ABHI Membership

The Impact of COVID-19: A Case Study from Medtronic

I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.

The quote from Her Majesty is so powerful I have decided to leave it in my blog.

To say the last few weeks have been unprecedented is an understatement. There won't be one company or individual reading this who will not have been impacted by COVID-19.

During this time, there have been two priorities for me as head of Medtronic UK/Ireland.

The first has been to continue to serve our patients and customers and instil the “business as usual approach”, very much part of the Medtronic Mission. Not that easy when we now have all of our teams working from home. To give you an example, our Customer Care team and Diabetes Patient Support teams took almost 8,000 calls in the first week of working from home. A huge challenge, but one I’m pleased to say we have stepped-up to, and we will continue this approach for as long as we need to.

The second is to look after the welfare of our employees. We have been deluged with questions, concerns and the need for reassurance. The wellbeing of every employee has been an absolute priority for me and the leadership team, and we are staying connected via various forums, both business and non-business related. I have been so impressed by the way everyone has adapted, looked out for each other, and offered to volunteer where they can.

Globally, we have acknowledged that to deliver on the demand for Ventilators is a huge challenge, and so some of you may have seen that we have opened-up the specifications of one of our ventilators to enable others to build in order to try to fill the gap.

The enormous appetite for information is where the ABHI has come into their own. Being able to share all of the communications coming from the ABHI team with my leadership team has been invaluable.

We will come through this, but in the coming months we will all be living in a very different world, and for sure, there will be further challenges ahead for all of us. In many ways, however, we have seen the NHS at its best, and its flexibility to adopt innovation in times of absolute need. I’m sure, post COVID-19, there are lessons we all can learn and encourage in the future ways of working. I’m certain that ABHI will be at the forefront to help shape this agenda, supporting the membership and the health system as a whole.

There are some important conversations to be had with Government and the health care system, and this is where I think ABHI will play an instrumental role. As a Board, we are already getting prepared for what comes next. It's essential all ABHI members seek to be ready to bring the service back to normal and tackle the large numbers of people in need who have had procedures postponed – we need further work with the Governments of Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Island to make this a reality. There will also be a huge need to support SMEs, and for those of us working in the large multinationals, we should play a part in this too. For sure, this is one thing I am more than willing to get involved with.

I am confident that these last few weeks have enabled ABHI to come into its own as a trade body going forward, so watch this space.

Jackie Fielding, Vice President UK & Ireland, Medtronic Ltd & Vice Chair, ABHI