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Chief executive Steve Dunn with the latest from West Suffolk Hospital

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Even though the weather isn’t the warm sunshine we hope for at this time of year, we have finally made it to spring; a season known for new beginnings and hope, but also a time for reflection.

Seeing the green shoots appear in our gardens, combined with our evenings getting longer and lighter, means we can enjoy a welcome boost after a difficult year which has changed all of our lives so drastically.

With lockdown rules beginning to lift, we are now able to see friends and family members again; we’re also able to gather in parks and in beer gardens to catch up with loved ones we haven’t seen in the flesh for months – something a lot of us had probably taken for granted long before we had even heard of Covid-19.

Steve Dunn
Steve Dunn

However, adapting to this ‘new normal’ might be difficult for some of us, so it’s more important than ever to remember to be kind to one and other. While the vaccination of residents up and down the country has been very successful so far, we need to remember that Covid-19 is far from gone, so maintaining social distancing when out and about and respecting each other’s space is more important than ever.

We also need to remember that despite the positive changes happening within the UK, other countries across the globe are experiencing very different things.

We are so lucky and proud that West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has staff from all across the world, but it also means many of our team will be away from loved ones who may still be suffering from the ramifications of Covid-19.

For example, we know that Covid-19 is having a devastating effect in India at the moment and our love goes out to any member of staff or resident of west Suffolk who has loved ones so far away. Within our trust, we have ensured that all staff know there’s wellbeing support available and people to talk to at any point should they need it.

Last month we completed Covid-19 vaccinations for our trust staff as well as for health and social care colleagues who we work closely with every day. The vaccination team was made up of staff and volunteers who all showed passion and determination in every role they undertook. They vaccinated over 16,000 people and I couldn’t be prouder of the dedication and skill of the individuals involved and this praise was echoed by health minister Jo Churchill MP who came to lend a hand in March.

We recently announced that there would be changes happening within our leadership team with our medical director, Dr Nick Jenkins, and our chief operating officer, Helen Beck both soon to be leaving us. I am very lucky to know both Nick and Helen well and I’ve seen the brilliant work they have done for the trust since they started here. Helen will be off to enjoy retirement later in the year and while Nick will be leaving his role as medical director, we will still be able to count on his expertise as a consultant in our emergency department on a part-time basis. Thank you both for the service you have given to your local community.

Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone reading this. The reason we can start to enjoy activities we have missed over the last few months is because you followed guidance. You kept socially distanced and sacrificed seeing those you love. We can’t become complacent, but I hope we can begin to enjoy those moments we have all missed. I hope you all have a wonderful spring.

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