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West Suffolk Hospital boss Steve Dunn says a return to some form of normality is getting closer every day



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As we edge closure to spring, it’s quite surprising how life is in March 2021 compared to this time last year. For many of us, we could never have imagined how life would have changed in the UK over the last 12 months but for the first time in a long while, there looks like there might be light at the end of the tunnel.

I want to say thank you to residents of west Suffolk who have attended their vaccination appointments at various places across the region. In fact, more than 383,000 people in Suffolk and North Essex have been vaccinated so far, which is an amazing feat.

The work undertaken by our colleagues in primary care has been exceptional and within our own trust, we are looking to give second dose vaccinations to our own staff and health and social care partners this month.

Steve Dunn (43639618)
Steve Dunn (43639618)

I’m sure the pandemic has been extremely difficult for every person reading this. The impact it has had on NHS staff has been huge and I will never be able to put into words how proud I am of the staff at our hospitals and in the community; they have continued to provide love, care and support to patients throughout this extremely difficult time.

Working in a pandemic, while having to deal with the stresses of not being able to see family and friends, changes to childcare or even getting to the gym has been very tough on many of our staff.

A key priority for the trust is ensuring we emerge from the challenges of Covid-19 still looking after the wellbeing of our team. Our specially trained staff support psychology team is available to all our colleagues and provides rapid support, coping strategies and individual and group sessions to help staff through this difficult time.

Staff at West Suffolk Hospital will soon get a second dose of vaccine
Staff at West Suffolk Hospital will soon get a second dose of vaccine

As I mentioned previously, due to the lowering of Covid-19 cases, we are now beginning to look at restarting some services at the trust which had to be paused at the height of the pandemic while we prioritised the most urgent procedures and operations. We have now increased capacity in our diagnostic services and operating theatres and will continue to review the next steps to ensure we see patients as quickly as we can. Please be patient with us as the pandemic has resulted in significant waiting lists across the NHS but our highly trained and dedicated team are working very hard to catch up.

Finally, as the nights get lighter and we see the beautiful countryside around Suffolk start showing signs of spring, it gives us hope that brighter times are ahead. The sacrifices made by every single person in our region to follow government guidelines over the last year, and especially since Christmas, are beginning to bear fruit.

We hope that in the coming months we will see the easing of restrictions so we can reconnect with loved ones and friends who we all have missed for so long.

Covid-19 remains a constant threat and our lives have certainly changed because of it, but there is hope out there and it’s getting closer every day.

-- Steve Dunn is chief executive at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

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