restored or where we can allow visitors back in, but it is something we are working on.

One thing we are now able to do is to welcome a support partner for all women attending antenatal appointments and ultrasound scans at our hospitals.

With the support of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin councils, maternity services users and their chosen support partner can access a lateral flow test prior to attending appointments to keep everybody safe.

This will also help us to work more quickly towards the full reinstatement of visiting to maternity services, which I know is something everyone is keen to see.

For some of our staff, there will be changes to their personal circumstances as we restore more of our ‘everyday’ business. Many have been temporarily redeployed, working from home or shielding.

As these things come to an end, it will inevitably impact on those individuals, so we are supporting them with a ‘toolkit’ which will help colleagues reflect on the last year and prepare for any changes, as well as giving managers support, guidance and tools to help staff returning to their teams.

While the last 12 months or so have been incredibly difficult for everyone, it is no secret that SaTH has had other difficulties which pre-date the pandemic.

Input

As a trust in special measures, we have been working hard to make the necessary improvements to move us away from that and to, eventually, a rating of ‘Good’ by our inspectors.

The pandemic has, inevitably, made this more difficult, but it is important for everyone – patients, their family and our staff – that we keep our eye on the ball.

Yesterday, the Care Quality Commission published a report on the care provided to children and young people at PRH. Inspectors raised a number of concerns.

We have already taken actions to address these. Some of those actions need input from our system partners, so we are working together closely to get this right.

Actions we have already taken include ensuring all children admitted have risk assessment and care plans in place, rolling out more staff training and, with partners, appointing a new Consultant Psychiatrist to provide ongoing leadership and support.

We are committed to improving the quality of children and young people’s services at the trust.

Furthermore, we want to ensure that any lessons learned can be utilised across other areas of the organisation where appropriate.

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