Mansfield health trust boss outlines plans for restoring services as hospitals open up to more patients

Richard Mitchell chief executive of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has thanked the trusts’ partners and community for their support during Covid-19, and outlined some of the plans for safely restoring services.

Wednesday, 10th June 2020, 11:21 am
Updated Thursday, 11th June 2020, 12:05 pm
King's Mill Hospital

In his open letter to Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS FT patients, community and partners, Mr Mitchell said:

“I want to say a huge thank you to the patients, the public and partner organisations who are helping Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This has been a difficult year for us all and the local community has been a huge part of our response to Covid-19. We are grateful for the humbling support you have given us through donations, kind messages,equipment and Clap for Carers on a Thursday at 8pm. You have made our jobs and personal lives easier, thank you.”

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Richard Mitchell

Changes had included restricting visitors to sites, postponing and cancelling appointments and delivering services in different ways such as outpatient appointment on the telephone or computer, to keep patients and colleagues safe.

He said: “I believe we have made the right decisions based on the evidence available but I do recognise these changes will have impacted on you and we are sorry for this.

“It is clear we will be living with Covid-19 in our hospitals and communities for a long time to come, whilst we also provide care for the many other patients who do not have Covid-19.

He said it was far more challenging to resume services than to pause them and plans take into account the understanding of the future demand for Covid-19, likely staffing levels, access to PPE and many other factors including winter pressures.

Additional cancer and urgent endoscopy services and additional radiology services have already been started at King’s Mill, Newark and Mansfield Community Hospitals. The trust was also working with other services to safely provide cancer care from other locations and planning to restart surgery at Newark Hospital in the next couple of weeks.

He said: “We will continue to listen to doctors, nurses, other clinical and non-clinical colleagues to reintroduce more services based on clear prioritisation when it is safe to do so. If you are waiting for an appointment or procedure at one of our hospitals you will hear from us directly.”

Patients would be expected to follow social distancing rules and for the majority of appointments asked to attend on their own. Professionals would be wearing PPE.

He said: “These steps are to protect you and the people providing your care but we know we will not get everything right first time and we want to hear what your experiences are to help us learn and improve.

“The emotional impact of Covid-19 will continue to be felt by our community and colleagues and anyone who has lost a family member or friend has our deepest condolences. We have a clear responsibility to look after the physical and mental wellbeing of our colleagues and we will continue to make that a key priority in the coming weeks and months. Thanking key workers, he added: “I fully recognise the response to Covid-19 is wider than the NHS”.