Doncaster health chief says coronavirus battle is being won, but urges people to stay at home

The battle against coronavirus in Doncaster is being won, says the town’s health chief – but he has urged people to stay at home and not ease up on lockdown restrictions.
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Richard Parker, chief executive of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, says the area has had one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 in the region – but warned against complacency and stressed the public to continue following shutdown measures.

In an open letter to the people of Doncaster, Worksop and Retford, Mr Parker praised NHS staff, paid tribute to the two hospital staff who have lost their lives to coronavirus and said that the hospital has ‘ample stocks’ of PPE.

Here’s his statement in full.

Richard Parker has praised staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.Richard Parker has praised staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Richard Parker has praised staff at Doncaster Royal Infirmary for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
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“Since early March our team at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals has been working tirelessly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, fundamentally changing how we manage essential care and treatment and even how we access our sites.

“In the midst of these challenges, we have been supported by our local communities in Doncaster, Worksop and Retford, and, together, we have been successful in having one of the lowest rates of Covid-19 in the region.

“In our hospitals and intensive care units, the number of Covid-19 admissions is now fairly stable, with the curve much flatter than anticipated at the outset of this situation.

“While this is good news and will ensure our services are not overwhelmed, the slower pace may mean that it will take longer for us to see a sustained drop in the number of cases.

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“Since the onset of this outbreak, we have cared for almost 300 Covid-19 positive patients with 125 individuals now safely at home.

“While these examples of recovered patients give us great hope, sadly 79 people have lost their lives to Covid 19 including two highly valued members of our team, Kevin Smith and Dr Medhat Atalla, and we share our condolences with all of their respective families and friends.

“To keep patients and staff safe our procurement team has been working night and day to ensure we have ample stocks of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and we have been truly humbled by the numerous donations we have received from local companies, schools and individuals.

“We have also recently doubled our capacity to swab colleagues for Covid-19 and to-date have tested more than 750 for the virus, with around 150 returning a positive result and, thankfully, the majority are now safely back at work having fully recovered.

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“When we first started our national efforts against Covid-19, we collectively responded to each development and piece of Government guidance dutifully and with good grace.

“However, as time passes and the pace of the outbreak slows, the thought of staying in another day, or forgoing physical contact with family and loved ones, becomes even harder. This is when it becomes essential to double-down on our efforts and adhere to social distancing and related guidelines to protect ourselves, families, friends and our key workers.

“In the past few weeks, we have counted upon our keyworkers time and time again to stand up when it matters most.

“We ask them to courageously throw themselves into their work, even though, like everyone, they must feel the same stresses and anxieties – however, and despite this, they continue to stay positive, smiling, working diligently, carefully and compassionately for us all.

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“In his first statement back at Downing Street, the Prime Minister described how the country is beginning to pass through the peak of this crisis – but that means that we are also living through a moment of ‘maximum risk’.

“It is therefore essential that we do all we can to minimise this and continue to support national efforts to beat the illness.

“So please, do not let your collective efforts go to waste and do all you can to help. Continue to stay at home, keep adhering to the Government’s self-isolation and social distancing guidance and help us beat Covid-19. Our actions now are more important than ever.”