It’s been a while since I last shared my thoughts with you via the NELFT Talks blog (although I see it has been very busy with posts from staff across the Trust about all sorts of interesting and important topics), and the first thing I want to say is a massive heartfelt thank you to everyone who is part of Team NELFT and the wider NHS.
Since March we have faced an unprecedented challenge and I am so proud that colleagues across NELFT have risen to that challenge with courage, grace and at times when it’s been needed most, good humour – I’ve seen some of the TikToks!
Having heard first hand from staff members I have met as part of the work to redevelop Brentwood Community Hospital, through the command and control structures and incident management teams and of course the staff who have shared their experiences at Board, I know this has been the toughest time of many, if not all, of our careers. I want to say how proud I am of each and every colleague who has supported us to deliver the best possible care to our communities and respond to the challenge that COVID-19 has presented. We have seen inspiring levels of collaboration and teamwork and the most wonderful response from our public in appreciation of NELFT’s tremendous work on their behalf.
It is so important that I as Chair, and the wider Board hear first-hand about the experiences of our workforce, and of course our patients, as this will help us to learn lessons and make improvements going forward. As we move into the recovery phase of the pandemic and we look to reset our services and the way we work, we want to make sure we learn from what worked well, what didn’t and also remain agile to be able to cope with a second surge when it arrives.
As a community and mental health trust we also have to be prepared for how we support our patients and local communities as the impacts of COVID-19 really start to hit. I am aware that these impacts will also be on the health and wellbeing of our own colleagues as the enormity of what we have been facing over last four months starts to sink in. Please engage with us and speak up to make sure we know what can help and support you as the pandemic looks like it is here to stay for some time.
I am pleased that the recovery work we are undertaking across NELFT is factoring all of this into account in order to truly support our future focus. The Trust Board will be receiving regular reports on the NELFT Our Future Focus programme of work to ensure that we really are capturing all of the learning and moving forward in a way that allows us to continue delivering the best care by the best people.
Finally, a plea to our colleagues, help us please to protect you as our most vital asset and make sure you undertake your risk assessment with your line manager. Then we can understand how best to support you and our front line services by mitigating risks in every practical way we can. Despite the challenges of the pandemic we still aspire to deliver the best care to our patients by the best people and we want to keep both our staff and patients as safe as possible.
Thank you again, take care and stay safe