‘It’s tough out there, everyone is doing an amazing job’

Isle of Wight Health Branch Secretary, Jay Chappell, has returned to the frontline during Covid-19. He told us a bit about his new ‘normal’ during the crisis.

“Normally I have full time release as the chair of staff side and branch secretary. Since Covid-19 hit, normal business kind of stopped as you would expect. Social distancing meant we were unable to meet with staff and have meaningful consultation, so I worked with our colleagues in HR to work out a plan to pause what could be paused, in terms of organisational changes within the Trust.

It was inevitable I would return back to my substantive role as HCA on an emergency surgical ward, but I was aware that our community division were very busy and a lot of effort and resources were focused on Acute, as you can imagine. I enquired if I could be of any assistance to them and I was snapped up. I have never worked in the community but have lots of transferable skills, I was always a champion of inpatients, in getting them home, so it is interesting to see patients in their home and championing keeping them at home and away from hospital at this difficult time.

I’m also supporting my neighbour, who normally has a daily visit by 2 district nurses. After a discussion with my neighbour’s family and his nurses I was able to take over his care needed freeing up 2 nurses to do other things at this busy time. 

There are lots of changes across the Trust, in readiness for the situation escalating. Areas being used for different purposes staff moving from where they normally work to staff other areas, non-clinical staff being retrained to do some clinical duties, obviously this can be concerning for staff being out of their comfort zones but on a whole staff have taken the challenge and rode with it

It is important to remember that the IOW NHS Trust is the only fully integrated trust in the country encompassing Acute, Community, Mental Health and Ambulance.The planning, and readiness for Covid-19 across all services has been tough, and information and situations changed often sometimes hourly.

Something that is really keeping teams going though, is how everyone works together to keep spirits up. Teams have been making ‘Tiktok’ videos, local businesses and public have been donating lots of stuff, which is being distributed across the Trust, and the Thursday 8pm clapping is really appreciated, along with the pictures of rainbows sent to us from children.    

Its tough out there and everyone is doing an amazing job whether on the front line, or staying at home. It’s no fun doing a 12 hour shift in full PPE, or being away from family or loved ones to keep them safe. There is not enough gratitude or thanks we can give to you all.

Keep safe and well.”

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