Morecambe Bay partners thank everyone for their tireless efforts during Covid-19

Partners from across Morecambe Bay have filmed a short video message to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and thank colleagues, volunteers and partners for going above and beyond to support patients and the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Thursday, 24th December 2020, 7:00 am

The film touches on the tireless effort from everyone working across our local hospitals, GPs, partnerships, care workers in residential homes and in the community, as well as remembering those who have sadly lost their lives to the virus.

Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), said: "I hope none of us ever experience another year like this, but whatever we've asked of our health and care colleagues, they've delivered. And I will be thinking of them all and meeting some of them on Christmas day, along with patients in our hospitals.

“Christmas is a special time of year and particularly for me and my family, but this year we will be celebrating in our communities without many of our loved ones who have tragically died this year.

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Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

"As you tuck into your Christmas dinner this year, I ask you to spare a moment to think about those on the front line doing what they do best; caring for our friends and family at what can be a difficult and lonely time of the year."

Geoff Jolliffe, Clinical Chair, Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (MBCCG), said: “I want to wish our GP colleagues and our partners a Merry Christmas. You have been through a really tough year coping with patients who have been ill with the Covid-19 virus, ordinary illnesses, the Influenza vaccination and now the Covid-19 vaccination. Well done you’ve all been incredible.

“Over the coming months, we are still going to have to keep working hard on behalf of the public to keep them safe, delivering services and the Covid-19 vaccination.

“We do have brighter times ahead but please continue to follow the government guidance on washing your hands, keeping a safe distance and wearing a mask.”

Emma Paul, Development Lead, speaking on behalf of Morecambe Bay’s Integrated Care Communities (ICCs), said: “Thank you very much to all of our community staff for their hard work during the pandemic. Our district nurses and our care workers have been amazing working over and above.

“Thank you to our local communities, our voluntary organisations, faith, education, charities and all of our partners who have come together to support our local residents during the pandemic, it has been amazing to see the community spirit.

“Our volunteers really wrapped themselves around the community and stepped up to support their neighbours - we can’t thank them enough for their phenomenal support during the pandemic.”

Prof Mike Thomas, Chair at UHMBT, said: "We can never express our thanks enough or in too great a way for what our clinical and professional support staff have achieved this year not just in our hospitals but right across the Morecambe Bay health and care system.

"On Christmas day not only will our NHS heroes be caring for those recovering from Covid-19 they will also be doing many other tasks from helping newborn babies take their first breath in this world through to catering professionals cooking their colleague's and patients’ lunch and in our hospitals, there is an army of professional maintenance engineers ensuring that mechanically, everything works in the way it should. Once again, I thank you all, and wish you and your families a safe, healthy and Merry Christmas."

In early March when a highly infectious virus started to emerge, the NHS was faced with a challenge that it had not faced before as COVID-19 was a strain of coronavirus that the world had very little knowledge or experience of.

Our Bay Health and Care Partners, voluntary and third sector organisations rose to the challenge to support our communities across Morecambe Bay. Here is just a snapshot of the fantastic support they have offered Morecambe Bay over the past few months:

* our organisations have implemented government guidelines including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) equipment and used innovative technology such as HoloLens 2 and Attend Anywhere to ensure the safety of our staff and patients

* Westmorland General Hospital was identified as a Covid-secure site and as a site for elective surgery

* our hospitals increased their Intensive Care Unit capacity including creating capacity for 440 extra beds

* GP surgeries have applied video and telephone consultations and used the Advice and Guidance service to seek advice from hospital consultants for more complex cases · new wards were created at Royal Lancaster Infirmary and two community recovery centres were created in Barrow and Kendal with the support of partners

* an army of volunteers support the oncology unit at UHMBT by collecting oral medications and delivering these to patients shielding at home · Morecambe Bay’s ICCs, along with 30 organisations have driven the #Ok2Ask campaign encouraging the most vulnerable individuals and families to come forward and ask for help

* Between March 28 and May 21, Ambulance Service Community First Responders offered support on 1,500 separate occasions, including driving and supporting paramedics to carry out swab testing

* Cumbria CVS has worked with Support Cumbria to provide community support for residents and organisations during the pandemic

* our Population Health team working with health and care partners has shared six tips to stay healthy this winter and worked with some of the most vulnerable groups to show them how they can protect themselves against coronavirus and flu

* Cumbia County Council and other agencies launched the ‘Help is Here’ campaign to help Cumbria’s residents who are struggling to find support such as debt and housing advice and mental wellbeing

* a post-Covid rehabilitation pathway has helped patients who have had moderate to severe respiratory complications. The pathway was supported by UHMBT, frailty leads and Occupational Therapy staff from the ICCs, Cumbria County Council, Lancashire County Council, MBCCG, Primary Care Networks (PCNs), local GPs, Morecambe Bay Respiratory Network, Age UK, The Cumbria Neurological Alliance and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust

* a resilience hub was launched by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust to support all public sector workers and volunteers who have worked through the pandemic and their families

* Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Police drove a campaign to support victims of domestic abuse during lockdown

* Cumbria Community Foundation launched the Cumbria Covid-19 Response Fund with a target of £3m to support community and voluntary organisations.