Message of thanks to NHS staff

Over the last few weeks we have all witnessed staff and colleagues across the NHS being under tremendous pressure. It’s been really tough with extra demand that the winter season has placed on us and our resources.

Staff have been working hard from minute to minute, hour by hour, to make sure that patients are looked after in the same caring way we strive for, and we are immensely grateful for that. We have come to expect that NHS staff will go above and beyond to do the right things by their patients, but that doesn’t make us any less proud.

The public quite rightly have great confidence in the NHS and its staff; and with 1 in 50 people working in the NHS that’s a lot of people going the extra mile.

Recently we’ve seen an increase in the numbers of people suffering from really unpleasant seasonal illnesses and flu so we would still urge any staff who haven’t already done so, to get their flu vaccination. It’s certainly not too late and it works within a couple of weeks.

Many people ask when will things improve for staff and patients; well the truth is that major change is already happening but the system wide transformation we need across primary care, ambulances and in our hospitals will take several years, plus political, public and healthcare workers’ support.

Medicine has moved on in many ways and our patients have changed greatly so we, the NHS, must change too.  With the NHS’ 70th birthday this year it’s time to celebrate what we have achieved, and carry that pride into our future NHS.

Keith Willett

Professor Keith Willett is the Director for Acute Care to NHS England and is the Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery at the University of Oxford. An NHS consultant surgeon for 24 years he has extensive experience of trauma care, driving service transformation and healthcare management.  He has taught surgery and leadership extensively across the NHS and internationally.

In 2003 he founded the Kadoorie Centre for Critical Care Research and Education focusing on the treatment of critically ill and injured patients. This year IMPS, a children’s safety charity he launched, celebrated 20 years and over 250,000 children trained in risk awareness, first aid and life support.

He was the co-founder of the unique 24-hour consultant-resident Oxford Trauma Service at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford in 1994. Building on that model, in 2009 he was appointed the first National Clinical Director for Trauma Care to the Department of Health and was charged with developing and implementing government policy across the NHS to radically improve the care of older people with fragility hip fractures and to establish Regional Trauma Networks and Major Trauma Centres. By 2012 both re-organisations and care pathways were successfully in place and are now credited with marked improvement in patient care and survival.

In his current role, he has the national medical oversight of acute NHS services ranging from pre-hospital and ambulance services, emergency departments, urgent surgery, acute medicine, children’s and maternity, armed forces, and health and justice services and national major incidents. He is now leading the transformation of the urgent and emergency care services across the NHS in England.

He was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Years Honour’s List in 2016 for services to the NHS.  On receiving this honour he said “I have been exceptionally privileged to build a career as part of the collective commitment of so many dedicated individuals and friends who are our NHS”.

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  1. Dr Umesh Prabhu says:

    First of all I want to thank Prof Willett for this wonderful message and all the good work he has done over the years.

    But why did this crisis allowed to happen in the first place? Good leadership is all about preventing the crisis. Why no one in leadership position saw this crisis over many years.

    We must make sure we learn lessons and we understand the reasons for this crisis so that it must never happen again.

    We as leaders owe it to our public, our NHS and our profession and our staff to make sure never again there is such a crisis.

    Now that crisis is here, we must find urgent solutions and I know the solution and can help anyone who cares for NHS. I know all of you do.

    Leaders must listen to everyone including BME staff and BME leaders. In Wigan reduced harm to patients by 90% just in 8 years. Wigan transformation is a very good lesson for NHS England and anyone to learn lessons.

    I am happy to help anyone