Ministerial praise for COVID ZERO campaign

Health minister Nadine Dorries MP has praised a University Hospital Southampton campaign aimed at protecting hospitals from the spread of COVID-19.

To coincide with World Patient Safety Day the minister along with Aidan Fowler, national director of patient safety, paid a virtual visit to the Trust to learn more about the COVID ZERO campaign.

UHS launched the campaign in July with the ambition of having no transmission of the virus within the Trust, and calling on the local community to support that by walking in a socially distancing way, wearing masks and washing their hands often.

In that way they would protect the hospital from being overwhelmed by the virus and allow the recovery of services that would in turn enable clinicians to treat those in most need of care.

virtual visitThe minister heard from a range of staff including chief medical officer Derek Sandeman and chief nursing officer Gail Byrne who spearheaded the campaign across the Trust and wider community. 

Colleagues from infection control, patient safety and intensive care teams were also on the call to hear the minister praise the campaign for how it was putting patients and staff at the heart of safety culture.

She described how planning for a second wave at UHS would be greatly helped by having the ambition of being without any transmission of Covid within the hospital, adding: “If you don’t have that objective of COVID ZERO how would you reach it? You can reach it by having the right strategy and objective to reach that goal.

“What you are doing is an example of best practice and we need to be looking at how we harness this.”

Aidan Fowler added: “I would like to talk to you (UHS) more about what you are doing, there is much we can learn from this.”

Emergency nurse Laszlo Penzes also joined the virtual visit to talk the minister through his own treatment and recovery from COVID-19 and how he has now become an ambassador for the campaign.

He said: “I am a passionate believer in this campaign because it has a purpose to what it is asking people to do, there is a real outcome here. If people understand the importance and purpose of the walk, wash, wear measures they will contribute to shortening the length and reduce the consequences of this pandemic.” 

The national awareness day also saw a virtual event held by UHS to launch a new patient safety strategy with a number of guest speakers. Vickie Purdie, head of patient safety, said: “Patient safety runs through everything we do at our Trust and with this year’s focus being safe health workers meaning safe patients, that is really what our strategy and the COVID ZERO campaign is all about.”

Posted on Thursday 17 September 2020