Operational update: COVID-19 response

As you will be aware the country has gone into a national lockdown from Wednesday 06 January due to rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 across the country.

Our region, in particularly mid and south Essex, Hertfordshire and West Essex, have been significantly affected by the rise in cases which has put pressure on our services along with the rest of Health and Social care. We have also provided mutual aid to London Ambulance Service, and I thank those of you have undertaken this.

As a Trust we have an Incident Management Group (IMG) which meets daily to review how the service is managing with increased pressure brought on by the pandemic on top of the usual winter pressures. From that meeting any issues we are currently facing are raised and mitigated against through the Trust’s well-established escalation plans and our COVID response.

The additional actions include modified planning of resources and increasing these where we can with a variety of skill levels. I appreciate this is difficult in practice but to balance patient safety and staff wellbeing it is something we have to undertake. These are constantly under review.

There will also be further clinical information coming out in relation to supporting decision making during COVID. This will be building on the HCPC and NMC guidance related the impact and influence of COVID and add in guidance on ceilings of care and higher acuity patients in the community. There will be more complex decision situations over the coming weeks.

In addition, we have been working with the regional team and STPs on further schemes to support pathways of care and advice over the coming days and weeks. This will support decision making and we are looking at this supporting a reduction of pressure at Hospitals. 

The new, more transmissible variant of COVID-19 has been widely reported and we want to reassure you we are getting regular national updates on PPE and COVID-19 secure workplace guidelines. At the moment, there is no change to the current guidance, but this is being constantly assessed and reviewed at a national level and we will inform you of any changes.

Your compliance with wearing the correct levels of PPE, social distancing and wearing masks is greatly appreciated, particularly as the more transmissible strain of COVID-19 has resulted in increased rates of staff sickness across the healthcare sector.

With regards to lateral flow testing, this is important to undertake but it is also important that, if you have symptoms regardless of the LFT result, you need to follow the processes for being PCR tested.

Unlike the start of the first national lockdown, the introduction of vaccines against COVID-19 is a positive step for 2021.

Thank you all again for your help in these testing times.

Marcus Bailey
Chief Operating Officer

Tuesday 12 January 2021