Stakeholder update from Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive Kathryn Halford: 29 June 2020

I will be writing this newsletter for the next two weeks as Tony is on leave and having a break. It is something we are encouraging all our staff to do as we move from the first peak of Covid-19 to living with the disease and resuming services we had to pause at the height of the pandemic. 

The impact it has had on our staff and the steps we are taking to care for them was touched on in a recent report on ITV London. One of the people they interviewed was Rajesh Jain, one of our senior doctors in critical care. He recently won a You Made A Difference Award after being nominated by his team. The scheme is open to anyone who would like to nominate a member of our staff who has impressed them with the care they have provided. 

As we all adjust to living with Covid-19, we’ve had an opportunity at our Trust to reflect on our recent past. Life before the virus struck is analysed in our Annual Report. The document serves as a reminder of the extraordinary range of services we offer our communities and it captures some striking statistics, including the fact that more than 300 thousand people attended our Emergency Departments in the last financial year.

Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (AHP) Conference

With my team, I had a chance to take stock when we held a virtual Nursing, Midwifery and AHP conference. It was inspiring for me, as Chief Nurse, to learn about the many innovative ways my colleagues responded to Covid-19 and how they are determined to continually improve in the months ahead.

When our speech and language therapists were deployed to ITU they overcame the problem of patients having difficulty identifying staff who were all wearing personal protective equipment, by making clearly visible name badges. The template they created was used by other health organisations in the UK and abroad, including in Chile.

Our speakers included Rosemary Idiaghe, one of our consultant midwives, who spoke about the cultural awareness training that is taking place in the Maternity department and Heidi Mallace, whose mother was a Covid-19 patient. During a very moving presentation, Heidi said the compassionate care her family had received from our staff was critical to her mother’s successful recovery. 

Outpatient clinics at King George Hospital

Tony has written before about how we are adjusting our services so we can treat both Covid and non-Covid patients and how we are providing planned surgery at King George Hospital (KGH). We are building on this work and we now have seven theatres and eight ITU beds available at KGH in order to undertake more complex, planned surgery. It is a painstaking process that isn’t unique to us

We are screening all those who visit KGH so that we can reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission and restart more outpatient clinics. We are grateful for the work you are doing to reassure those you meet that it is safe to come to hospital (many people continue to be reluctant to visit our sites) and to remind them that because of our stringent and very necessary infection prevention and control measures, our services may be in a different location to where they were, before the pandemic. 

Saving Our Nurses viewing figures

I am often struck by the fact it can be the simplest of ideas that can lead to transformative change. Little did I know when I sat down one evening and watched the ‘The Intern’ movie with my daughter that it would result in the creation of a ground-breaking scheme that has improved our nurse retention and has been filmed for a BBC One Daytime series. The five programmes were watched by an average of nearly 900 thousand people and the episodes performed well among younger viewers. 

A positive story of acceptance for Pride Month

One of those featured in Saving Our Nurses is Angel Toledo. During Pride Month, she has shared her story of how she has been accepted by our Trust as a trans person. It is a heartening read

Creative thinking helps a stroke patient

Another thing that I always find heartening is the lengths our staff will go to, to help our patients recover. The solution Oliver Sawyer, one of our speech and language therapists, came up with to address a stroke patient’s poor appetite was to offer him his favourite tipple along with some comfort foods.

A birthday celebration after three months in hospital

Throughout this Covid crisis we have been determined to both honour and remember the 419 patients (at time of writing) who have died and to celebrate those who have recovered. 

More than 1,600 people have been discharged from our hospitals who had either suspected or confirmed Covid-19. Janice Benham returned home just in time to celebrate her daughter’s birthday, after 89 days at KGH. 

Another of our former patients, Steve Attfield spoke to ITV London (4’ in on the recording) about the illness and about the time it will take for him to return to full health. It is yet another reminder of the long-term impact the virus will have on people’s lives and on the services in our boroughs that are there to care for them. 

Thank you for reading and I hope you have an enjoyable and productive week.

Kathryn Halford OBE 
Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive