Keeping the positive

by Caroline Clarke

01 May 2020

In planning for next steps in the response to Covid-19, we must keep hold of new behaviours

Last week I started talking about how to restart services in a safe way now that COVID admissions are settling down, and we are starting to see other patients come back to our services.  In my organisation – The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust – we’ve started to get organised for the next phase and planning has begun in earnest for a new local NHS.

One of the things that I’ve enjoyed, and heard others say the same, is that we’ve collectively had a real sense of mission and purpose over the last month or so.  There’s been an almost visceral sense of what is the right thing to do, and that has united people and caused a whole host of positive behaviours.

As we get into planning for whatever happens next, we’ve got to try and hold on to that sense. We mustn’t get tangled up in a web of bureaucracy and red tape.  Of course that’s easier said than done. But, as a group of finance professionals, I think we must lead the way – in our organisations, in our systems, and with our regulators.  We all have to change.  It is non-negotiable.

It was great to catch up with fellow HFMA trustees yesterday in our virtual trustees’ meeting. Although different parts of the UK are at slightly different points in the epidemiological cycle, there was a real consistency in the way people were reflecting their experience, whether they were in Wales, Hull, Northern Ireland or London.

And it was great to hear from association chief executive Mark Knight and HFMA colleagues about the work they’ve been doing to keep the show on the road – providing education, policy and research and support for us in these strange times.  So big thanks to them and the trustees for all their work – it is much appreciated.

The final thing I wanted to say this week, is that it’s really clear to me that the social care sector needs our attention. This has to be a priority area for integrated care partnerships.  We are so reliant on care homes and domiciliary care and yet it’s such a fragile sector.

So one thing I’d encourage is to get to know your local area, your local homes and provision for homecare and ask the questions about what happens next – post pandemic, post Brexit, how can we help?

That’s it.  Stay safe.  Plan well.

HFMAtalk Podcast
Listen to Caroline Clarke and Sanjay Agrawal, respiratory consultant at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, discuss what they've learnt from their trusts' responses to Covid-19 in the latest HFMATalk podcast.