Hospital chief's reflections on a year fighting the Covid-19 pandemic

CHIEF executive of Rotherham Hospital, Dr Richard Jenkins, has looked back at a year of fighting the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges the NHS in Rotherham has faced – and urged people to keep doing their bit to keep each other safe.

CHIEF executive of Rotherham Hospital, Dr Richard Jenkins (pictured), looks back at the last 12 months of fighting the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges the NHS in Rotherham has faced – and urges people to keep doing their bit to keep each other safe:

A year ago, we were venturing into unknown territory — a new, rapidly spreading virus that we knew very little about.

While we have all faced challenges over the past 12 months, we have also adapted and supported each other in new ways. The NHS is no different.

We have adapted the services provided at Rotherham Hospital and in the community so we can continue to provide all the care people need.

We’ve made changes for social distancing, screens, personal protective equipment, and we ask everyone to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth.

We’re also holding more clinics by phone or video call, where appropriate.

Our colleagues have worked extremely hard throughout the past 12 months, and continue to do so.

They have quickly altered their working practices to include additional PPE and other precautions, and some colleagues have volunteered to be redeployed to provide support to areas where it has been needed.

I am incredibly grateful for the dedication of all our colleagues, whether they have been on the wards, working in the community or from home.

The vaccination programme is a positive step.

Colleagues at the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust have vaccinated more than 10,000 health and care staff from across the borough with their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

This has been no mean feat and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved, helping to protect our staff so that they can continue providing our patients with the care they need.

I understand some people have reservations, but the  vaccination has been through the same rigorous tests as other vaccines, and I encourage you to receive the vaccine when you are invited.

We understand some people may be worried about Covid, but it’s important that you do not let it stop you from getting any treatment or medical care you need.

If you have an appointment, it is important that you attend as normal.

If you test positive for Covid-19 or are isolating and cannot make an appointment, make sure you contact us to rearrange.

If you develop any symptoms or conditions that concern you, please make sure you get some professional advice.

This may be through your pharmacist, GP or NHS 111.

For those who need emergency care, our team in the Urgent and Emergency Care Centre are here for you.

We may still be facing challenges in our everyday lives with continued lockdown and social restrictions, but it is important that we continue to follow these so that we can further reduce the number of infections.

Please continue to follow the guidance to keep yourself, your friends and families safe, and protect the NHS here in Rotherham.

I would also encourage you all to use this time to reflect on your own health and wellbeing, and do what you can to improve your future health as this can help to reduce the risk of requiring hospital treatment for illnesses such as Covid-19.

Help and support is available in Rotherham for those who wish to quit smoking, reduce their alcohol consumption, lose weight and become more active.