Derbyshire’s public services are coming together to restore services adjusted or stopped since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The county’s public sector system-wide approach is being co-ordinated by the Derbyshire Local Resilience Forum, led by Derbyshire Constabulary and including all NHS organisations, local authorities, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and military bodies.
A specific health and care recovery plan is being drawn up following recent national guidance outlining which NHS services must be prioritised and re-established within coming weeks.
Joined Up Care Derbyshire, the county’s sustainability and transformation partnership for health and care organisations, has worked through initial “restoration” plans for those services identified as being required again most urgently now that the initial threat of the pandemic swamping the NHS has started to pass.
Dr Chris Clayton, Chief Executive Officer of NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We want to reintroduce services in the most effective, calm, carefully planned and phased way, so the most urgent care is prioritised.
“We will then continue to bring back other services over the course of following months while maintaining a watchful eye on how the Covid-19 pandemic progresses through the gradual reduction in lockdown measures announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday.
“We’re all working together to coordinate public services so all potential impacts can be factored in so residents stay healthy, well and safe.
“All heath and care decisions will be subject to ongoing reduction in new Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions and deaths, and latest Government guidance. In line with this guidance, the NHS must remain alert and be prepared to quickly re-prioritise should the pandemic demand it.”
Dr Duncan Gooch, Derbyshire General Practice Alliance Chair, said: “We want to maintain any positive changes there have been – such as increased use of digital technology to support face to face consultations with GPs and consultants – as these have really benefitted patients and services alike.
“But any ongoing changes would be subject to public engagement in the usual way, and we’d stress face-to-face appointments in GP surgeries would still available for those needing them. General practice is still open for business, so please contact your surgery by telephone if you need to speak to one of the clinical team.”
Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive of University HDB said: “Clearly, our world has changed over the past few weeks and what our staff have achieved in that time has been nothing short of incredible.
“We’ve tried hard to avoid prioritising Covid-19 at the expense of treating other urgent conditions, such as cancer.
“While we’ve maintained as much of our non-Covid-19 service as it’s been safe to do so, it’s now the time to slowly and steadily increase our range of services for those with urgent clinical needs and then over time for our routine work too.
“We can only do this if our communities continue to follow government advice.
“Thanks to the support of the public sticking to the lockdown guidance the curve has been flattened and we have coped well, but it’s too soon to lower our guard.
“As we plan our next phase of response and slowly begin to reinstate more of our services we need to be ready for any increase in cases.
“We’re also changing how we use our hospitals to keep a separation for those who need our care for non-covid-19 conditions so that they are protected from cross-infection.”
Dr Robyn Dewis, Director of Public Health at Derby City Council, and Dean Wallace, Director of Public Health at Derbyshire County Council said: “We know the pandemic has impacted on different population groups in different ways, with characteristics such as ethnicity, age, lifestyle and deprivation being risk factors for the illness.
“We’re continuing to understand the data and will be working closely with communities over the coming weeks and months to make sure we can understand these links and what we can do about them.”
John MacDonald, Chair of Joined Up Care Derbyshire, said: “We want to hold on to any potential positive changes for patients which have emerged in the way health and care services – and the wider public sector – have all worked together as a result of this terrible global pandemic.
“The pandemic has taught us once and for all that where services have shared common goals, we can make things happen very quickly.
“Patients will continue to be at the heart of all our actions and we are working to maintain our ability to continue to make positive decisions at a progressive pace in the future.”
Details about individual services being restored will be made by the relevant health and care organisations as this information becomes available.