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Chief executive Sir James Mackey: Staff wellbeing was never just a pandemic issue

Thursday, 13 May, 2021
Chief executive Sir James Mackey: Staff wellbeing was never just a pandemic issue

As the vaccine rollout continues and the country moves forward on the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, it can feel that attention is shifting away from coronavirus and towards a brighter future.

In some ways, this is both understandable and correct. We too must ensure that we are looking to the future, planning ahead, continuing to strive for improvement, and working hard to support patients, many of whom will have seen inevitable disruption to their health and care services since March 2020.

But rest assured that we will not be distracted from the impact that the last year has had and will continue to have on our staff.

Their wellbeing has long been at the forefront of our vision, with their satisfaction, as evidenced by the annual NHS national surveys, being reflected in the excellent care provided to patients and the performance of the Trust as a whole. We would not have been rated outstanding twice without the engagement of our hard-working, dedicated and compassionate staff.

The initiatives we introduced and support we provided during the pandemic were always based on listening to our teams, responding to that and providing what they tell us they need.

And we want this to continue – communication has always been a crucial part of this and we are listening to what you tell us. The recent Northumbria Staff Experience pulse survey – Moving on from Covid – is just one way that we will take on board your views and ideas.

We also recognise that staff will need to reflect and process what they have been through, which may be simply having the time to talk it through with colleagues or within their team. It may be that more structured support is required and we have the right systems and people in place to ensure it is provided.

The new initiatives that were introduced because of the stresses and strains of coronavirus will not be going away where appropriate and we will always be looking at ways to enhance the comprehensive package we have in place to support our staff wellbeing.

Our people are at the heart of what we do and without keeping them well, happy and motivated, we cannot continue to provide high-quality, compassionate care for our patients.