Published on: 5 June 2020

Hi all and welcome to this week’s blog!Martin Hodgson.jpg

The glorious weather we have been having appears to have taken a turn for the worse this week - I am sure the gardens and trees will be appreciative of the rain though! And like the gardens, we too need to stay hydrated whilst we are working, especially those donning and doffing PPE during their shift! 

This week is Volunteers Week and we are sending a huge thank you to all the volunteers that support us here at ELHT. The Trust has over 250 volunteers who make a massive difference across all our sites and in our community settings, carrying out a wide range of roles which are ever expanding, and helping us deliver safe, personal and effective care.

They give their time for all sorts of tasks from reception desks to the Emergency Department; They are also vital in our outpatients and chaplaincy departments, assisting a range of medical and surgical wards; and maternity services. We also have volunteers supporting the Trust’s charity, ELHT&Me. Our volunteers have also been instrumental in enabling us to have a belongings drop-off service for our inpatients on all sites. This scheme has been so successful that we will be extending the service so that it is available for an additional hour each day that is is running. You can find out more about this on our website.

This week is also Dietitians Week 2020, and although Kevin mentioned in his blog last Friday, I would just like to reiterate his thanks to that amazing team who play such a vital role here at ELHT.

We keep hearing about social distancing, but what does it mean for us in the Trust? Well, the rules apply to us as much as anyone else. They are extremely clear and mean that you should not get closer than two metres from someone else who is not in your household.  Obviously, there are some aspects of our work where this is impossible – hence appropriate PPE.  However, in moving around the Trust and carrying out your work you must keep your distance. Keep to the left when walking down our corridors and keep two metres apart. 

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If you see someone who isn’t social distancing or is making it difficult for you to distance yourself (for example if they are blocking a route) it really is okay to politely challenge them – indeed you should challenge them.  And if it is you who are being challenged – remember our Trust values and behave accordingly.  Remember, this is policy not a suggestion. Please do stay as aware as possible when you are moving around our buildings; or indeed any public space! 

I would like to say a special thank you this week to wood carving enthusiast Jonathan Whittaker from Devon who has sent us this amazing carved plaque to celebrate our fabulous staff and our services.  Jonathan was looking for places where he could donate his work, so well done to Fiona Wild, Occupational Therapist and UNISON representative, who contacted him on behalf of ELHT.  

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The plaque will be displayed securely in a prominent position somewhere within the Trust and we will let you know once it has been decided where this will be!  

Following national and regional guidance on how we continue to ‘recover’ and ‘reintroduce’ priority services whilst still safely dealing with a level of Covid activity, a great deal of work is being undertaken at both the Lancashire and South Cumbria level and within ELHT.  

Particular areas of focus are the need to increase the community step down/rehabilitation capacity; ongoing critical care capacity; and how we increase the numbers of planned patients we are treating. This last point is essential to help reduce the inevitable increases in waiting lists that have occurred whilst coping with the initial phase of the pandemic. Many people are involved in developing a number of potential options ready for a submission to the regional team on the 19 June, so thanks to those people for all their hard work on top of already incredibly busy jobs. 

I am delighted  to close this week’s blog with some amazing news. For the second time in three years, ELHT has ranked as the top NHS Trust with the highest number of its staff taking up their Flu vaccination.  We strongly believe that the flu vaccination programme is one of the most important ways of maintaining Safe, Personal and Effective Care across the organisation.

The flu vaccination uptake for our staff continues to rise year on year and the final uptake of flu vaccinations at ELHT for the 2019/2020 campaign was 94.8%. and has exceeded last year’s campaign of 93.6%.

ELHT has been identified as one of the stand out Trusts in the UK and we have supported other organisations in their planning and implementation of their own flu campaigns. Planning is already under way for the 2020 Flu campaign as we aim to improve on last year’s uptake!

That’s all for this week. Stay safe and keep alert!