Published on: 24 July 2020

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Hello everyone.

Welcome to this week's blog. 

Last week I touched on the local measures that are being put in place due to a ‘rising tide’ of new cases in Blackburn with Darwen, a spike of cases in Pendle and we are now also seeing an increase in Hyndburn. We have now heard that the lifting of some restrictions have been suspended in Blackburn. You can read the Council's statement here. It is a shame that these restrictions are necessary but we cannot stress enough the importance of everyone following the rules.  We know that people from BaME communities are disproportionately affected by Covid and could suffer greater harm from it. However, the BaME community is not the cause of the increased spread, or the restrictions.  We all need to be protected as far as possible, and we can all play a part - wear face coverings or masks when in enclosed spaces; wash hands regularly for 20 seconds or more; observe social distancing; avoid close contact - elbow bump instead of shaking hands or hugging; and restrict visiting between households.  Local testing is available and I'd encourage anyone to have a test - it's quick and easy and contributes to us knowing more about spread; and identifying who should self-isolate and take extra precautions.  Covid does not discriminate, and people may be a-symptomatic, so could easily inadvertently pass the virus on.  We all need to follow the rules - please share these messages as far as you can.

We are getting many emails, phone calls and social media queries asking us when we are going to being easing restrictions on things such as visitors and people accompanying patients for appointments. This has been one of the most difficult aspects for our staff.  However, the truth is that while we are facing such rises in our communities, it really would be irresponsible of us if we didn’t continue to limit the numbers of people coming into our hospitals, so for now, all the restrictions remain in place.  

Today we are launching #FacemaskFriday to highlight that the government guidance for wearing facemasks in shops and other public spaces becomes mandatory. As NHS staff, I think we have a duty to lead by example and adhere to the rules. After all, they have been put in place to protect us and make sure that we are not overwhelmed with critically ill patients. We must absolutely continue to protect those most at risk.

I am very proud of our staff relations, and we are fortunate to have such high quality union representatives. I don't think anyone will be surprised when I tell you that Karen English, our RCN Steward has just been named RCN Steward of the Year, having been nominated by her colleague Kath Allan This is great news and testament to Karen's effectiveness, support and care.  Well done Karen on this much deserved accolade! You can read more here.

I want to finish this week by thanking you all not just for what you do in work, but for what you often do out of work as well.  I do hear stories about how staff who are enjoying some well deserved recreation come across people who have been badly injured or taken poorly whilst they are out and about. These stories always show me that your professionalism, care, compassion and pure humanity is not just limited to when you are in uniform or in work time. It tells me that Safe, Personal and Effective Care are not just ‘buzz words’ they are part of who we are. The Trust values are something that we live and breathe 24/7 not just whilst on shift and I want to thank you for that! 

Have a great weekend everyone, and to those of you who are working – thank you! 

Until next time,