Rebuild Plan launched
The initial phases of COVID-19 dramatically changed the service delivery offering of the Southern Trust. Some services had to be stood down for various reasons including clinical, patient and staff safety as well as physical and workforce capacity constraints. Some new services also had to be introduced to meet the predicted demands of the pandemic and other services changed considerably to meet new ways of working necessary to sustain services during the pandemic.
As lockdown measures in the community are eased, the Department of Health requires Trusts to complete risk assessments as part of incremental plans to resume service delivery in areas affected by the pandemic response. This virus has demonstrated that it is very transmissible, much of the spread occurs before symptoms are recognised and a small but significant number of patients develop a severe and fatal illness.
For the Southern Trust, this means assessing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for our patients and staff as well as the risk associated with the direct impact that managing COVID-19 has on reducing the capacity and access to other services for our community. The likelihood that a vaccine can be deployed effectively and at scale is anticipated to be approximately 12 months away.
Now is the time to consider and plan to implement the rebuilding of our services over the next 1 month, 3 month and 12 month horizon.
In line with the Phase 1 Plan, in this second phase, we will continue to build on new ways of working and innovations to provide safe and effective care during July through September 2020. Recognising that there has been a vast amount of innovations successfully implemented including widespread use of telephone triage, virtual clinics and video calls, building on this will involve working closely with our primary care and community partners and our clinical leaders, using flexible and remote working where appropriate and rapid scaling of technology.
We are engaging with our frontline staff to reflect on the many ‘lessons learned’ and further work on this will be crucial to inform our plans going forward. This learning and sharing of best practice will inform our longer-term operational, strategic and financial planning as well as the wider regional priorities. We will also continue to engage with key partners to ensure that plans are representative of and include the valuable input of those who use our services.
This plan does not cover all Trust services, many services continued to be sustained during the Covid-19 surge, it is only those where there is a planned change to increase capacity and/ or access during July to Sept 20 that are included. The plan also does not explicitly set out the vast changes in ‘how’ staff have been working, including those on the ‘front line’ but also fundamentally those staff in professional, functional and operational support roles who have been working collaboratively to support the Trust’s initial response and now in this rebuild phase. The significant contribution these individuals and teams make to our rebuild, while not all specifically outlined in this plan, are all equally recognised and valued.
This plan covers the month of June 2020, with Phase 2 covering July to September and Phase 3 from October onwards.
Phases 2 and 3 will be published over the coming months but Phase 1 shows how, in working along with our partners across Northern Ireland, we will begin the journey and how in doing so, we will be seeking to:
- Ensure Equity of Access for the treatment of patients across Northern Ireland
- Minimise transmission of COVID-19
- Protect access to the most urgent services for our population
We would ask for your patience as services gradually start up again.
09.06.20 Department of Health Press Release