During the course of the past week, I, along with other members of the Executive team, have been out and about across the Trust, in order to talk to many of you and express our thanks for working throughout the Christmas period. It was great to have the opportunity to hear how individual teams were getting into the festive spirit, but also to see the level of generosity yet again, from members of PHT staff and our community, who have gone to exceptional lengths to support patients in our care.
This year we received approximately two thousand gifts for our patients, the young and those who are slightly older, who were in hospital over Christmas. I have spoken of such kindness and generosity before and this is something which continues to amaze me. Like many of you, I have worked in the NHS for quite some time, but I haven’t seen this level of generosity before. For those of you who led or supported the initiatives which generated the kind donations, thank you, I am incredibly grateful. I was pleased The News featured this as a story on Thursday and Friday, as this allowed us another opportunity to say a very big thank you to everyone.
Earlier in the week we opened our Frailty Assessment Unit (FAU) which is in a temporary home for the time being as we refine the new model of care we are putting in place. The creation of this facility will allow us to provide a better environment for suitable frail elderly patients, following a short visit to our Emergency Department (ED), to receive support from the full multidisciplinary team to enable their discharge and prevent an unnecessary admission to hospital. Having visited the unit quite regularly since it opened, it has been great to see how quickly the team is getting established and already starting to have an impact.
On Thursday of this week Stephen Morgan MP, visited us to hear how we had been coping with the early start of the Winter season and to talk to members of the team in our ED, FAU and he also met with Rachel Shergold, Senior Sister in AEC. He left impressed by those he met and passion they showed to deliver further improvements for patients in our care and was very interested to hear more about our plans to progress our new urgent care facilities in the future.
Yesterday we ended an eight day period where we had enjoyed the lowest level of escalation at OPEL 1. This has been the lowest level of escalation our Trust has experienced for many years and we should take time to reflect on the incredible efforts by many of you, and the support we have received from our partners in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire, to enable us to achieve this. Over the past twenty-four hours, we have seen a surge in the number of patients requiring access to our emergency services and as such, further actions featured in our winter plan have been enacted. We know we are only part way through the winter period and have a number of weeks still to go, so it is entirely normal to see such surges, as the usual seasonal illnesses increase. We should also feel more confident in the plans we have in place to help us deal with the challenges as they arise.
As 2018 draws to a close, this is a good opportunity for some reflection. A lot has happened at PHT over the past year and yes, we have encountered a number of challenges on our way, but I do believe we can now point to real signs of improvement in so many areas across our Trust. Of course there is more to do, and there always will be, but often we spend our time looking for ‘the next thing’ which needs to be improved, rather than reflecting on the achievements and successes won by so many. None of the improvements could have been achieved without you and the unrelenting commitment you demonstrate to our patients every day.
Thank you for all you have done in 2018. I wish you all a healthy and happy 2019.