2020 a year like no other? Let’s hope so, because life has not been easy in this pandemic, and by definition it has been hard for everyone around the world. Of course, Uckfield and the Community Hospital are no exception. With over 60,000 Corona Covid-19 related deaths, many individuals and families have been devastated, let alone those effected economically or just “stuck” at home. It seems the economic effects will be present for years, and if as seems likely as I write this, the equally damaging effect of Brexit with a “no deal”, we are heading for a bleak long winter.  Sadly, it is impossible to separate the nation’s health from economic health, and this will impact the Community Hospital on both counts.  As always there is some good news in the form of an effective vaccine, so by the end of 2021, the “sunny uplands” may be visible. I’m sure those hard pressed over worked dedicated NHS staff may get their well-deserved summer holiday.

The League of Friends has tried hard to help, but our efforts are minimal. Our Chairman Chris Macve has done a wonderful job, with great personal commitment to help supply the staff with appropriate “goodies” to brighten the staff’s day to day life. Loads of cool drinks in the summer and chocolate treats in the autumn. Whilst he may get a sideways look from the dieticians, we know the staff appreciate this tangible show of support. I expect they may have enjoyed the treats as well!

After the League’s purchase of the digital x-ray systems, we continue our usual support for several minor and hopefully helpful purchases. We are in the process of supporting the hospital purchase new updated ultrasound equipment. The League has been frustrated by the lack of staff weekly testing for C-19. It was promised in June and in September we made enquiries about purchasing the rapid testing equipment for the Hospital. This was rejected as it was expected to be introduced shortly. We do not know if has yet happened, but we remain very concerned for the staff, their families, and patients who may be unnecessarily put at risk.

Our AGM was a restricted event run via Zoom, a new experience for many our Trustees. The team remains much the same but we sadly said goodbye to long standing members. Lorrie Hyett and Roy Thompson. Their enthusiasm and dedication have been remarkable and both will be greatly missed, we send them our heartfelt “thanks”.

As always, particular as so many fund-raising events have been cancelled, we are also hoping for your donations. Please go to the website to see how to donate.

Finally, we wish you all a very Happy Christmas, a happy and successful New Year and hope you al keep well.

Peter WARDBOOTH Vice-Chair