CCG staff praised for going ‘above and beyond’ as they are redeployed to support frontline clinical services
Staff at NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are swapping their usual roles to support frontline clinical services.
Normally, the CCG’s work includes things like negotiating contracts, developing new services with hospitals or other NHS Trusts, and keeping local NHS finances under review. Many staff are nurses, doctors, or pharmacists who help make sure NHS services are working properly, ensuring the population is provided with appropriate medicines or putting in place packages of continuing health care for hundreds of local people.
Since the coronavirus pandemic, much of the CCG’s ‘business as usual’ work has been paused so that staff can be redeployed. They are either helping colleagues in key NHS services or setting up and supporting other work as part of the NHS response to the outbreak.
For example, the CCG has set up a virtual call centre to check that people who are more likely to become unwell due to coronavirus are OK. A prescriptions helpline has been expanded, staff who used to be nurses or other clinicians have joined clinical teams in local hospitals or other Trusts, the CCG has set up an Incident Control Centre, a Primary Care (GP Practices) response unit. Staff who usually run the finances have been out and about supporting GP practices with new IT and there’s now a small team dedicated to sourcing PPE on top of the national deliveries which are arriving.
Melanie Craig, Chief Officer of NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said: “In these incredibly challenging times our staff have gone above and beyond to support frontline clinical services. It’s important we do everything we can to support our colleagues across the health and care system.”
Among those who have been redeployed is Jo Maule, the CCG’s Integration and Partnerships Manager in west Norfolk. She has been making calls to high-risk patients as part of the virtual call centre which is making daily checks on vulnerable patients.
Jo said: “It has been great to be part of this project to create a whole new support service from scratch and switch our day to day work so we can make a contribution, however small, to supporting our frontline colleagues in protecting our local population through this pandemic.”
Colleague Cat Hamlet, Project Management Office (PMO) Support Officer, is also supporting the initiative. She said: “I am really happy to be able to support the virtual call centre in this difficult time. It is so rewarding to help and feel that we are making a difference.
Paul Higham, the CCG’s Associate Director of Primary Care Estates, has helped to establish a team to source PPE from local companies to support GP practices if stocks run low before national supplies arrive.
He said: “This is such a challenging time, but we’re doing our best to source what we can working alongside the national teams to keep our colleagues on the frontline and patients safe. My background is in NHS finance but it’s great to be able to support this vital work.”
Rachael Peacock, the CCG’s Head of System Resilience in the Urgent and Emergency Strategic Commissioning Team, is helping the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).
Rachael worked at NNUH for 17 years, from 1996 to 2013, mainly in intensive care and as a Matron in A&E. She worked as a service lead with the community nursing team before joining the CCGs in 2016 initially as a Lead Nurse in continuing health care. Rachael will soon be returning to work on the front line after completing a critical care refresher course at the hospital.
“Coming to help the staff was offered to me as an opportunity and I was honoured and proud to know I can make a difference during this crisis,” she said.
“I know this is a very difficult time for both patients and staff but I don’t feel frightened. I have worked in intensive care before and this experience will help. Some of my former colleagues will be there and I also know the training and support offered is really good.
“Knowing you can contribute to improving somebody’s health at such a critical time is very rewarding, and working in intensive care means you really have the ability to focus on one patient and provide a very high level of care.”
Kate Barlow, the CCG’s Senior Manager for Integrated Emergency Care, has also been redeployed to the NNUH. Kate worked for over 20 years at the NNUH having trained as a nurse and then spent the first half of her career so far in theatres, and the other half as a Matron in the private sector and in senior roles within NHS commissioning organisations.
Following refresher training and some shadow shifts at the hospital, Kate expects to be rostered for shifts on the intensive therapy unit (ITU) to support the clinical teams caring for patients.
It has been many years since Kate has worked clinically, however she knows that she will be well supported during her return to frontline duties. She said: “At a time like this, there’s a real demand for everyone who has a clinical background and I know any help is gratefully received.”
Danielle Jubb, a fast track care co-ordinator who is normally based at the CCG’s offices in Lakeside, Norwich, has been redeployed to the NNUH to carry out her role there.
She said: “Normally I source care for fast track patients who are at the end of their lives but here I am sourcing care for all types of patients. I personally see a huge benefit to working here. My job is normally quite fast-paced anyway but here it has been a different level. I am really enjoying my redeployment and feel good about assisting in such uncertain times.”