Agenda item

Update from The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

To receive a verbal update from The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust with respect to post Covid-19 activities.


Consideration was given to a verbal update from The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust. The update provided information as to the activities of Rotherham Hospital during COVID to date as well as preparations for the future, especially the next few months.


It was emphasised that covid and non-covid pathways had had to be developed, and areas and staff had been divided into covid and non covid. These ways of working paired with PPE and social distancing measures had reduced efficiency. Whilst there were exceptions, most patients who presented with covid were treated using the covid hospital approach. Those needing inpatient care were sent to the infectious disease unit at Royal Hallamshire because expertise was concentrated there, and it helped the hospital contribute to national research by concentrating covid treatments there for study. It was noted that there were some exceptions. For example, as of the current date, there had been one patient at Rotherham hospital being treated for covid. In total, 652 patients with covid had been treated, 19 of these as inpatients, and 204 of these had died. Staff had been off with covid or in isolation because of contact, but these numbers had improved such that currently only 25 staff were currently off for covid-related reasons--either because they had covid or because they were in quarantine.


The main thrusts associated with the National Phase 3 Letter were in three areas: getting back to near normal activities, preparing for winter whilst staying able to switch back on covid response if needed, locking in learning that has come from innovative pathways that have been developed. 


Regionally, a plan was in development regarding what could be achieved by working differently. The draft plan targets were similar to those of other trusts across the area, as many similar problems had been faced by all. Preparations for winter respiratory viruses and vomiting viruses were underway. The Trust had struggled over recent years with emergency pathways and bed base, etc. These issues had begun to be addressed, which had been accelerated by covid. Staff were currently working on being able to organise the bed base to support frailty, short-stay patients, etc., in ways that are most effective. A goal of 100% staff compliance with flu vaccination, beginning in late September, was underway. As for locking in learning, digital methods of delivering care had been undertaken. Many of the innovations could have been implemented years ago, but people have found it natural to continue to provide care in traditional ways.  It was expected that in future a mix of face to face and virtual consultations would take place. It was also noted that South Yorkshire would be participating in an upcoming pilot programme for a treatment for type two diabetes.


Following the update, Members asked for more information about how the initiative about type two diabetes would work. The response noted that the initiate had been designed for rapid weight loss paired with life coaching and education. The programme had been tested extensively in research, and it had been shown to have a sustained beneficial effect over the long-term that would be worthwhile.


Members also requested assurances that there plans were in place to better include or accommodate people who cannot access everything virtually through virtual or digital means. The response provided assurances that, while the NHS had very strongly taken the technological route in recent months, which made sense to do during covid, it was understood that there were people for whom the technological approach presented a real challenge. What could be expected was that there would be a mix and a range of options to allow the NHS to provide care in the best way possible. It was likely that the digital modes would continue to be prevalent, certainly more than ever in the past, and while these methods would continue to be the right thing for a number of people, there was something to be said for the therapeutic benefit of a face to face relationship with a patient, in which education and communication can be easier in person. Many practitioners would be happy to be able to see their patients again in person.


At the conclusion of discussions, the Chair expressed gratitude to all the NHS staff for their hard work on behalf of patients.