HEALTH leaders have paid tribute to the ‘amazing people’ who work at Royal Bolton Hospital as they recognised their ‘resilience’ in anticipation of a second phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a board meeting of Bolton NHS Trust, chief operating officer Andy Ennis said the first wave of the pandemic came directly after a tough winter and staff were now facing a second spike without being able to ‘recharge their batteries’ during the summer.

He said: “The challenges around our workforce infections and admissions rise are not insignificant.

“With wave two of the pandemic we will again see the same issues around sickness and childcare affecting staff.

“This has increased as many staff have children who have been sent home from school.

“Bolton is not immune to these challenges and we will manage it .

“Crucially we need to support our staff, we know we’ve gone from winter to Covid spring and summer and now into Covid winter.

“That chance to recover, to recharge the batteries for staff has been limited.

“We all know we’ve been struggling to get our holidays in.

"Where can you go and how can you go?

“That’s the area we want to concentrate on an make sure we are giving our staff rest time to keep their resilience up

“They’re amazing people. In some ways they we have to protect them from themselves as they want to go the extra mile for patients.

“We need them to get the rest they need and look after themselves properly.”

The Bolton News:

Bolton NHS Trust, chief operating officer Andy Ennis

The meeting heard that hospital staff along with other key workers, such as GPs and primary care staff in Bolton have been given access to Covid-19 testing at hospital labs with a rapid results turnaround.

Those tests are currently at full capacity at around 205 per day but a new machine is being delivered to the hospital next month and from November they will be able to undertake 500 tests per day.

Staff are also being inoculated against winter flu from next week if they choose to do so.

Many non-clinical staff are also being asked to continue working from home for at least the next six months after the recent guidance issued by the government.

Director of workforce James Mawtrey also gave an insight into the work being done to support staff.

He said: “We must recognise the challenges that staff feel, the tiredness that some will feel and what we can do and hope we can support them

“We offer counselling support and mental health support to staff.

“We’ve got fantastic staff here in Bolton and it’s important we offer all the support we can.

“There’s a huge amount of work that is taking place.”