The Covid-19 pandemic has ensured this Newsletter is written in times like no other. May be those of you who lived through the blitz, or were in the military in World war two, might disagree. I am sure we are all agreed it is a worrying time. Many unexpected premature deaths are occurring, many are ill in hospital, and clearly the NHS has been under incredible stress. The “NHS” is of course “people” and they have been working under enormous pressure. They are working long hours, frequently in hot and uncomfortable conditions. The pressure is of course not just physical but also emotional. This is especially relevant for those at the front line, who are seeing people die in extraordinary numbers. It is they who deal with the last day hours minutes of life and then communicate with the deceased’s loved ones.

Uckfield Community Hospital is not of course an Intensive Care Unit, but it looks after sick often old patients with multiple conditions, some with physical illness and others with mental illness. Not only are these patients more vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus, but may have been transferred to the community hospital sooner than normal, increasing the nursing and medical care needed.

The League of Friends is of course anxious to help in any way it can. The Chairman, Chris Mcvae, Treasurer, Roy Thompson have been working tireless to identify ways in which we can help and of course mobilising funds to support any ideas. The good news is that the front-line staff are getting protective clothing. Of course, testing for the virus and previous contact and immunity have been lacking nationally. It seems unlikely that the League could organise and fund a local testing service as this must be a nationally coordinated.

The League of Friends is very happy to support Beechwood with purchasing equipment to entertain patients who are finding they are more time restricted in their movements and have time on their hands. We have also purchased some of the everyday “essentials” as the staff appreciate this after working long hours in protective clothing. These include coffee, tea and “treats” which we should not dwell on too much! We should also note that Waitrose in Uckfield have been very generous and donated coffee, Easter eggs and other goodies.

The League of Friends do not know what plans are ahead for the Community Hospital, but please contact us if you think we may be able to help and support staff or patients alike. It goes without saying we all endorse the policy of physical separation/distancing, staying at home as much as possible, and regular handwashing. This remains the main preventative measure until a vaccine is available. Prevention is always better than treatment. It also is highly effective, if carried out by everyone, please note P.M.! We wish you all well and a safe for a few more months, until this pandemic is over.

In these sombre times, we can take some comfort from the new X-ray equipment which the League of Friends supplied earlier this year. It’s up and running and the staff are full of praise. It’s reliable easy to use and it is fully linked and integrated with hospitals all over the country and more importantly locally. The link to the Consultant Radiologist in East Grinstead is working well. The radiographers find the system light weight, physically easy to use and the need for repeat x-rays hugely reduced. I think it can be counted as a resounding success!