Updated 11:20 19/12/20
East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust (The Trust) has 8,602 employees. Due to the flexible working practices encouraged by the Trust this amounts to a total of 7,745.69 whole time equivalent posts. The Trust serves 720,500 people who live across East Kent.
As the first wave of Covid-19 swept through the communities of East Kent, Trust staff who had to self isolate due to potential covid-19 symptoms in Mar was 12%. In April this peaked at 17%, and dropped to 9% in May and 7% in June. It fell again in July to 5% and in August to 3%. It increased to 3.3% in September, and fell to 1% at the beginning of the second wave in Oct. It rose again in Nov to 3%, before falling back slightly in Dec to 2%.
Of the 8,602 Trust employees, 64% have had to self isolate due to Covid-19 symptoms between March 2020 and Dec 15th 2020.
During the first wave of Covid-19 two EKHUFT nurses lost their lives, as well as taking 350 plus residents from across our communities in the first wave to hit East Kent.
Aimee O,Rourke 39 and mother to three girls, worked in the Margate Hospital. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, in the acute medical unit at the hospital. She passed away in early April.
Adekunle Enitan, 55, and father two children, worked in the intensive care nurse at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. He lost his battle to COVID-19 in the intensive care department he dedicated himself to on Friday, April 24.
Between March and May 2020, our communities in East Kent, like the rest of the country got stressed due to the arrival of Covid-19 and lockdown. In June July Aug when we were allowed to meet again, following the guidelines, we de-stressed. By early Oct due to the numbers of infections rising, and murmurings of a second lockdown, our communities began to get more stressed again.
Also in Oct, as the second wave of Covid-19 hit, the first wave of patients attending the Trust’s A & E’s with mental health issue began. The affects of covid-19 lockdown one and two has affected adults and children alike. The surge of patients attending Trust A&Es with mental health issues remains the case in Dec 2020. The psychological affects of the pandemic will no doubt continue well into 2021 and possibly beyond.
By Nov 12th attendances to the Truts Emergency Departments had returned to pre-Covid numbers. Also, the Trust had 50 covid patients, on Nov 12th. By Dec 1st it had 121 and by Dec 8th this had risen to 227 covid patients. These are for the main hospitals at Margate, Ashford and, to a lesser degree, Canterbury.
By week ending Dec 15th, the numbers of covid-19 patients in the trusts hospital stood at 349 Covid. A 188% increase of covid-19 patients onto wards in the Trusts 3 main hospitals, in just fifteen days (1 -15 Dec). So one in three, or 32%, of all the trusts beds were occupied by patients with Covid-19. This is 86% higher than its previous peak of 187 on April 20, when covid-19 patients occupied one in five beds, or 20% of the Trusts 3 main hospitals. It’s clear the “new strain” in the evolution of the virus, makes it more virulent, but not more dangerous according to Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty and the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
The trust has recorded 632 covid related deaths across its hospitals since the pandemic began (to Dec 17).
EKHUFT have said the total financial impact of Covid-19 stands at £36.5m to Dec.
In the last 20 years the Trust has had mixed fortunes. In 2000, the press reported that staff shortages at the hospital were putting patient’s lives at risk, which drew local MP Damian Green to criticise the management of the NHS in parliament.
By 2010, it was named “Acute Trust of the Year 2010” by the healthcare information orgainsation, Dr Foster.
In October 2017 after months of very poor performance against the A&E four hour target it was the worst performing trust in England on A&E in 2017-18, with around 30% of patients waiting over four hours.
In February 2020 the government health minister, Nadine Dorries MP, announced that NHS England and NHS Improvement were commissioning an independent investigation into the maternity and neonatal services provided by East Kent University NHS Foundation Trust. The investigation will be led by Dr Bill Kirkup and is expected to cover the period since 2009. Dr Kirkup expects to report in 2021.
It’s clear the Trust is NOT perfect. It makes mistakes. And sometimes catastrophic ones. These mistakes have cost the Trust, £72,539,770 million in pay outs, between 2014/15 to 2017/18.
It is clear that Covid-19 has come at a cost to the Trust and residents of our communities across East Kent.
Now, with the arrival of a vaccine, there is cautious optimism moving forwards. We hope this will allow us all to turn the page of 2020 and ring in a brighter and better 2021. We’ll drink to that!
The Shepway Vox Team
Stay Safe this Xmas & New Year