The coronavirus pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of NHS charities like never before. NHS charities and their reaction to the pandemic has offered a unique window onto our work, showing the key role we have played in supporting our NHS workers during an unprecedented national crisis.
In Nottingham we launched our NHS Heroes Emergency Appeal within days of the first COVID-19 patients being admitted to our hospitals. Working alongside our hospitals’ most experienced clinical and human resources leads we were able to swiftly deploy funds to the areas of highest need.
Here two colleagues, Nursing and Midwifery Care Excellence Director Kerry Jones, and Assistant Director of Learning & Organisational Development Helen Mancini, give direct personal insights into the impact that our charity funding has had in helping NHS teams on the ground over the last two months.
Kerry Jones said: “We know from years of research that the better we support and care for our teams the better care they are able to provide for patients, families and carers. At the beginning of the pandemic we knew we needed to act swiftly to ensure that the support provided was aligned to the specific needs of our teams during this time. We knew what we were facing was unprecedented; staff were not only working to provide care but also dealing with the implications of this on their family lives. It was important then to ensure that our teams were supported both physically and emotionally.
“With help from Nottingham Hospitals Charity fundraising campaign we were able to establish dedicated staff wellbeing centres in our Hospitals. These spaces provide a sanctuary from the normal working environment where staff can take a break, refresh and access support from colleagues to help with specific needs when they have them. Sometimes it’s the simple things like a having a quiet space to go to, sharing a coffee with a caring colleague and talking about how they are feeling that makes all the difference – simply, caring for them as they care for others. Staff have really valued these facilities and they have been an important part of our response to the pandemic.”
Helen Mancini added: “It was clear from the research that providing a calm space for our colleagues to rest, recuperate and receive peer support was going to be essential for staff wellbeing during this challenging time. With the support from Nottingham Hospitals Charity and Team NUH the Wellbeing Centres were mobilised very quickly. Some routine work had stopped at NUH due to COVID-19 and colleagues from these specialties came forward to volunteer their services which meant we could staff the rooms from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. Everyone involved went the extra mile to ensure the rooms were ready, staff received training and rotas organised. To date 8594 staff have attended the rooms, 5135 have taken the time to stop and rest. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and the Trust is keen to see the Wellbeing Centres remain in some format going forward. An evaluation is currently in progress to determine what that might look. I couldn’t be more proud than I am now to work at Team NUH and I am equally proud of Nottingham Hospital Charity for their support and responsiveness. It has been and continues to be a real team effort.”
Barbara Cathcart Chief Executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity is proud of the charity’s track record of raising more than £40 million over the last twelve years and explains: “There are over two hundred NHS charities across the UK, which provide enhancements and extras that the NHS does not provide. We don’t replace what should be core NHS funding, such as personal protective equipment for staff. What we do provide are enhanced facilities like on-site parent accommodation for families of children in hospital; state-of-the-art equipment that would not otherwise be available; complementary therapies; research taking place by the clinicians and professors who treat patients locally; youth services for the transition from children’s to adult services; and much more besides. Importantly we also fund staff wellbeing, because we know that resilient and supported staff provide the best patient care – of particular importance at this time.”