“Most of my family work within the NHS and I would never hear the end of it if I didn’t roll up my sleeves and get stuck in!”
As part of our support to the NHS during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Carey temporarily swapped his role as Consultant Liaison Manager at our new hospital (opening in the autumn), Nuffield Health at St Bartholomew’s, to work as a hospital ward administrator at Royal London Hospital, part of Barts Health NHS Trust. Joe tells us about how he got on.
Joe, why did you choose to support the NHS?
I chose to support the NHS because I felt it was the right thing to do and that I was in the best position to help out. I live in Central London, am young(ish!), I enjoy good health and do not cohabit with vulnerable or elderly people. Also, most of my family work within the NHS and I would never hear the end of it if I didn’t roll up my sleeves and get stuck in!
Tell us about the role you did. What do you enjoy about your role with the NHS?
My role at the Royal London Hospital (part of Barts Health NHS Trust) encompassed many different and varied tasks including:
- Triaging visitors and patients on arrival, checking for symptoms, issuing face masks and hand sanitiser and answering general questions
- Receiving, unloading and distributing food and clinical materials across the hospital and ensuring that stock of clinical materials and PPE are replenished on the storage shelves
- Welcoming redeployed clinical staff members to the hospital and directing them to their allocated floors and wards
Now your secondment has finished, what was the highlight?
The highlight of the experience for me was watching the ward teams take their break to discover mountains of high-quality food and snacks that had been donated from local suppliers. You could see this simple act of generosity touched them a great deal and it felt good to be a part of that. There were also a few moments over the weeks when patients and visitors would come back to thank me for helping them or would wish me well for volunteering to be there. I wouldn’t say I did this to be thanked but it’s always appreciated when people take the time to say a nice thing.
How was your role with the NHS different to your role at Nuffield Health?
Too different to compare really! Fortunately, I have worked in similar roles in the past such as Clinic Receptionist and Medical Records Clerk, so it’s rather like stepping into an old pair of boots. My role with Nuffield Health does require an in-depth knowledge of patient referral and treatment pathways and so it has been interesting to see how things compare between the NHS and independent healthcare providers.
Is working for the NHS different to what you expected? If so, in what way?
Yes and no. I guess I didn’t really know what to expect when I agreed to support the NHS. Like everyone else, I had seen the news reports about how much pressure the NHS was facing but, even so, seeing it in person was certainly a reality check.
What would you say to someone else at Nuffield Health who is thinking of supporting the NHS?
I recommend doing your bit and supporting the NHS. The staff have been welcoming and I have also been well supported by Nuffield Health’s Human Resources (HR) team throughout my redeployment. There are good and bad aspects, as with anything, but the nice feeling at the end of the day of knowing you’ve helped support a national effort makes it all worthwhile – it also gets you out of the house for a bit!
What were the people that you worked with like?
The NHS teams are very nice, welcoming and incredibly grateful for our support. Many of them have been required to double up and wear multiple hats so that they can co-ordinate the redeployment and volunteer effort whilst keeping up their day jobs – unsung heroes every one of them!
The people I am working most closely with are a combination of redeployed non-clinical team members from Nuffield Health’s fitness and wellbeing centres and from Barts Health NHS trust. I’ve enjoyed working alongside them all. We are all a similar age and that has provided a social element. There are plenty of laughs to be had to make the hard work and early mornings easier!