THURROCK health care teams brought in the army during the height of Covid-19, a clinical commissioning boss has revealed reports Local Democracy Reporter.
Explaining the impact the pandemic had on the borough at the Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group AGM today (Wednesday), Mark Tebbs, alliance director with the group also revealed the borough has been left with 8,500 people waiting more than a year for operations.
Praising NHS staff Mr Tebbs said: “It was a year like no other. Passing through those difficult times, what marked this system was how we came together to work together to respond to those extraordinary demands that were placed on our frontline staff.
“We managed to achieve things in double quick time. Things that have traditionally taken us months or years to mobilise we were able to mobilise overnight by all pulling together and responding to the demands of the pandemic
“We even brought in the military to help us as medics and volunteers to get through those extraordinary times.”
Mr Tebbs added: “It’s not just the NHS, our communities really worked together tirelessly to care for neighbours and to respond in a way we’ve never seen before. Despite all of those endeavours, by January 2021 we declared a major incident. That just reflects the extremity of the pressure we were under at that period.
Through the work of the Essex Resilience Forum bringing together all of our partners. The local authority, police, health and fire we came through it.”
Highlighting the pandemic’s legacy, Mr Tebbs said: “To give people an idea of the scale, in May 2020 there were just over 2,200 people waiting over a year for an operation or procedure within the trust. By March 2021 that had risen to over 8,500.
It shows the impact Covid had on those long waits. The outpatients programme is working through that reduction and we’ve seen some of the quickest reductions in those long waits across the region.
We are working towards a trajectory to get that down to 3,500 by the end of the year.”
The group has also had to focus on rolling out vaccines. Mr Tebbs said: “The initial vaccinaton programme started out in hospital and quickly rolled out into primary care at mass vaccination sites
“Again it was very much a partnership. There’s been an enormous of learning from the vaccination programme in how we respond to the community so really big focus on inequalities and cultural sensitivities, working with our community leaders and our faith leaders
“As a CCG we have delivered over 200,000 vaccinations in our population which is an extraordinary effort.”