COVID-19 has been a period of great adjustment for everyone working across the public sector landscape, and the Workforce and OD team has been staying connected to our key networks to enable and support during the active phase of the crisis. This past month we have been focusing on the power of connection and peer support when working remotely, and how this can create brilliant opportunities for collaborative working and emotional support.
C&M OD Network; Coming Together to Share Resources
The C&M OD Network have been working hard to support staff across our partner organisations during the pandemic. The network, made up of OD leads and practitioners from across C&M, has been pivotal in enabling organisational level support for staff on the frontline, developing a raft of health and wellbeing initiatives. The HCP Workforce and OD team have been working with the community to collate and share their collective intelligence and resources during the pandemic.
We now have a collection of over 50 health and wellbeing resources ranging from wellbeing apps and support for virtual and remote working, to leadership resources and covid19 OD response strategies. Responses from the network so far indicate that this has been a helpful approach and we are continuing to compile and share these resources across the network as they develop.
To create connection points during social distancing, we have hosted two virtual C&M OD Network meetings in March and April, with over 30 people from our OD community attending. This forum has proved hugely helpful for peer learning, and to share knowledge on key issues affecting our OD community at this time. Discussions so far have focused on approaches to staff health and wellbeing, how we are capturing the innovations and new ways of working that are developing during this period of change, and how we can support leaders to reflect on and understand their leadership behaviours on the journey to the new ‘normal’.
Going Virtual; Reflective Spaces for Connection
At the end of April, we hosted a virtual Schwartz Round in collaboration with colleagues from Mid Cheshire, as a support space during the pandemic. Schwartz Rounds are “a group reflective practice forum which provides an opportunity for staff from all disciplines to reflect on the emotional aspects of their work” (Point of Care Foundation 2020).
Evidence shows that staff who attend Rounds feel less stressed and isolated, with increased insight and appreciation for each other’s roles. Over 40 people from clinical and non-clinical roles joined virtually to discuss the topic of ‘Dealing with a new world – Responding to Covid 19’.
A panel of clinicians including Intensive Care, A&E and nursing colleagues discussed their experiences, challenges and learning during the Covid19 pandemic. Participants reported that this had been a helpful and positive experience, where they realised they were not alone in their thoughts and feelings during the crisis;
“Really useful to hear the speakers thoughts…and to help me reflect on the past few weeks too.”
“Fantastic session today. Good to know that other people are experiencing the same feelings and you're not alone.”
“I found this very helpful to hear what other departments are doing around the Trust and the challenges they have faced.”
“Useful to hear other's reflections and to see that we are all sharing the same anxieties and experiences.”
(Participants from virtual Schwartz Round)
We are also exploring other forms of reflective spaces as part of our support to the active and recovery phases of Covid19.
Memorandum of Understanding; Mobilising our People during Covid19
The Workforce and OD team have been working collaboratively with our health partners in the system to finalise an MOU to facilitate the movement of staff, with their agreement, to help support the management of Covid19.
The MOU is now in place and signed by providers, CCG’s, NWAS, CSU and the Arms Length Bodies across the North West. This has been agreed with all of the recognised Trade Unions in the North West, and is a positive example of the collaborative working across multiple stakeholders in response to the crisis.
Due to issues of indemnity, it is not yet possible to use this MOU for the transfer of staff between NHS and non NHS bodies; however we are expecting a national resolution to this over the next few weeks.
Supporting Staff Health and Wellbeing
Over the past two months, many staff have found themselves working in different ways and in different environments and for some this transition will bring challenges. Preserving and protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of staff is critical as we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. It is essential that organisations take every effort to support the physical and mental wellbeing of the workforce, to enable staff to stay healthy and protect themselves, colleagues, patients and families as we continue to deliver services through this challenging period.
In Cheshire and Merseyside all NHS providers have a comprehensive package of support, which is enhanced by the HCP offer and the national NHSEI health and wellbeing offer. The national NHSEI offer is widening to support colleagues from social care, in the coming weeks.
Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr this year will occur during the Covid19 outbreak. The NHS Muslim Network and BIMA would like to commend all staff attending to patients affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This is a great act of giving and sacrifice and the rewards in Ramadan will be multiplied manifold.
It is important during this time, that managers and colleagues consider the health and well-being of Muslim staff, and likewise, it is advised that staff observing Ramadan have early conversations with managers to discuss any support they might need and to mitigate any risks to the service and to patient care.
This update has been submitted by the CMHCP Workforce and OD team. The team’s focus is on enabling and supporting workforce and organisational health and resilience across the partnership. If you would like to connect to the team, please contact;