To our staff who have never stopped giving . . .
Our Chair Professor Sue Proctor blogs with her reflections of 2021 with appreciation and gratitude.
The festive season has crept up on us again. Another year draws to a close. Similar to last year, many will be glad to see the back of 2021, but for others, it may have been a year of good experiences and positive memories. For many, however, and for a variety of reasons, this time of the year is hard. It can be a time for many where stress, pressure, loneliness and financial hardship come to the fore. This year feels tougher on all these fronts. There remains a shadow of uncertainty too about personal arrangements, get-togethers, and family meals as the developments of the pandemic evolve dramatically each day.
Reflecting on this year, the commitment, flexibility and willingness to work together of our staff, and those in our partner organisations remains as impressive as ever. Despite relentless pressures, colleagues have continued to put our service users and their families first and to work together to provide extraordinary care and support throughout the year. In addition, there is the vaccine programme. The roll out of the Covid vaccines in each wave in Leeds and York has brought people together, staff, volunteers, and others, to deliver the shared goal of protecting people from Covid, which has been humbling.
As a Board, we have tried to keep focused on the current pressures, engage fully in the wider development of the emerging Integrated Care Systems (ICS) as they develop, and to keep planning for the coming year. This has been challenging, but so important to keep us moving forward as a strong organisation. We have continued to hear from service users, carers and staff. Not losing sight of when things are going well, and also when we don’t reach the standards we set, and unintentionally let people down. We have tried to live our values and test ourselves continually. I am grateful for the hard work and commitment of all the Board, and our Council of Governors too.
At our last Board meeting we agreed two important strategy documents for the coming years; our People Plan and our Green Plan. Both vitally important in ensuring we continue to adapt and improve, to become an excellent employer, with a strong sustainable environmental plan for our future. Both documents were developed in collaboration with staff across the Trust, for which I am very grateful. We will monitor the progress of both plans closely and expect real and positive improvements on both counts in the coming year.
So what does 2022 hold? Many challenges will remain, of course. Covid is still making its presence felt, and the system will continue to be under immense pressure. The opening of Red Kite View in January presents a real opportunity to make a difference to the care of young people across West Yorkshire, and will be an exciting development. The ICS organisations will go live in April, and we hope that together we will fully realise the shared ambition of reducing inequalities and improving life chances for people in each part of West Yorkshire, and to the east in the Humber, Coast and Vale ICS.
My highlights of 2021
We look back on 2021 with gratitude and pride in respect of so much that has been achieved by the teams across LYPFT. There are too many to list, but briefly:
The sustained compassion and willingness to go the extra mile from all clinical, nursing, AHP, psychology and support staff for service users, and for each other during the highs and lows of this year;
The creativity and imagination by colleagues in our in-patient wards, community teams, specialist teams, and supported living to help morale, building a strong sense of team, and just being kind, decent human beings;
A special mention to all involved in our services to veterans. Firstly for hosting the Lord Lieutenant for his presentation of our ‘Veterans Awareness’ status (pictured below), and then for bringing leaders from the Military and Health department to York for a day to inform and inspire a vision for the future of these services;
Since the start of the pandemic, the amazing work led by the WREN the WDES and the Rainbow Alliance – all working to inspire and lead on improving diversity and equality within the Trust;
The unsung heroes of the IT support teams, admin, communications, HR, estates and finance – for keeping us all going so efficiently whether working remotely or on site;
The continued resilience of the Infection Prevention and Control team, and domestic staff across the Trust who have worked their collective socks off, not only helping us minimise the risk from Covid, keeping the place clean and safe, and in delivering covid and flu vaccines;
Those in leadership and management positions who have worked hard to keep in touch with staff, keep inspiring, leading, managing demands and budgets to the best of their abilities, and with a great attitude; and
Few of us have been untouched by the impact of Covid on our professional but also our personal lives. The loss of colleagues hit us all hard. The response of teams who provided practical support, kindness and love, and just some space for others to grieve and remember was beautiful.
Staff have never stopped giving . . .
For the second year in this pandemic, our staff have never stopped giving, planning, and working out how we can adapt further to meet the needs of people we serve in Leeds and York. Through various phases of lockdowns, and more relaxed restrictions in wider society, our standards have remained high. Across the Trust, colleagues have been keen to learn, keen to adapt and build greater resilience and determination to meet the needs of local communities, and to plan for the inevitable increase in the prevalence of the mental health consequences of Covid. This willingness to learn, to improve our services and to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities is an enduring feature of everyone in this Trust. It will sustain us in the future.
There are many challenges ahead, of course, but there are springs of hope that we will soon move towards a better, healthier and brighter future, together.
Whether you are working over the holidays, or having some precious down time, can we take this opportunity to wish you and your families a happy, safe festive season and a healthy, hopeful and joyous 2022.
Thank you for all you do, and for who you are.