THE chair of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS has been working in different departments at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.
Neil Masom has been helping in various roles to find out more about the impact that such unusual times are having on daily routines and how staff are all rising to the challenge.
He said: “On the one-hand these are motivating times to be a part of the NHS, being more valued by society than ever before, but on the other hand workplace stress, anxiety and concern over health, safety and wellbeing has never been greater. We have changed the way we all work in ways that would have been seen as unimaginable in the NHS just a few short weeks ago. We have coped with tragic circumstances, been there at the time of greatest need for people; and everyone I have seen and spoken to has risen to the challenge with great professionalism and care.
“It is not just on the front-line that things have changed. Almost everyone in the Trust is either doing things in a different way, or even doing completely different jobs having been re-deployed.
“This includes the board where our roles have changed as well. The national emergency has led to a much greater degree of central ‘command and control’ and the role of the board has changed accordingly to one of support and ensuring that we don’t lose sight of the strategic planning for the Trust and those things that need to continue unchanged.
“I have also felt it personally very important to find out a bit more about life working in different parts of the hospitals and how those working in the front line are feeling and coping.
“I have therefore tried to spend time every week, so far, primarily in two areas. Firstly, with our team of porters, because this team visits most parts of the Trust during their day to day duties.
“Secondly, I have been with the catering team, because it is here that most parts of the Trust visit at some point during the course of the day.
“Over the past few weeks, I have therefore joined the team in X-ray and scanning, I have emptied clinical waste bins and I helped out in A&E, as well as serving lunches in both the Southport and Ormskirk restaurants.
“This has only given me a snapshot of these different areas but I hope it has also given me insight into how people are feeling, what their concerns have been and how worries and uncertainties can creep in at times like this.
“I have therefore experienced first-hand the initial worry people have had about the use of PPE, whether we would have enough and how it should be deployed, the rules around clinical waste and that type of thing. I’ve also seen the results of some of the incredible community support we have received, from many thousands of Easter eggs to hand-made headbands that make wearing facemasks more comfortable.
“Some of the concerns I have been able to report back to the board and I hope this has helped in the Trust achieving things it can be truly proud of; becoming a leader in staff testing, PPE provision and staff well-being calls.
“Working alongside people such as Ray, Alan and Peter the porters, team leader Gary, Angela and Sally in the catering team and Collette in A&E, have really given me a fantastic insight into the workings of both hospitals, and how this pandemic has changed things.
“Despite the huge impact of this virus, for people both at home and in the workplace, everyone I have worked with and met over the past weeks continue to be so committed to their work and, despite these difficult times, the passion and professionalism of all the staff I have met really shines through. To me, everyone in the Trust is on the frontline in one way or another, whether that is support staff, the executive team, the cleaners, porters, doctors and nurses. We all work as one team, one family, to ensure that we deliver the best possible care for those who need our services. I have met a lot of people while doing this and want to continue to do so in the future.
“You can also support our hospital community by giving to our Covid-19 Urgent Appeal Welfare Appeal for staff, volunteers and patients on the dedicated Just Giving page.
“I want to thank all of the staff who are working so hard to keep our patients as safe and well as possible. Please keep up with the hard-work you are all doing as it is vital work indeed. Also remember that there is help and support for you in what are very difficult times. Please make sure you take time for your own health and resilience. Stay safe and thank you again.”