It is now a year since the UK went into its first lockdown, with citizens told to stay home to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed by the growing cases of Covid-19. 2020-21 was an exceptional year for health and social care staff across Humber, Coast and Vale.
Some of HCV Partnership’s senior leaders speak about their experiences of the past year and their views on the impact on the wider NHS, as well as what they look forward to in the coming months.
Stephen Eames, Independent Chair and Lead for HCV Partnership shared his thoughts on the impact of the pandemic: “We will be facing the biggest challenge in the 72-year history of the NHS as we restore services and continue to battle the pandemic and its consequences. The past year has shown me how brilliant our people are and what a tremendous job they have done for patients and communities across Humber Coast and Vale.
2020 has seen massive changes in how many staff work. I find myself on Teams all the time, with no time on the road and not enough time interacting with people.
I miss the human contact, but then on a positive note we have the opportunity to use what we have learned throughout the pandemic to make a difference to peoples’ lives.
Personally speaking, I look forward to working less from home and spending more time with family – and maybe getting more exercise! My main goal, post-Covid, is to spend time with my Mum who has been on her own for a year.”
Jayne Adamson is the People Lead for HCV Partnership. She told us: “We face the biggest challenges we have ever faced as a result of the pandemic, and this will continue to a greater or lesser extent in 2021.
The focus is now on balancing living with Covid alongside restoration of services and supporting our people to recover and grow.
I think what’s really struck me is how what we do is truly amazing, how much we can achieve when we pull together, and how much the NHS is about people.
There’s now an opportunity to build on what we have learnt and not lose those lessons and develop an Integrated Care System (ICS) that makes a difference to our communities.
As for my own experiences of the past year, I got a new car on 18th March 2020 and have done 900 miles in a year compared to 30,000 the year before! Home working has completely changed how I work. Back-to-back Teams meetings are draining and tiring.
I like to focus on what’s to come, and this will be time with family. I haven’t seen my Mum, who lives in a care home, for over a year. I miss other things too, such as music concerts and exercise. I look forward to travel and when we can finally explore more of the UK, and finally use our converted camper van!”
Nigel Wells is a GP and Clinical Lead for HCV Partnership. Nigel explained: “We have learnt that the NHS needs to move faster to detect early disease and illness in our communities. We need to work with all to understand why some in our society are unable to come forward and seek help and advice.
Our biggest issue in the short term will be restoration of services and helping those patients that are waiting for treatment.
The NHS has truly shown what its core purpose is and what it can do. It can mobilise to treat, screen and vaccinate the population across all varied geographies.
In terms of my personal impact of the pandemic, my clinical days are now mostly phone based and we have embraced more technology to enable better clinical working and easier access for our patients.
Like Jayne I would say back to back meetings are something I hope to do less in the future. I do believe they were productive and necessary in the early days of Covid, but sometimes you need time to think things through!
Looking forward we should focus on the opportunity to scrap the inefficiencies of the past and truly build an integrated health and care service.
Personally I intend to do more walking in the hills with the family and the dogs, and to see friends and family in Northumberland and Northern Ireland.
I am thankful that we have survived this year, but it’s also very important to remember those that have not been so fortunate.”
Amanda Bloor is the Accountable Officer for North Yorkshire CCG and Partnership Director for North Yorkshire and York in the ICS. Amanda shared her thoughts of the experiences of the last year: “As Nigel has said, the impact of Covid means the NHS must now focus on waiting lists and catching up. As the same time it should be innovative and build on learning by using less face to face appointments where appropriate, and increase the use of technology.
We have demonstrated that working together across NHS and partner agencies, such as local authorities, produces a better response than organisations working in silo.
The NHS needs to focus on addressing inequalities, supporting places and neighbourhoods to develop and thrive. The people in the NHS and partner organisations are amazing and resilient and we should be proud of them all.
For me, work looks very different now. Working from home used to be a rare luxury, and like Stephen and Jayne have said, all days are now spent on Teams calls.
For those in a similar position we need to ensure that there is thinking time factored into our days so we can really nail the balance and expectation. We need to develop new ways of working that don’t solely rely on video conferences.
Out of work I look forward to seeing people again, eating out, going to see live music and sport and travelling. I am excited for holidays sitting on a beach in Greece and being in the snowy Austrian mountains! I also can’t wait to participate in the Great North Run – my favourite and hometown race.”