THE HEAD of a local NHS Foundation Trust said the area’s health system is well prepared and ready to cope with the demands it’ll face over the next few months with winter pressures and any rise in Covid cases.
Nicky Lloyd, acting chief executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The NHS has learnt a lot over the last few months about the best ways of dealing with Covid and we have measures in place so we can cope with any increase in Covid cases while maintaining vital healthcare services for all our other patients.
“We have spent the last few months on a very robust recovery plan to tackle re-establishing pre-Covid activity levels and, thanks to huge efforts by our staff, I’m pleased to say this work is progressing very well.
Ms Lloyd said the hospital has met all of its commitments to re-establishing patient care activity levels.
“In outpatients, inpatients, day cases and diagnostics we have met or exceeded our target levels, and in cancer, patient referrals from GPs to us are back up to well over 90% on last year’s levels and were at 97% last week,” she said. “Now our focus is on supporting patients who have been waiting the longest for elective surgery and it’s encouraging to see we have made a number of noticeable improvements here.
“We’ve achieved this while still caring for patients who have tested positive for Covid and also working within the new strict infection control guidelines which mean extra precautions and cleaning need to be put in place between appointments.
“Of course this takes time and means that most of our services have made changes to how they work, but it’s very encouraging we’re managing this so well and continuing to keep on top of things.”
Ms Lloyd said it was a credit to their teams that these measures were put in place quickly.
And more appointments are being held virtually, a move welcomed by patients.
She added: “We’re also very grateful to the partnership cooperation from our colleagues in Primary Care, the GPs, practice nurses and other health and social care teams who are helping us manage demand and support people so they can access the right care at the right time.”
Ms Lloyd called on local people to do their bit to help the NHS to help them.
“If you have an appointment booked for clinic or surgery, please do attend for your treatment,” she said. “Our Trust sites are all extremely safe with stringent social distancing and other infection control precautions in place.
“Outside the hospital environment, you must also continue to adhere to the rules on hands, face and space.
“Please do also talk to your GP or pharmacist to see whether you are eligible for a free flu vaccination. We all have a responsibility to do as much as we can to look after ourselves and our families. That will play a big part in helping the local NHS teams care for those who need urgent care and easing pressure on our services.”
She added: “I believe that we are well prepared for winter and any extra demands we face. We have adequate supplies of PPE at the hospital and other Trust locations to make sure our staff and patients are properly protected.
“We’re also continuing to limit footfall on our sites so I’d urge you, if you have an appointment to try and visit alone if that’s possible.
“There are also still restrictions on visitors on the wards and I’d like to thank our patients and relatives for their cooperation.”
For more information, visit: www.royalberkshire.nhs.uk