Thank you for protecting our NHS

January 6, 2021

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is thanking those who have acted responsibly to help protect our local NHS and urged residents to continue.

Following from the Prime Ministers’ announcement on Monday 4 January of another lockdown, councillors have called on residents to follow the rules and ‘keep up the good work’ and thanked council social care staff who have been working to get people discharged from hospital.

This work has been particularly important in Southend-on-Sea and across the county in light of the major incident declared by the Essex Resilience Forum on Wednesday 30 December due to the number of patients admitted to hospitals across Essex with COVID-19.

Over Christmas from 21 to 31 December 2020, 31 patients were able to go home from hospital with the right ongoing support in place. During those ten days, 1,300 vulnerable people who live in our community were given more than 16,000 hours of care in their own homes by more than 500 home care staff, who are funded by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. Southend Care also gave specialist care to eight people who were Covid positive and needed care home support when they left hospital.

The Council is working very closely with health colleagues to support patients out of hospital and back to their own home as soon as possible. However, the need to get patients home has to be balanced with protecting those they live with, against the spread of Covid, especially the patients who live in care homes where all of the residents are often clinically vulnerable. The Council is constantly reviewing plans and processes to give as much support as possible.

Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “We have a duty to help people follow restrictions and protect our health services, and I want to thank everyone who has played their part by following the guidance by staying at home and when out for essential activities, staying local. Everyone who is restricting their contacts with others, only spending time with people in their household or bubble, wearing masks and socially distancing are all helping the massive community effort needed to prevent the spread of this deadly disease.

“I’d like to thank council staff, our civil enforcement officers, Essex Police and Southend BID who worked together over the weekend to help keep people safe. We need to continue to act responsibly – I don’t think anyone expected to still be living with the restrictions of this pandemic almost ten months since the first lockdown was introduced, but we must continue to follow the restrictions and protect one another.

“I also want to thank our adult social services team and public health team, who have been working very hard and working very closely with our NHS colleagues to do all we can to speed up hospital discharges in a safe and compliant way. This is a complex process, as we must ensure designated premises are safe and secure places for people to stay following discharge from hospital, and is something that must meet the requirements of the independent review organisation, the Care Quality Commission.”

Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “We should be incredibly proud of how NHS services, public health and social care colleagues have pulled together and work closely during this major incident, while continuing to provide safe care to those who need it most.

“I also want to thank our hospital social work team and those based in the community who have been working around the clock to get patients discharged into appropriate care packages, and also working with those patients who are well enough to leave hospital but are awaiting a negative COVID-19 result before returning to their care home for example.

“This is vital work as we cannot discharge potentially infectious people into care homes, and that is why we have the 12 bed Priory House facility which we are using as a ‘step-down’ service to further reduce the pressure on our hospitals. It is pleasing to hear that from the end of last week, this work is having a positive impact.

“Please continue to follow the restrictions and do all you can to make sure you can protect yourself, your family and our NHS services. Remember to stay home wherever possible and to wash hands, use a face covering and keep space between you and others.”

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