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Jersey's healthcare services well-prepared for winter pressures

28 September 2020

Jersey’s health services have been preparing for the usual winter demand pressures, with the added complication of COVID-19 this year.

Robert Sainsbury, Group Managing Director, Health and Community Services (HCS), wants to reassure Islanders that there is an adequate number of beds for the expected increase in seasonal demand and a possible surge in COVID-19 patients. He said:

“The pandemic has resulted in the number of beds we currently utilise to be lower than we would normally see at this time of year; this is due to services being reduced to comply with Public Health and Government guidelines or patient demand being less than we usually experience.

“We report these figures as a reduction in beds because they’re beds that are not being utilised. However, we want to make it clear to Islanders that those beds are still in the Hospital and are ready to be used should we need them this winter. We also have the additional bed capacity at the Nightingale Ward for Covid patients, so we are very well prepared for winter 2020 in terms of the number of beds available for patients.”

A large recruitment campaign for nurses is also underway and over the past two weeks HCS has appointed 18 registered nurses, with more on the way and nine newly qualified nurses due to start in December.

Robert Sainsbury added:

“It’s important that we recognise the pressures our workforce have experienced during this pandemic. It has been an incredibly difficult time for all our staff and we are bolstering our frontline workforce to deal with winter pressures and a possible surge in COVID-19 patients.

“We are facing additional complications with this recruitment campaign due to the pandemic, which includes current travel restrictions and general uncertainty. However, we have taken this into account and we are working hard to get the interviews completed, a number of them via video, and job offers out quickly ahead of the winter months.”

The pandemic has resulted in some services being postponed due to Covid-related restraints. This is being continuously monitored and will continue to require collaboration between HCS clinical teams, primary care, and other providers operating as part of Jersey’s health and care system.

“It’s important to note that dealing with winter demand pressures and COVID-19 is a collaborative effort and we are in unprecedented times. Despite this, we are providing a number of services, such as elective surgery, at pre-Covid levels. Our teams at the Hospital and in the community are working with GP surgeries, pharmacies and other care providers to ensure the whole health and care system is ready for winter and the possible increase in Covid-related pressures.

“We have all learnt a lot from our initial reaction to the pandemic in terms of patient safety, bed capacity, workforce, demand pressures, data that’s needed on a daily basis, and how we communicate to ensure everyone is kept up-to-date and informed of developments. We want to thank all of our staff and healthcare partners for their efforts in ensuring we are prepared for whatever this winter brings us.”

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