NHS 72nd birthday – supporting colleagues across the system


On 5 July 2020, it will be 72 years since the NHS and social care system was established.

2020 has been the most challenging year in NHS history. This year, the birthday is an opportunity to recognise, reflect and remember.

Our Barnsley community teams have made a huge effort to support to care homes and the local acute hospital trust during the Coronavirus pandemic.

It’s been a really busy time for staff. Taking a snapshot of just one week during the pandemic, staff made nearly 5,000 essential home visits providing a variety of care and treatments to vulnerable patients. They also did around 10,500 telephone/video consultations, recorded some 2,500 patient interactions on our stroke and neurological rehabilitation units and held more than 50 management meetings. All in just a seven day period.

Our community teams have been supporting care homes in their coronavirus response, including testing and the supply of PPE.

Natalie McCarthy is a trained nurse is a trained nurse who usually works as a training and education coordinator with care homes in Barnsley. She’s been taking on a special role helping respond to the pandemic.

Natalie said: “My role has been to support the whole process of us dealing with Covid-19. I’ve been doing swabs at our drive-thru testing facility, helping staff and care homes keep up-to-date with the latest advice and training staff who have been re-deployed.

The Trust’s school-age immunisation team have also been re-deployed to support the neighbourhood nursing teams whilst schools remained closed. The team cannot wait to start immunising again and are eagerly awaiting news of a vaccine for Coronavirus.

Mental health colleagues have also been helping respond to the pandemic. Nurses who usually work in police custody suites across South Yorkshire were asked to switch to a digital service in order to help social distancing. With fewer people being detained by police, and running a virtual service, liaison and diversion staff found they had capacity freed up to support colleagues on the front line.

They were quickly asked to join a group of staff deployed to help the people of Barnsley. One nurse started by making up PPE kits for staff on the wards and community, then progressed to taking out medical equipment to support district teams. Another nurse completed refresher training and started to work with the district nursing team in a completely different role, wearing a uniform and changing dressings. A further four nurses joined the district nursing teams across the borough.

Other mental health teams have been lending community services a hand too. IAPT, our Barnsley recovery college and core mental health teams have compiled a workbook full of information and ways of promoting good mental wellbeing.

Jill Jinks, Business Unit Manager – Specialist and Community Mental Health Services, said: “This is a challenging time but our staff really pulled together to fight this pandemic. Our staff are doing a great job and their efforts show how we are working smart and adapting how we work to meet the changing care needs of people in Barnsley and each other.”

Partners in Barnsley are meeting to discuss how the move towards more integrated services can now continue move towards stabilisation.


NHS 72nd birthday – supporting colleagues across the system

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