Mark Greatrex, Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust’s interim chief executive, writes for the Globe.
I’m delighted to be hosting the chief executive’s column for the next six months – Karen Howell is stepping away from the organisation temporarily, to support the national NHS team in shaping health and care policies.
It’s an important piece of work for the NHS moving forward and although Karen will be physically away from the Trust during this time, she will continue to remain in close contact with us.
The first thing I’d like to say is thank you for your efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
We all know the virus isn’t going away and with cases in Wirral rising every day it’s now more important than ever that we all play our part in protecting each other and helping to keep people safe.
Here at the Trust we’ve certainly been playing our part to help protect Wirral residents and staff.
Colleagues from across the Trust have been working tirelessly to restore our services, whilst creating safe environments for you when attending your appointments.
We’ve been welcoming many of you back to several of our clinics, so if you’ve got an upcoming appointment can I ask that you please familiarise yourself with and respect our guidelines:
- Arrive wearing your face covering (exemptions apply) – this must be worn at all times
- Come on your own (whenever possible) – this reduces the risk of contact between people
- Keep a two-meter distance from others and please only sit in chairs that are marked safe
- Sanitise your hands upon arrival and as soon as you enter the clinic waiting area – you’ll see lots of hand sanitiser stations dotted around
- Be on time for your appointment
- I’m sad to say that colleagues across the Trust have experienced some resistance and in some cases abuse when asking people to wear their face coverings.
- Please remember our staff have a responsibility to help keep you safe, so if you are exempt from wearing a face covering please let us know.
- If you are due to come back to one of our clinics for the first time since lockdown, I understand that you may feel a bit anxious or unsure.
I want to reassure you that we have done everything possible to protect you. You will notice that our clinic areas look and feel a little different, for example
Clinic areas will seem quieter, as there are fewer people in the building
Everyone will be wearing face coverings*
Staff will be wearing face masks or personal protective equipment (PPE)
Although lifts are fully operational in all buildings there is a restriction on the maximum number of people allowed inside
Floor markings outlining a one-way system in corridors and clinic areas I mentioned earlier about the importance of us all playing our part and we continue to remind our staff about their responsibilities both inside and outside of the workplace.
I want to reassure you that we are regularly talking to, and reminding our staff about social distancing, cleaning and wiping down clinical areas and work stations, wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), thoroughly washing their hands and the steps they need to take when working in COVID-secure and non-secure areas.
And it’s not just in the workplace; we know it is just as important for our staff to practice these guidelines in every aspect of their lives.
We are all in this together and the collective health of our community depends on us, as individuals, following and adhering to the guidelines set out locally and nationally.
Please stay safe, protect each other and remember to get your flu vaccine over the coming weeks.
As we move into the winter months things will get tougher, but we can do this, and Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust and all our incredible staff are here for you.