I hardly need to remind you it’s just over a year since the UK’s first lock down, unfortunately too late to prevent widespread death, hospitalisation and illness. Sussex, Uckfield and the Community Hospital have of course been caught up in the pandemic. The League of Friends can’t thanks the staff, all of them, for their dedication skill and support they have given to the Hospital. The LoF’s have helped as much as we can to support the staff with “treats” and hopefully other useful items. Our grateful thanks to our Chairman Chris McVae for his amazing hard work. We like many, were very unhappy by the “test & Trace” process, which turned out to be very expensive and largely ineffective. As a lack of easy quick testing was putting staff and patients at risk, we did look into supplying a lateral testing device for the hospital. Although Linda Kenward managed to source a device, we were told it not necessary, although it did take a significant time before proper testing took place at the hospital. In all the fog of the pandemic one thing stands out, and that’s the wonderful work done by the Hospital staff, we thank them all.

Once more Uckfield has shown its special skills and dedication, this time in the vaccination process. We note the amazing organisation and skill in precuring vaccines and the infrastructure to deliver vaccination to Uckfield. Our grateful thanks to the Meads Health Centre and other Primary care GP practices teams along with dedicated volunteers for leading the way. We certainly don’t accept this amazing vaccination programme is driven by “capitalism and greed”, rather by dedication skill and many many people volunteering either as “guinea pigs” for the trials or helping in the vaccination programme.

Finally, for information, the NHS is heading for another reorganisation. It is nominally moving away from “competition” between health care providers. The CCG’s (formally PCT’s) are being scrapped in favour of an ICS, Integrated Care System. The aim is to fully integrate Primary & Secondary health care teams with those working in Care Homes and presumably Community Hospitals. Clearly in principal this seems an excellent step forward, but its implementation is crucial. It seems whilst the ICS’s will fund the all the activity but many of the Care Home sector will be private organisations outside the NHS. This latter may well cause practical and financial issues, but of course time will tell!

Like all charities, the pandemic has adversely affected our ability to raise money, so as always, I would like to make a plea for donations to the Uckfield Community League of Friends. Just to remind you, we have several ways you can donate, please see below.