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Our Chief Nurse's blog for CCG and primary care nurses in Sheffield - August 2020

Our Chief Nurse's blog for CCG and primary care nurses in Sheffield - August 2020
12 August 2020

Hello everyone and welcome to my latest blog post to nurses and healthcare assistants working in primary care and for the CCG.

We’ve all been living through very challenging and extraordinary times and although the pandemic is by no means over we do seem to be over the first wave and are starting to get used to the new normal way of working. I have been reflecting on the past 6 months or so and I am so proud of how well all of you have adapted and coped during this outbreak. You have all had to work differently, have taken this in your stride and done the best for the people in Sheffield. Well done and thank you!

The CCG set up command cells at the start of the pandemic, where operational and clinical staff came together to co-ordinate and manage the outbreak and make decisions quickly where needed. Some of our nurses played a pivotal role in these command structures including providing infection prevention and control guidance, and support to practices and care homes. The command cells have now been ‘put to sleep’ which means they are on hold as infection rates continue to go down but are ready for them to be started up again if and when needed.

Another service our nurses are supporting includes the swabbing and antibody testing service which was set up initially to test health and social care staff for the virus and they are now also providing antibody tests too. The testing service is still up and running and is doing an excellent job in ensuring staff members and their households are tested quickly to help contain the virus. Thank you to all the nurses and health care assistants who are part of this service for your consistent efforts, you’re doing a great job. Sometimes as nurses, we put the needs of others before ourselves and forget about our own health. Remember, if you or someone in your household has symptoms of covid-19, self-isolate and get tested. Register for one here.

Our safeguarding team at the CCG has provided amazing support to practices during the outbreak. They recognised that the pandemic initially placed a great strain on primary care and wanted to support practices in their safeguarding responsibilities. The safeguarding team took on key safeguarding functions for practices that GPs would normally do so that their time could be freed up to deal with the pandemic. This additional support is being gradually withdrawn as things start to get back to a new normal but I know that practices are extremely grateful for the additional safeguarding support during this very busy time. I am very proud of our safeguarding team for taking on this extra workload. Fantastic.

Our CHC nurses have had to adapt and take on new roles during the pandemic too. As a result of covid-19, the CHC service was suspended in line with national guidance but the team continued to have daily and weekly discussion with providers, to ensure that patients who are high risk remain safe and that individual care packages and service provision were maintained. CHC staff also supported the discharge hub in Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to avoid delays in being discharged as well as supporting the prevention of admissions to hospital where not required in the community. Other members of the CHC team undertook infection prevention and control training from NHS England so they could provide extra support to care homes and will continue to support them on an ad-hoc basis. The team have really worked hard and adapted very quickly to different roles, you should all be proud of yourselves as you make a significant contribution in keeping people cared for and safe.

Nurses and healthcare assistants working in primary care are working hard to ensure patients with long term conditions are being seen and having their regular health checks and reviews. They have worked hard throughout the crisis ensuring patients with pre-existing conditions continue to get the support they need which in the long term will have a positive impact on the patient’s health and the NHS. Telephone and video consultations have become the norm for our practice nurses but they have continued to provide face to face appointment to those who need it and they have restarted more routine procedures recently including cervical screening. I know it’s hard to think of winter when it is sunny and warm outside but we are fast approaching the flu season and our practices are preparing for an influx of patients attending for their annual flu vaccination. Keep up the fantastic work, you have all worked so hard and I know that you can face any challenges that are thrown at you. A big thumbs up to you all!

It is of course the school summer holidays and although it is a weird one this year I do hope you are all managing to take a bit of time with family and loved ones. You may have had to cancel or change your original summer holiday plans but it’s really important that you still have some down time away from work, even if this is just sitting in the garden or seeing some of the local sites!

I can’t thank you enough, you always amaze me with your compassion, responsiveness and resilience. Stay safe and I’ll be in touch with my next blog soon.

Alun

NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

Headquarters
722 Prince of Wales Road
Sheffield
S9 4EU

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