Message to staff from Board of Directors

Dear colleague

Thank you for everything you have achieved together these last few weeks - and continue to do - on behalf of the patients, families, carers and local communities we serve. We wanted to write to you as a Board to let you know how much we appreciate what you are doing during these difficult times.

It is really important we stay focused on managing the immediate challenges of Covid-19. At the same time, we need to plan for the future. This means being ready to respond to the longer-term social and economic impact of the pandemic and how this will affect mental health and wellbeing across our local communities.

With this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to outline the key aspects of our ongoing organisational response to Covid-19 that we have been discussing as a Board:

1.  Provide safe hospital care in line with Public Health England guidance, including use of the Personal Protective Equipment advised for mental health and learning disability settings.

2.  Keep connected with people under the care of our community teams by telephone or using digital technology where possible (clinical staff have undertaken 10,000 virtual consultations in the last nine weeks), and face-to-face where necessary.

3.  Provide easy access to 24/7 urgent care and support through our mental health rapid assessment hubs and our Mental Healthline (which has been expanded to respond to members of the public, including NHS and social care staff, experiencing Covid-19 related mental health difficulties).

4.  Work safely, slow the spread and reduce risk of transmission of Covid-19 through effective infection and prevention control across all our services and workplaces, and by making sure we make appropriate changes to our buildings and working practices.

5.  Care for our local communities across Hampshire and Sussex by responding to emerging evidence about those who may be particularly at risk from Covid-19, such as people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, and by preparing for a possible future increase in need for specialist mental health support.

6.  Continue to support remote working where possible to maintain social distancing, using your feedback about how this has worked in recent weeks to inform future working practices - over 1,000 of you responded to our recent survey about this and other aspects of our response to Covid-19.

7.  Work with our partners across health, social care, police, third sector and voluntary organisations to promote health and wellbeing within our communities.

In doing all of this, our focus is on continuing to provide safe, high quality care to people - and their family and carers - as well as self-care support, advice and information.

At the same time, the health and wellbeing of our workforce remains a priority, not least given the tiredness that many of you must be feeling after the strains of the last few weeks.

We are also aware the risk of Covid-19 disproportionality affecting our BAME workforce and communities. Given the impact of this, we have issued a specific statement on this as a Board which includes our individual and collective commitment to provide support. See our statement from the Board of Directors: Covid-19 and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

Please stay safe, keep connected, be kind to yourself and each other. Do seek support from your line manager, colleagues, our Employee Assistance Programme or our Mental Healthline if you need it.

Thank you once again for everything you are doing.

With kind regards from the Board of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Peter Molyneux, Chair

Sam Allen, Chief Executive

Martin Richards, Non-Executive Director

Anna van der Gaag, Non-Executive Director

Anne Beales, Non-Executive Director

Gordon Ferns, Non-Executive Director

Jo Larbie, Non-Executive Director

Nick Juba, Associate Non-Executive Director

Nitin Mehta, Associate Non-Executive Director

Amanda Jones, Associate Non-Executive Director

Sally Flint, Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Chief Executive

Simone Button, Chief Operating Officer

Acosia Nyanin, Chief Nursing Officer

Dr Rick Fraser, Chief Medical Officer

Beth Lawton, Chief Digital and Information Officer

Gavin Wright, Director of Workforce and Operational Development

Dr Nick Lake, Director of Clinical Strategy

Dan Charlton, Director of Communications

Dominic Ford, Director of Corporate Affairs