Dear local resident,

On Sunday, 5 July, the NHS will mark its 72nd anniversary.

In previous years, this occasion has been a cause for celebration, an opportunity to reflect on the enormous strides taken in treatment, medicines, outcomes, access and patient experience.

This year will, of course, be different. We are in the midst of managing the most challenging situation our health system has ever faced, and are now working and living in a different world. Here at Yeovil Hospital, there is not a person or service that has not been affected by the pandemic or has not had to adapt to ensure the safety of patients and colleagues.

I am so proud of our staff for what they have done and continue to do; they have shown incredible resilience and selflessness and, throughout the last four months, have embodied everything that is good about the NHS.

In doing so, they have received overwhelming support from the public, manifested through Thursday night clapping, donations, rainbow artwork in windows, flags flying from rooves, social media posts, and letters from children and adults alike. Your support has galvanised us, and enabled us to maintain the focus and stamina required to deal with the pandemic.

So today, I want to turn the tables and say ‘thank you’ to you.

Thank you for respecting lock-down and social distancing rules to help manage the spread of the virus and prevent more local people becoming patients.

Thank you for abiding by our visiting restrictions which have prevented many people from seeing their loved-one during a stay in hospital.

Thank you for your understanding when we have had to postpone appointments, or change the way we provide your care.

Thank you to the individuals and businesses who have supplied us with all manner of services, products, food and drink, to keep spirits up during the toughest moments.

Thank you for letting our staff go to the front of queues for supermarkets so they can get to work on time.

Thank you to our NHS colleagues outside the hospital, and staff in social care, the emergency services, and the whole range of voluntary sector organisations who have maintained access to essential services and support, and who have kept the most vulnerable in our communities safe.

And thank you to every other key worker out there who has kept the lights on, the shelves stocked, and the transport running.

I would also like to remember those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and the families and friends they have left behind.  As the lock-down rules are relaxed further, I would urge you to reflect on the loss these people have experienced and please do everything you can to avoid the potential spread of this virus: wear a face-covering whenever asked to do so; respect social distancing rules; regularly wash your hands; and consider how every journey, visit, and action can affect the risk of the virus being caught or passed to others.   

With my very best wishes to you and your family.

Stay safe.

Jonathan Higman

Chief Executive, Yeovil Hospital

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