As health chief sends out thanks we tell NHS workers: 'You're still our heroes'

Torbay Weekly

Torbay and South NHS chief Liz Davenport has issued a personal message as Torbay Hospital and health services generally are under pressure like never  before.

The big increase in the number of Covid patients has, of course, had a huge impact. So, too, has the number of patients who shouldn't be in hospital  beds but cannot be released into community care for a number of reasons, including unfilled jobs.

More people are being referred by over-stretched GPs and some are turning up at A & E when they simply don't need to.

There have been reports of queues of more than 20 ambulances waiting to offload patients at casualty and some staff, including nurses, are now being verbally abused

These are the same people who have risked - and in some tragic cases, lost - their lives fighting for us on the NHS frontline. The same people who we took to the doorsteps to cheer, clap and honour.

You won't see Liz Davenport criticise the public. In fact, she praises local residents for their patience. We just it's about the frontline workers were told:

YOU'RE STILL OUR HEROES.

In her personal message, Liz, Chief Executive, Torbay and South Dev NHS Foundation Trust, says: "I am deeply grateful to the people of Torbay for the support they give to our dedicated and hardworking staff each and every day. Throughout the pandemic you have shown us kindness and understanding while we do our best to manage significant pressure on our services. We recognise that we are not in this on our own – all health and care services are experiencing these pressures from our GP colleagues to our emergency services.

"We always expect to be really busy at this time of year but high levels of COVID-19 in our communities in Torbay means that we have more people than ever before in our hospitals with COVID-19.

"This has a big impact on our staff and also affects our ability to see people as quickly as we would like in our Emergency Department, to admit people to hospital when they need our care and to get people home when they are ready to go. Today we have over 70 people ready to go home but who are waiting for support.

"We have had to temporarily stop some planned operations, outpatients, scans and follow-up appointments for patients with long-term conditions so that we can focus on caring for those who need urgent or emergency care. These are tough decisions that no one wants to make. We know that everyone who is waiting for care may be frustrated, upset or angry. We are too.

"Many of you have asked us what you can do to help.

"What makes Torbay a wonderful place to live is the way that we all look out for each other. Please continue to look out for family members, friends or neighbours who may be vulnerable and help to keep them safe and well at home.

"The Torbay Community COVID-19 helpline can provide support with practical things like collecting pensions, prescriptions and food as well as companionship and mental health support.

"We know it is worrying when either you or someone you love is unwell. But we are seeing people coming to our Emergency Department with conditions that could have been treated at their local pharmacy, by their GP surgery or at our Urgent Treatment Centre in Newton Abbot.

"Use 111 online or call 111 and they will direct you to the best place for your needs. We’re asking you to only attend our Emergency Department if you have been told to go there by 111 or your GP.

"If you have a loved one in one of our hospitals, please be ready to collect them when we call and support them when they get home. It’s really helpful if you start planning for your loved one to return home from the time they are admitted.

"It’s also a good time to plan ahead for Christmas and the New Year, ordering any repeat prescriptions and stocking up on your home medicine cupboard.

"And of course, the best Christmas present people can give us all is to get their COVID-19 vaccination and their booster vaccination. And for those who are eligible for the flu vaccination, to get that too.

"We’re also looking for people to join us! If you are interested in a career in health or social care we would love to hear from you. Visit proudtocaredevon.org.uk or our website: Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

"We thank you for your patience and understanding. The kindness that you show to our staff makes a real difference to them. This is going to be a long hard winter for all of us. Working together and supporting each other will help us all get through it as safely as possible.

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