Published on: 19 February 2021

I continue to be struck by the continued efforts of our amazing staff this week and how most of what we do is inextricably linked to the people and communities we so proudly serve too.

As one of the largest employers in Lancashire, I know the thousands of people who work for East Lancashire Hospitals are also your husbands or wives, partners, parents, children, friends and family.

Such are the close ties and connections to our towns and villages; I also know that most of the patients currently being cared for are also, collectively, our husbands or wives, partners, parents, children, friends or family too.

I’m sure your natural interest in what is happening in our hospitals and community healthcare settings is a driving reason to follow this blog and I can tell you, normally that’s a huge amount of activity that is physically and emotionally draining from day to day. In a global pandemic, as you can imagine, it’s off the scale.

We have seen and dealt with some very difficult things as part of our response to Covid but I am also fortunate to see many of the compliments we receive each day about how the high quality of our services, grounded in our watchwords of safe, personal and effective care, make a difference.

To be fair, they’re not just words, they are the values and priorities we live by – that we believe in – so much so in fact that you’ll even find them printed on our sandwich labels in the canteen. That this is how we want to treat and be treated is a no-brainer, but to hear how this affects people and their families always gives everyone a buzz.

This week I was touched by a significant donation made to our hospital charity ELHT&Me by the family of a baby born prematurely into the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Burnley General Teaching Hospital last year.

In a letter, the proud new parents shared how grateful they were for the care provided to them by the team and how their baby daughter was thriving, smiling and eating porridge each day. I know she will now be at the heart of their family life, bringing joy in the coming months and years, but the team will be equally thrilled to hear of her progress too.

I was also delighted to hear and see the Health Minister Matt Hancock talking about the NHS in positive terms following the publication of the Government’s White Paper on system reform. In particular, he highlighted the success of the Trust’s incredible surgical robots during an exchange in the House with our local Member of Parliament, Antony Higginbotham, who represents Burnley.

It goes without saying, we’re extremely proud of how we are developing and embracing technology alongside more traditional approaches to enhance both patient care and your overall experience when you come in for treatment.

But don’t forget the robots were, amazingly, fully  funded by local people through our hospital charity ELHT&Me. They are playing a hugely valuable part in providing the very best services but we wouldn’t have been able to afford them without kind donations to the charity, often made in memory of those we have cared for or in tribute to our fantastic staff. If you’d like to support ELHT&Me, you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or contact them by emailing, or call 01254 732140.

And so you see how connected we all are and how those inextricable links are formed to enable us to succeed and support each other. 

I think East Lancashire is a shining example of how places work best when people feel so strongly that they belong somewhere. Of course, on the flip side, I’ve no doubt these strong connections are a reason why we have as a region been one of the worst affected by Covid, with well over 1,000 local people lost to the virus. We are physically and emotionally close – and to be restricted in our interactions with each other has been so hard to bear.

These examples are, of course, just a small window on the immense effort dedicated to the delivery of safe, effective and personal care not just in our hospital settings but also in the community as part of the wider health and social care system. We’re proud of all the support provided not just by the Trust but by our partners and local people too.

But compliments from local people, donations that help us to continue to improve our care and national interest from the Health Minister provide a really welcome boost to staff who have been working so hard for such a long time as part of our immense response to Covid.

Please never underestimate how much your feedback means to our staff. They do remember you and your recognition in whatever form means a huge amount.

It has often been said about the pandemic that ‘we’re all in it together’. For me, this week has demonstrated just how true it is.

Thank you for everything you are doing, we can and will beat this, together.

Take care,