This is a summary of the key ways in which the East London NHS Foundation Trust has responded to the unique and unprecedented demands of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21. It is far from exhaustive and the Trust continues to respond to events as they unfold.
Please remember that despite the pressures related to the pandemic, the NHS remains open to new referrals. Please do not hesitate to contact your local service with ANY health concerns you may have.
Managing the Trust’s Response to COVID-19
The Gold command leadership structure has been established to meet the challenge of the increase in cases of COVID-19 both within the community and admissions to acute services, and to meet the impact this has on all services Trust-wide.
Gold command operates seven days a week and co-ordinates both the Trust's response strategically and oversees the effectiveness of management arrangements. It liaises with our Integrated Care System partners, The Bedfordshire, Luton & Milton Keynes (BLMK) & The East London Health & Care Partnership (ELHCP). It co-ordinates responses to NHS England (NHSE) requirements and manages the Trust approach to recovery and renewal once we emerge from the current crisis. The leadership of Gold Command is shared between the Trust Chief Operating Officer, Chief Nurse and the Chief Medical Officer.
Looking After Our Staff & Service Users
The Trust has carried out staff risk assessments for all staff and these are regularly reviewed to ensure that risks can be mitigated. This is ongoing in light of recent national updates regarding the virulence of the virus. There have been extensive wellbeing initiatives to keep staff well.
All Trust premises have been carefully assessed to put in place necessary procedures to ensure that staff, patients and visitors are made as safe as possible at this time. A system of green and red wards is currently in operation. This is in order to limit the spread of the virus.
In December 2020, in partnership with North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), a ward for COVID positive patients opened in Goodmayes, Essex. Daisy Ward is designed to alleviate pressures on acute hospital services and offers nursing care, rehabilitation to aid recovery and plan for supported discharges home.
Westfield Vaccination Centre
Built by the Trust and opened in a matter of weeks across December and January, the centre forms part of the national vaccine response rollout programme. When fully operational, thousands of people every day will receive vaccines in 2021.
Community Health Services
The Trust’s Bedfordshire, Newham and Tower Hamlets Community Health Services have continued to work to avoid unplanned admissions and rapid discharge from hospital throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hospital at home (virtual ward) model has meant establishing rapid new ways of working both across teams within the Trust, as well as with our partner agencies.
The creation of Integrated Discharge Hubs has also involved co-production and co-operation between local authority and health partners in each locality. The hubs are designed to support patients with ongoing health and social care needs after returning home from hospital.
Some people who recover from Covid will have ongoing health issues as a result ('Long COVID'). East Ham Care Centre in Newham is establishing a Long COVID Assessment hub. This step-down support will allow the Centre to care for as many patients as possible at this time.
Therapeutic Services & Inpatient Wards
Where inpatient ward visits have not been possible because of national or local lockdown restrictions, services have worked to enable contact between service users, family and friends via online meetings instead.
Similarly, therapeutic services have moved over to remote therapy sessions online. One service has developed a clinical ‘pod’ system where the clinician linked to patients electronically via an internet connection in an adjoining room. Other services have made use of Silvercloud or Patient Knows Best technology. In many cases, waiting lists have reduced because of the reduction in the administrative time the switchover has enabled.