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As the clinical director for Sussex MSK Partnership my role in a nutshell is basically to ensure that we provide a clinical quality service. This last week has been challenging since Boris Johnson announced that we need to vaccinate the whole of the country by the end of the month.

Responding to the Christmas 2021 vaccination drive

I spent the first two days of my week thinking about how and what would be required of us in the system to ensure that we could support this drive. We worked up some scenarios and, I have to say, I was fairly relieved when the directive came that, yes, we absolutely needed to step up the vaccination programme, but at the same time to maintain the service and to make sure that we protected the waiting times that we’ve worked so hard to reduce.

So that’s what we’re doing, and that’s absolutely the right thing to do. We need to recognise that the service that we provide is incredibly important to the wider system. We support the GPs and their practices, and we also support secondary care. And of course, we provide a really fantastic service to our patients, and we cannot underestimate that.

Taking a well earned rest

What matters to me is that everybody in our service who has worked so hard, especially in the curse of this pandemic and in our response to that, is able to take some downtime. Over the next few weeks we’re heading into Christmas, and it should be a time where we can have some relaxation, spend time with family and friends and get some energy back. We know that next year is likely to be challenging. It’s not over yet, we need to meet those challenges as we go forward and so we’ll need some energy to do that.

A winter’s tale

So I’d like to say: watch some Christmas movies. I was watching The Polar Express last night and I found myself thinking of parallels of the movie and what happens in our service. For those of you that have not seen The Polar Express -and I’ll try not to spoil the surprise- essentially it’s about a little boy who’s not sure he still believes in Father Christmas. So the Polar Express picks him up and he asks, ‘Where are we going?’ And the conductor says, ‘Well, we’re going to the North Pole’ (and of course we all know who lives in the North Pole).

So he gets on the train and the journey is fraught with peril and challenges and difficulties. It’s a roller coaster of a journey, but at the same time, it’s full of team support. It’s full of empathy, compassion, friendship and everything that I recognise in this organisation, which I’m very proud to be part of.

So enjoy the Polar Express! Enjoy the Christmas break. I am really looking forward to seeing everybody again in the new year.

tagged in Enabling Team

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