I am very conscious that I have got off quite lightly this year in terms of Blogs in that this is my third and final one of the year. Whatever the quality and content of this one, it is still going to be amongst the best 3 of the year!
When we closed during Lockdown 1, we were heading for a bumper year in Patient numbers which although that is not the only metric that we use to judge success at the PTC, it still remains an important statistic in terms of measuring the impact that we deliver each year for our Police Patients. We are always very aware that behind every number lies an individual Serving Officer or Retired Officer, and likely behind them, other colleagues and many friends and family. On that basis, we are acutely conscious that for every one of those individuals that we had been unable to treat in 2020, there was likely to be a long and lasting impact that rippled out well beyond their own personal circumstances.
As it stands now it looks like that by the time we get to the end of 2020, we will have treated almost 1300 Patients this year which is about one third of our normal numbers for a more typical year. If you were to ask me whether I was happy with this number, I would have to say absolutely not this is not enough! I suppose a better way to look at the numbers would be to reflect on how many that we had managed to treat rather than the ones that we had not, within the framework of what has been a very surreal, bizarre and rather gloomy COVID dominated year. Using that premise as a guide, I believe that the number of almost 1300 Police Patients treated this year has been a fantastic result, whilst factoring in all the other challenges and demands that we have had to deal with.
Many of you will know that the PTC took the decision during Lockdown 2 to remain open for treatment. If truth be told, I was extremely nervous about this decision. I absolutely knew it morally to be the right thing to do. I was very much aware that the men and women of the Police Service had worked nonstop throughout the whole COVID Pandemic and those that had been injured physically or mentally, needed to have somewhere to go for treatment. We also needed to be sure that we could re-open legally and in a safe and secure way. After much consultation and reflection, we decided that we could do so and so we have remained open during Lockdown 2, treating hundreds of Police Patients who otherwise would not have had anywhere to go for treatment. I am pleased and relieved to say that with hindsight, this proved to be absolutely the right decision. We have treated a multitude of Patients successfully and equally importantly, we remain a virus free environment at both Centres.
We are all just about getting used to working in the new COVID secure work environment wearing our masks everywhere, sanitising our hands regularly and giving everyone space to move. It sometimes seems that wherever I turn, I am falling over a member of the Housekeeping Team who seem to be cleaning and disinfecting everything in the centre that is not nailed down, or who are literally popping up on every corner wiping down surfaces that they have seen someone touch from about 20 metres away. The work at the PTC is always a team effort, and this has never been more the case than in recent months. We are only ever as good as the sum of our parts in both centres, and in this case, I am proud of the fact that we have collectively delivered in spades keeping doing what we have always done, no matter how difficult the challenge.
At this point in the blog, I would normally be able to talk about all the visitors that we have had to our Centres over the last month or so, and indeed all of our face to face work attending new Student Officer sign up days, retirement seminars, conferences and other meetings. On this occasion I can’t because there has not been any. However, this does not mean that we have been idle. We have attended many of these events virtually in order to keep things ticking over, and although none of us are pretending that virtual attendance is as good as face to face engagement, at the moment it is all we have got. We are trying to ensure that we work hard to get it right and reach out to all of these new potential donors to encourage them to sign up to the PTC. We will not really know how successful we have been until mid-way through 2021 when we can see the donor numbers. I suspect that there will be a number of individuals who would in normal times have signed up to the PTC, but during a COVID virtual briefing, they have not been persuaded to do so. I would ask all our Serving Officer donors that where they do encounter these individuals, you encourage them to sign up for both their benefit and the PTC’s, and of course to apply to attend the PTC when they need us.
That leads me on nicely to our Ambassadors Roadshow this year which yes you have guessed it, was run “virtually” on Wednesday 2 December 2020. The Ambassadors are Serving and Retired Officers who have attended the PTC and benefitted from a treatment stay with us then taken it upon themselves to advocate for the PTC wherever they go among their colleagues. I am extremely grateful to all our Ambassadors for their work, which is of course on top of everything else that they do. It routinely makes a big difference to our donor sign up numbers and our operating model. If you are not currently a PTC Ambassador but would like to support our work in the future, please get in touch with a member of the DRCE team email@example.com
Before I close, I would also just like to highlight that St George’s Police Children’s Trust has just announced an extra lump sum that has been awarded to all of our beneficiaries this Christmas, on top of the fantastic package of other benefits already in existence. St George’s beneficiaries often have the hardest path to tread when faced with the loss of a loved one, more so at Christmas. We are always looking for ways in which we can improve the support that we provide to them. This year tha
t has taken the form of an extra £500 per child which has now been sent out. We know that this is never going to be enough but hope that this at least helps those children who are beneficiaries to be able to get themselves something extra special at this time of year. If you have children and are not a donor to St George’s, please think of signing up. At 35 pence each week, it really might make a huge difference to those children left behind if you should lose your life or be medically retired.
I think that is it for 2020 which has been a year that I hope we do not repeat again. I am confident that 2021 will be brighter with much to look forward to including the completion of our new Clinical Wings at Harrogate. Whatever it brings, rest assured the PTC will be here when you need us, doing what we do best.
Merry Christmas and stay safe all.
Patrick Cairns CEO PTC