The Covid-19 pandemic has seen us completely change the way we deliver services as we’ve had to quickly adapt to ensure we could keep our patients and staff safe.

Last week we launched a video which highlighted our transformation, and our intention of keeping these positive changes in the future, particularly as they’ve improved patient care.

These included running 5,700 appointments over the telephone in April alone, preventing anxious patients having to come to our hospitals, and increasing critical care capacity five-fold.  I’m really proud of our staff who helped to make these changes happen so quickly.

As you’ll see in our video, it’s a new NHS and a new BHRUT.  You can read more and watch the video on our website.  The messages are varied, but can be summed up with the words… there’s no going back!  I am determined not to squander my colleagues’ desire for positive change.

We’re also really excited to be able to share with you that our Senior Intern Team, a group of senior nurses who support our newly qualified nurses adapt to their role, is the subject of a new BBC daytime documentary.  ‘Saving our Nurses’ airs its first episode at 10am on BBC One on Monday 8 June.

Our award-winning scheme was thought up by our Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive, Kathryn Halford, after watching the Robert De Niro film ‘The Intern’, in which he stars as someone who returns to work after retiring and is able to share the benefit of his wisdom and experience with a younger colleague.

The five-part BBC series, filmed before the Covid-19 pandemic, highlights the hard work of our Senior Intern team in keeping new nurses in the NHS.

Sadly, over the last week the number of confirmed Covid-19 deaths rose by four, to 413.  We think it’s also important to share with you that the number of patients recovering from this illness and going home to their families has also risen by 61, to 1,453.

These included Desmond Solomon, 62, one of our latest patients to place a bee on our Tree of Life after two months in our hospital, including two weeks in intensive care.

And it’s not just Covid-19 patients who are being treated at our hospitals.  Loren Dixon, a fit and healthy 25-year-old, was saved from ‘locked-in syndrome’ by our Stroke team after a stroke caused by a clot in the basilar artery of her brain.

When not fatal, basilar artery strokes can cause devastating disabilities including head-to-toe paralysis, i.e ‘locked in syndrome’.  Which is why it’s even more amazing that she walked out of Queen’s Hospital just days later with no long-term effects.

She said: “When the doctor explained to me that some people who have this form of stroke can only move their eyelids afterwards, it was really scary.  The speed at which the doctors acted saved my life and I’m so grateful.  I love to travel, and this means I still can.”

Read more about Loren on our website.

We are now focusing on bringing back services we have paused, such as elective (planned) care, and how we care for Covid and non-Covid patients in the months ahead.  And we will use this update to keep you informed about any changes in the weeks ahead, which will also be updated on our website.  Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety of our patients and our staff.

All of our pre-Covid plans for the future are being reviewed to ensure that nothing distracts from this critical goal of infection prevention and control.  We will share more information on our future plans with you as soon as possible.

It is in this context that it has been decided to postpone indefinitely our plans to form a Group Model with the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT).  While the move to a Group will not be taken forward for the foreseeable future, we will continue to work together with NELFT for the benefit of our patients.  The way different health and social care organisations have come together throughout the coronavirus outbreak is one of the positive things to have emerged from this crisis.

Take good care.

Tony Chambers
Chief Executive