Thank you everyone who joined us last week for our Annual General Meeting (AGM). The AGM is a formal meeting where we present our annual accounts and report for the previous financial year, but it is also an opportunity to reflect on the previous 12 months and to celebrate our achievements. Of course, much of our AGM reflected on our response to the ongoing pandemic and as always, I would like to thank colleagues and partners for your hard work and commitment. It has been an extremely challenging time for the NHS and I don’t underestimate the toll this has taken on us all.
The AGM was also an opportunity to hear about some of the amazing work happening across the Trust supporting our patients and communities. It was great to understand more about our Waltham Forest Recovery College and the work taking place to support our community in this patch. I was also grateful to our Kent All Age Eating Disorders Service colleagues for sharing the work they have been doing to support patients through the pandemic and sharing the feedback from patients about what has been working well and what can be further improved. Hearing about our nationally recognised Care Home Initiative led by the Essex Community Integrated Respiratory Team was yet another demonstration of how innovative colleagues have been despite dealing with the pandemic. Although we receive an update regularly at our Executive Management Team meetings about our vaccination programme for CoVid-19, I was still amazed when we heard about all the hard work and the number of vaccines we have administered through the teams at NELFT. I was so heartened at the AGM to be able to celebrate just a few of our achievements from the last year, a huge thank you to all of you.
It would be remiss of me to mention the COVID-19 vaccination programme without referring to the recent mandate from the Government making the vaccine compulsory for NHS staff who have face to face contact with patients. This follows the decision for care home staff and the expected deadline for NHS colleagues to be vaccinated is 1 April 2022. We are still awaiting guidance and details but I would like to reassure you our chief nurse, Wellington Makala and our executive director of people and culture, Simon Hart, are both reviewing this as a priority and working through how we support colleagues across the Trust.
As you know, partnership working is one of our strategic priorities as a Trust and I was delighted to be part of a visit from Anne Radmore, Regional Director for the NHS East of England region, on Tuesday. We came together with partners across Mid and South Essex to showcase the work and the collaboration happening across the system, including progress with our Mid and South Essex Community Collaborative(MSECC).
On Monday we were part of a roundtable meeting with the Department of Health and Social Care, presenting on the programme of work to build the new St George’s Health and Wellbeing Hub in Havering. This has been invested in as one of the Prime Minister’s schemes to develop new hospital and healthcare facilities. This is an important future resource for the local community and I am pleased we are leading this work on behalf of the system. We received really positive feedback about the programme so far and I am looking forward to seeing this progress over the coming months. This is just one of the major estates projects we are supporting at NELFT, as mentioned last week, I have recently visited the Corringham Integrated Medical Centre, our new build for partners and our community in Thurrock.
New investment into fit for purpose estate is an important part of providing the best quality care for our patients and we also realise that we need to ensure our existing buildings are also maintained to the best possible standard. We heard from Martin Mizen, our Estates Director, at our Executive Management Team this week about the programme of works underway across our Kent services to update facilities and we are looking at our buildings across the Trust to ensure we prioritise our resource and efforts accordingly. We know that the building we provide services in not only have an impact on our patient care but also on our staff morale and wellbeing so this is something we are discussing regularly.
As always it has been a busy week across NELFT, thank you to all my colleagues who are working hard to deliver the best care to our patients, their loved ones and our communities.