COVID-19 restrictions, which were introduced because of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant over the Christmas period, are now being lifted in certain settings, but we should all still do what we can to protect our families, friends, and the wider community.

Throughout the pandemic we have asked those visiting hospital settings to wear face coverings and abide by social distancing guidance. We care for the most vulnerable in our communities and ask you all to still follow this guidance to ensure that we keep our colleagues, patients and visitors safe.

From tomorrow, some face covering guidance will be lifted but the requirement to wear face coverings in our hospitals continues to be the case unless you are exempt.

Of course, here at the Trust we will always be respectful and accommodating for those with individual exceptional circumstances so please let us know before your appointments of any such requirements.

Also, if you have been asked to take a lateral flow test before attending your appointment, please continue to do so, and children should also not be brought to appointments.

Thank you all for your assistance as we aim to protect all those around us.

We are still seeing large numbers of COVID patients in our hospitals and it has been shown that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination and booster jab can also dramatically reduce the effects of Omicron, so I would again urge you to have your booster jab to protect yourself and those around you.

Nearly 85% of eligible adults in our county have received their booster jab thanks to the monumental effort of NHS partners, local councils and volunteers, but we need to carry on the good work.

The booster dose can now also be booked by 16 and 17 year olds online. If you have not had your first or second dose of the vaccination or your booster, it is not too late – please do not hesitate to come forward. Walk-in and pop-up clinics for the COVID-19 vaccination and boosters are still available across the county. More details can be found here:

Last week, we welcomed 10 colleagues from the RAF into SaTH. The team will provide non-clinical support for four weeks as we continue to face staffing pressures because of COVID-19. They will be working to support porters, the Rapid Response Team, wards, the Incident Command Centre and stores.

We look forward to working alongside you all and thank you for your support.

Here at the Trust, we always endeavour to improve the care that we provide and it is crucial that we do this in a way that reflects the direct experience of those we care for. To help in this we’re setting up Speciality Patient Experience Groups for patients and carers to offer their valuable insight and perspective on our services.

It’s an exciting opportunity to help shape the way we provide care and we’d only ask for around three hours a month of your time – the closing date for applications is Monday 31 January and for more information visit our website

Thank you.