The past week has continued to be extremely busy for the hospital and this is a picture which is mirrored across the country, especially as the temperatures have dropped in recent days and snow has appeared in the past 24hrs. Our Emergency Department has seen almost 1,000 more patients during January compared with last year and this additional level of pressure is felt across all areas of the hospital. The number of confirmed flu cases has also increased this week and experience tells us that this is a trend which is likely to continue, for the next few weeks. Whilst our flu vaccination rate, at just over 70 per cent, is slightly above where we were this time last year, I would strongly encourage anyone who has yet to be vaccinated to take the opportunity to do so as soon as possible by either contacting occupational health or speaking with your ward vaccinators.
The ongoing demand on our teams is something the Executive team are very mindful of. Whilst the situation has improved compared to last year, I know from speaking with many of you that the continuing pressure at this point of winter, is tiring. When we’re extremely busy it can often be easy to forget to look after ourselves, but please do take time to ensure you are hydrated, take time to eat, and get some downtime. I say this being fully mindful of some of the staffing challenges we have faced, due to seasonal sickness. We are all hugely grateful for your continued hard work over the past few weeks and I am keen to do what we can to ensure this is recognised.
Last night there was snow across the local area and we have implemented our cold weather plans to ensure that we can run the site with minimal disruption. We had a very positive response to my request last week for drivers of 4x4 vehicles to help transport staff in the event of significant travel disruption. Thank you to all those who came forward and remain on standby while the risk of further snow continues over the weekend.
Today I spent time with our teams in Gosport War Memorial Hospital and Fareham Community hospital. It was great to have the opportunity to talk to about the services we provide on both sites, directly with the teams who deliver them to the local communities in Gosport and Fareham. Thank you to all involved, for your warm hospitality. It is important that all staff working at any of our peripheral sites feel part of PHT and if we are not getting this right at any point, please do let me know what we can do to improve things.
For those who follow us on Twitter you may have seen us extending a welcome to new members of our nursing and midwifery workforce. During January we have welcomed 24 new recruits, with a further 72 due to join us in February and March. A number of nurses have joined us from overseas and I am sure you will join me in doing what you can to ensure all new members of the PHT family, receive a very warm welcome.
Thank you for the incredible work you and your teams do every day, to support us in providing the best possible care to our patients.