As of today, I will be writing the weekly CEO blog as I cover for Oliver who is on annual leave this month. Oliver’s last working day at NELFT was yesterday and he is now enjoying some well-earned leave throughout December.
I know many of you have shared your thanks and thoughts with Oliver. It was very moving to be part of last week’s all staff webinar where messages of thanks were shared from our staff networks across the Trust. I just wanted to acknowledge the tremendous impact Oliver has had on the culture of our Trust and I am privileged to take on the role as Acting Chief Executive from 1 January 2022. Thank you to those of you who have shared messages of support with me.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Mayor of Basildon’s Freedom of the Borough presentation where NELFT was awarded the Freedom of the Borough status in recognition of the extraordinary service colleagues have provided to the residents of Basildon. I attended with our Vice Chair, Sultan Taylor, alongside representatives from some of our clinical teams. It was a great night and you can read more about it here. In the last week we have also been recognised as finalists in the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) awards. Fingers crossed for a win in the Making a Difference – Public Sector category, however I am very proud we have made the shortlist regardless of the outcome.
Tackling inequalities is a huge part of what we do here at NELFT, whether that is internally through our staff networks and the work of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team or for our patients and communities through the support you provide every day. Yesterday was World Aids Day and the theme this year is ‘End inequalities. End AIDS.’ Over 105,200 people are living with HIV in the UK. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS related illnesses across the world. Despite the scientific and medical advances we have made, each year in the UK over 4,139 people are diagnosed with HIV. People do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition. You can find out more here.
I hope you all managed to get through the recent cold snap unscathed, it feels like winter has well and truly arrived. I know some of you even had a sprinkling of snow. It is really important we protect the most vulnerable members of our communities at this time of year so I would like to encourage you to book your flu jab if you haven’t already. Please do protect yourself, your colleagues and loved ones, and our patients.
Take care, stay safe and keep warm.
Jacqui Van Rossum
Executive Director of Integrated Care (London)