East of England
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust recognised the need to ensure that our staff received the very best available support through and beyond the pandemic in recognition of the significant psychological and emotional challenges they would face in caring for COVID-19 patients To ensure this, the whole of the Trust's HR was re-deployed in two important ways:
The “How are you doing” team
this multi-disciplinary team, which was established within 5 days, was made up of staff from organisation development, talent, training, improvement and clinical-facing staff, worked tirelessly with our front line teams to provide emotional, psychological and leadership support throughout the pandemic. From wishing staff to 'have a great day' to 'thank you for your hard work last night', intervening to support staff on wards where patients had died or opening a rest, relax and refuel area for staff, the team worked day and night to support staff.
The “Health at Work” team
From the outset our occupational health team were inundated with requests for data, support, assessment and calls from worried staff. To support this small team, the HR team established the People Hub, a call centre to take and filter calls, answer basic questions, give assessment advice, explain processes or receive sickness information. The team also established a technology solution to monitor and track those staff isolating or shielding, so the data could be reported and acted on daily. This was critical to our ability to redistribute staff to those areas that vitally needed it. The team worked tirelessly and selflessly, often without time off, for months to support our patients and community during this awful pandemic, supporting the critical work of our doctors and nurses to ensure we had enough staff to deliver our care.
This initiative supported the work of 6500 staff care for over 6000 query and confirmed COVID-19 patients (up to 27 August 2020) and support their loved ones. The How Are You Doing team offered support across all the hospital sites, including our satellite renal teams, our off-site records department and our off-site administration centre. Importantly the care and support that HR gave to frontline teams allowed them to give the best of care to our patients, improving their experience of being in hospital at such a fraught time. A dedicated Rest, Relax and Refuel area created a much-needed quiet space away from the wards where staff could switch off, enjoy a drink and gather their thoughts, before returning to their shift. The How Are You Doing team was in place at the start and end of every shift, reaching out to teams, and visiting wards to make sure everyone knew that support was available.
Nominated by: Rt Hon Sir Oliver Heald QC MP
Emotional and psychological support has been essential for frontline teams during the pandemic. The People Hub has helped staff tremendously. 6500 staff deal with day-to-day issues more effectively now.