Health boss reveals how our local hospitals meet their biggest challenge

Special report on how our local NHS team is responding to the coronavirus crisis

JANUARY and December have been the most challenging months the Buckinghamshire NHS Trust has ever faced its chief executive Neil Macdonald will tell Friday’s trust board meeting.

The trust runs Wycombe, Amersham and Stoke Mandeville Hospitals and has been on the highest alert for critical care for the past few weeks. 

As well as expressing an “enormous, humble thank you” to his colleagues and staff Mr Macdonald pays tribute to members of the public who have volunteered or made donations to support staff as well as “the increasing non-medical military support we are receiving.”

He gives an insight into the challenges the medics, management and support staff  in our local hospitals are facing with Covid-19 and some of the actions being taken, including:

  • A 10/11 per cent sickness rate amongst the clinical workforce
  • Staff voluntarily cancelling their annual leave over the next six weeks
  • Offers of medical face cream and the services of a dermatologist to staff suffering by having to wear tight face masks for hours on end
  • The haematology team moving to the private Shelburne Hospital at Wycombe to make room for Covid patients at Stoke Mandeville
  • Hundreds of staff redeployed to help in critical areas
  • Provision  of heated outside areas at hospitals to give staff a break in the fresh air
  • Provision of  a “huge amount” of health and well being support
  • All staff completing a formal risk assessment for their work and personal circumstances
  • Running hospital vaccination centres 12 hours a day, seven days a week

In addition the trust has prioritised maintaining urgent cancer care throughout the pandemic, says Mr Macdonald.  So far 98 per cent of cancer patients have been seen within two weeks of a referral by their GP and 87 per cent have received their first treatment within 62 days.

He says that so far the trust has spent more than £20m just on Covid related items. He adds that following a specific recruiting campaign 100 new nurses from overseas will be joining the trust from  the spring.

Inspiring, cheerful, resolute

A number of people working for the Buckinghamshire NHS Trust have been nominated for special awards by their colleagues. Here’s a few examples written by their nominees…

  • Tracey Surguy, ward housekeeper – “During the pandemic Tracey has been there to help make patients’ time on the ward that bit more manageable. For instance, she assisted a teenage girl who did not have any spare items by heading off to Asda to buy her some.”
  • The stores staff at Stoke Mandeville – “The stores team have been fantastic, managing the ever-changing PPE situation brilliantly. They are experts in their field and unseen heroes. Without a co-ordinated and organised stores team, clinical departments would not have the stock they need when they need it.”
  • Lorraine Moylan, matron, outpatient dept – “I was moved to make this nomination as in a meeting just now Lorraine, though visibly tired, stated with conviction: ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to keep people safe. I’ll work nights, I’ll do a twilight shift; whatever is needed’.”
  • The reception team at Wycombe Hospital – “These young ladies have been brilliant during Covid, going above and beyond their job role. They physically take patients to their appointment location where necessary rather than just giving directions. They greet everyone each morning with a smile and a hello. These ladies do a wonderful job in easing anxiety and helping our service users…a joy to see when you get to work each morning.”


Bin collection delayed again – Rubbish bin collections were suspended for a further day in the village yesterday because pavements were still icy. The refuse collectors will try to catch up and the advice remains to put your bin out as normal and it will be collected as soon as possible.