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West Suffolk Hospital boss Steve Dunn has a reminder for readers

The recent news about the successful trials of Covid-19 vaccines has, understandably, caused a lot of excitement across the globe.

On the back of what has been a very stressful and challenging year for everyone, it’s really positive to receive news that a number of vaccinations are being developed.

The next challenge will be distributing and delivering it, and we have already begun working with our partners across the health system to plan a vaccination programme for when it’s available.

Steve Dunn
Steve Dunn

However, it must be stressed that while this is very promising news, we are still a very long way from saying a farewell to Covid-19 and the changes it continues to bring to all of our lives. Our dedicated staff at the hospital and in the community will continue to care for patients with Covid-19 which makes looking ourselves, and each other, more important than ever.

We’re now creeping towards winter and even before the Covid-19 pandemic, this has always brought its own challenges to the NHS such as the flu. If you or your family members are eligible for a flu vaccination then I strongly recommend you contact your local GP to arrange one. By receiving one means you have less chances of becoming ill with flu this winter which can really put stress on our system. Combining this with following the already-established government guidelines of ‘hands, face and space’ and washing your hands properly go a long way in genuinely saving lives this winter.

On a brighter note, last month we received some good news at the trust when it was announced that the stroke care at West Suffolk Hospital has been ranked among the best in the country for the ninth time in a row. Clinicians in our team received an A grade assessment by researchers at King’s College London and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

The assessment included how fast patients were seen, scanning, delivery of thrombolysis (treatment to dissolve blood clots) and support to help patients with recovery.

Despite the significant challenges faced by the NHS this year, it’s very positive that we have maintained such a high level of care throughout the pandemic for people who have suffered with strokes. This rating reflects the sustained effort and team work of colleagues right across the hospital to do the best for our patients, whatever the circumstances.

We are always trying our best to maintain the ‘business as usual’ work our trust does in the hospital and across the community despite Covid-19 which means it’s more important than ever for patients to attend appointments when they have them.

Sadly, there are far too many instances where patients are not attending booked appointments, which means the crucial time of our staff is wasted as well as other people on waiting lists having to wait that much longer. We understand that some may be a tad nervous about attending appointments in these unprecedented times but I can assure you that everything has been put in place to ensure the safety of patients and staff is paramount when visiting the hospital or working with our community teams.

I would like to finish by reminding everyone in west Suffolk that your West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is here for you, to provide the best care and support possible. By continuing to remain socially distant and looking after one and other, you can help the brilliant staff in our trust do what they do best this winter – caring for you.

-- Dr Steve Dunn is chief executive of West Suffolk Hospitals Trust

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