I have been working in healthcare for over twenty years and I can safely say that nothing has made such an impact as the Covid-19 pandemic. This really is an incredible period in our history and the effect it has had on our healthcare systems will remain forever. Personally, and in terms of TPP as a company, the impact has been pronounced. It is heartbreaking to reflect on the serious loss of life, but inspiring to think about what the people on the frontline of our NHS are doing.
In the past weeks, I have often had the feeling that I should document this period. Not necessarily all of the work I have been involved in, but more the general feeling of what itis like to experience this. Something that has really struck me is how quickly things have changed, particularly in the days leading up to the nationwide lockdown in March. However, as we move into a new period I wonder whether the reverse will be true and the process of change slows. It may take many months for Covid-19 not to dominate the way we live our lives.
Last year, I visited China a number of times, including a trip towards the end of the year. When the news of Covid-19 started breaking in the UK, these experiences, and the fact that TPP works in healthcare, meant that we were starting to prepare for Covid-19 very early on. Our first conversation with Public Health England was around the third week of January and I was already thinking that this virus was going to have a profound impact on our lives.
This habit of making decisions early remained at TPP. We stopped international travel, face-to-face meetings in our office and asked our staff to take extra precautions long before the lockdown. These decisions were taken because we could start to see the demands on our NHS, and the fact that these pressures meant it was going to be a busy period for us too. The overwhelming feeling initially was whether we could meet the as of yet unspecified demands of our users. We just wanted to put ourselves in the best possible position to support them.
I am in absolute awe of the bravery of our frontline healthcare workers. The way that our NHS has responded to this crisis has been exceptional and every individual who has been at the coalface deserves absolute respect and admiration. I have felt a strong sense of obligation to do all I can to assist those caring for others in any way I can, and I know that’s true for the people I work with too.
I am also bloody proud of the work that TPP has done in the last two months. We have worked long hours and it's great to see how this work has benefitted people working on the frontline. It has been a real privilege to work with some of the Nightingale hospitals (fortunately some of them haven’t been needed!) and releasing our new app Airmid was a great effort. It means a huge amount to every person at TPP to hear that something we have done has helped a user. One positive comment from someone on the NHS frontline provides more inspiration for my team than anything I as CEO could ever say.
The other strand of work that we have been doing is helping all sorts of research projects. The recent OpenSAFELY project was one of my proudest moments. Coming from university at Liverpool Polytechnic I never imagined my name being on a science paper with people from Oxford and the London School of Tropical Medicine!
These are just some of the things that have been going on recently. For about a year now, I have been trying to be more accessible to people working across healthcare. Something weird about lockdown is, because of the move to video conferencing, I have been able to speak to more customers and partners than I have for years.
If I can think of anything else I want to say, I’ll post again. Stay safe everyone. Frank.