Open letter to Suffolk from Suffolk health and care leaders

Published

With the world facing its biggest health emergency in living memory, health and social care leaders speak to you in a way that we have never done so before.

Dear all

Today, as we address you with frankness and honesty, we ask of you one thing – that you think very carefully about your Christmas plans.

The emergence of Covid-19 has confronted our National Health Service and its partners with its biggest challenge for generations. Our health and social care colleagues have risen admirably to meet that challenge and continue to do so, despite the incredible strain the virus has placed upon our staff and resources.

However, this is not a quick win situation. Despite this incredible hard work, infection rates continue to rise and this Christmas – let’s be candid - we have a monumental challenge on our hands. A challenge that can only be won by each of us making further sacrifice.

Our current infection rate (112 cases per 100,000 people) is triple where we found ourselves in October (35 cases per 100,000 people). At the beginning of September, there were just 5 cases per 100,000 people. If this current trajectory continues, there will be a significant impact and the situation will go on for much longer.

Sadly, we no longer have the capacity to lower our guard or lessen our resolve over the festive period. We must continue to live with caution and follow guidance fully. We therefore ask that you think carefully about your Christmas plans. We know that one of the best ways to fight this virus is to limit contact with other people, so we ask that you choose your Christmas bubble wisely and stick with that bubble. We also ask that you think twice before seeing your elderly or vulnerable relatives. This is on top of those things we already do well, such as washing hands, wearing a mask and social distancing.

We do not offer this advice lightly – Christmas gatherings are, of course, very special and personal celebrations. However, this is an extraordinary year. We know our health and care services would be under significant pressure if cases continue to rise in January.

Our message today is clear - Suffolk needs you. It needs you to make the right choice this Christmas and live within the guidelines.

Thank you.

Signed by

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
Nick Hulme, Chief Executive
Doctor Angela Tillett, Chief Medical Officer

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Doctor Stephen Dunn CBE, Chief Executive
Doctor Nick Jenkins, Medical Director

Clinical Commissioning Groups covering Suffolk
Doctor Ed Garratt, Chief Executive, Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG, West Suffolk CCG and North East Essex CCG
Melanie Craig, Chief Executive, NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG
Doctor Mark Shenton, Chair of Ipswich and East CCG
Doctor Christopher Browning, Chair of the West Suffolk CCG

Suffolk GP Federation
David Pannell, Chief Executive
Doctor Ruth Bushaway, Medical Director

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust
Jonathan Warren, Chief Executive
Doctor Daniel Dalton, Chief Medical Officer

Healthwatch Suffolk
Andy Yacoub, Chief Executive Officer

Suffolk County Council
Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health
Sue Cook, Director of People’s Services

St Elizabeth Hospice
Kelvin Bengtson, Medical Director

St Nicolas Hospice
Barbara Gale, Chief Executive