Reflections from the Chief, June 4th 2020

An update on Mildmay Hospital from our Chief Executive, Geoff Coleman

"With every story, there is supposed to be a beginning, a middle and an ending.

Currently, most of the world feels like it is for once engaged in a shared story that whilst unfolding slightly differently around the world, gives us a shared narrative that we can all relate to, whether we live in Amsterdam, Mombasa, Tel Aviv or Zanzibar.

Whether, like me, you are a key worker that has had to travel to a hospital every day, work horrendous hours alongside some pretty amazing and dedicated people or, like many others, you have been isolated at home just wishing you could be out there doing something to help, we all have something in common; COVID-19.

Mildmay hospital was due to close down its clinical services in March due to a lack of demand from NHS Commissioners for our services. Instead, like many other hospitals, we have been thrown into a demanding new world where the normal and ordinary seem to have disappeared from our horizon.

We have had to adapt and overcome problems and challenges that we never imagined we would have to face. Whoever thought that there would be such a demand for PPE that availability would be threatened, and prices would increase by a factor of ten? Whoever thought that social distancing would be something that we would have to practice in every area of our workplace and in all of the activities that we undertake? But we have met these challenges and so many others like them. We are beginning to think differently. In the past, it was very much the case that everyone had their job to do and you didn’t step into their area, for fear of annoying them, or even worse, invalidating the Hospital’s insurance liability.

Now we think about what needs to be done and who can and is able to do it. Jobs get done faster. Work has had to become slicker and more efficient. We have transitioned from the hectic, frantic and worried early days of this pandemic into a new routine, a ‘new normal’ as so many have called it.

We still have some of the old worries. Will our commissioners pay their bills on time? (That one never goes away!) Will the next big delivery of PPE arrive when we absolutely need it or be delayed once again? Will key members of the team go down with COVID-19? As always, we try to have contingencies in place for as many of these challenges as we can.

So how does this story end? Well, in the words of Neo (Keanu Reeves' character) at the end of the Matrix movie, “I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin...”

This is a new beginning, a new opportunity. We have the chance to rebuild the system to make it work better and more efficiently. We have the chance to do away with the layers of bureaucracy that have not added value and have limited our true capabilities.

Whether we will take that opportunity or not is up to us all."

Geoff Coleman, Chief Executive Officer

4 June, 2020

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