Covid anniversary marked across BSW

Health and care organisations across BSW took time to mark the first anniversary of the first local cases of Covid during March and reflect on the astonishing twelve months that changed the local health and care system forever. 

Hospitals, local authorities, and other health and care organisations marked the anniversary in a number of ways, paying tribute to staff and remembering the thousands of people who tragically lost their lives over the past year. 

As was seen across the entire country, the emergence of Covid-19 in the first part of 2020 had huge implications for local health and care services.

Almost overnight, services at the region’s three large hospitals – the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, Salisbury District Hospital and the Royal United Hospital in Bath – were scaled back and staff redeployed to prepare for the rapid influx of people needing urgent and emergency care as a result of coronavirus.

GPs quickly followed suit with all of the region’s 94 practices taking the majority of services online, with video calls becoming the default appointment format and walk-ins stopping in favour of telephone-based triage and assessment.

In the first weeks of the pandemic, GPs were carrying out more than 3,000 video appointments a week – a 200 per cent increase on what was happening pre-Covid.

Tracey Cox, Chief Executive, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is only right that, on the first anniversary of this heart-wrenching pandemic, we once again acknowledge and say thank you to all those who have played their part in steering us through an unbelievably challenging year.

“Coronavirus has been brutal for all involved and I know that many of our colleagues bear the emotional, physical and mental scars of the last 12 months, but their courage and determination in the face of constant uncertainty will never be forgotten.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise the sacrifices made by our local communities who, by following government guidance, have helped slow the spread of the virus.”