The Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has published a heartfelt thank you to the hundreds of local people and groups who have supported local NHS teams through the Covid crisis.
Steve McManus has written a public letter to the local community on behalf of the Trust’s 5,500 employees. In it he talks of the massive support local people have shown to health and care teams at a time when they too are struggling with worries over health, jobs, education, finances and futures. Since the pandemic started earlier this year the Trust has been inundated with support from the Berkshire-wide community, including:
- Financial support to fund a much needed long-term wellbeing centre for health carers.
- Daily donations of hot meals, snacks, face masks and toiletries.
- Gifts of iPads to link up patients with family unable to visit them in hospital.
- Volunteers delivering medicines and equipment between the Trust’s sites as well as acting as ‘pharmacy runners’ at the hospital and cleaning wheelchairs and other equipment.
- People volunteering to run a staff supermarket and pop-up wellbeing staff area.
- Volunteers stitching and sewing and creating PPE, scrubs and laundry bags.
To see such outpourings of kindness and generosity has really taken us all aback.
Everyone has been affected in one way or another by this awful pandemic, either becoming ill themselves, caring for poorly loved ones, or furloughed and worried about work and their finances, and for them to want to do something to help us has been both humbling and uplifting.
I’ve always know just how fantastic my colleagues at the Trust are, but they’ve really come into their own over the last couple of months. We’ve had teams redeployed to other hospitals to care for their patients while staff who’ve stayed on site at the RBH have retrained and moved into new roles to support colleagues.
And supporting them all has been the backbone of our brilliant teams behind the scenes – the porters, catering staff, housekeepers and maintenance crews.
It’s been a magnificent coming-together of colleagues to care for some very poorly members of our community and to know that what we’re doing is so appreciated by the community we serve has been such a boost to us all.
The weekly clap for carers may now be over but it’s clear that the real affection and gratitude people have for the NHS is continuing and we want to build on the relationships we’ve developed during this crisis so we can work together to provide a healthcare service that we continue to be proud of.
Steve McManus’s letter in full
I’m writing this in the name of the 5,500 people who work with me at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust – and if they could add their names to the end of the letter I know they all would, because each and every one of us has been so grateful for the outpouring of support shown during the coronavirus outbreak.
The generosity of local people, young and old, community groups, religious organisations, pubs and restaurants, volunteers, businesses, schools and the University of Reading, charitable trusts and our other partners across Berkshire has been truly amazing. It’s touched on the lives of everyone who works for the Trust as well as our patients and their families.
What’s been so humbling is that the support hasn’t just been a ‘one off’ – people’s donations, offers of help, voluntary work and the rest has just kept on coming at a time when all these people are themselves worried about the virus and how it could affect them and their loved ones.
It’s hard to single out some of the highlights since every one of them, big and small, has been such a genuine act of kindness from big hearted people who want to show their respect and appreciation to our fantastic staff.
I’m talking here about the volunteers running the wellbeing centre at the hospital, often at weekends and late into the evening so our teams can enjoy a well earned break, the people delivering medicines and equipment to our other healthcare sites around the county, those collecting and cleaning wheelchairs, people sewing face coverings and scrub bags, companies donating visors and ear protectors, other donating iPads so isolated patients have some contact with their families, teams delivering donated goody bags for the wards, people fundraising from home, and all the many, many welcome donations of flowers, hot food, toiletries, easter eggs, drinks,cakes – the list is endless.
Then there’s the schools, University of Reading and businesses who have worked with our clinicians and financially supported the development of masks, and Reading School which generously allowed us to set up pop up staff accommodation and a supermarket to ease the burden on our teams.
Each and every one of these acts of kindness, along with the weekly clap for carers and the rainbow pictures we all see as we make our way into work, have been a big boost to our staff.
This pandemic has put enormous pressure on everyone (not just the NHS). People are worried about their livelihoods, children’s education and vulnerable relatives and friends and this is what makes their show of support all the more remarkable and appreciated.
I would also like to pay a public tribute here to my amazing Trust teams. Your readers won’t have witnessed the unbelievable amount of work that’s gone on behind the scenes as staff strive to keep our patients and communities safe. I’ve seen it day after day and I’m in awe at what they’ve achieved. Thank you.
Steve McManus, Chief Executive, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust