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Chief Nurse's Blog

Chief Nurse’s Blog

Date of release: 4 August 2020

Latest News: Ann-Marie Cannaby Blog

In this week’s blog I am focusing on the huge milestone achieved by the Trust’s in-house visor production team, who have packed away their rivet press for the final time following the production of 250,000 visors.

At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, when the demand for PPE shot up astronomically and national supplies were stretched, this group of individuals, all redeployed from their normal roles, helped to keep our frontline staff safe. 

Thanks to the design of Dave Ellis, Maxillofacial Laboratory Manager, and under the leadership of Mel Riley, Advanced Clinical Practitioner in ophthalmology, this diverse team came together and produced an average of 5,000 visors a day; protecting staff and offering a sense of security at a challenging and uncertain time. 

Instead of being completely reliant on external suppliers, staff took the initiative and found a solution from within the organisation; it is an outstanding effort and is but one of the many examples where our staff have swiftly responded to issues created by the pandemic.  

I am aware that several people joined the team while shielding from the frontline; this for them, like for many others, must have been an extraordinarily scary time, but I thank them for focusing their energy into this project as it has made a huge impact on our ability to keep staff safe and has reduced some pressure on our hard working procurement teams. 

What is also great to hear, from a recent Schwartz Round session, is that the staff have really enjoyed their time on the production line and are walking away from the experience having gained new friends. I am delighted that this is the case as it is exactly the kind of ‘togetherness’ we need to keep motivated at this time. 

The NHS now finds itself in a much better position regarding visors, so many members of the team will be returning to their original areas of work; attempting to pick up where they left off and catch up after time away. I hope that they find this transition smooth and are supported as they re-familiarise themselves.  

Others may continue to shield and will be redeployed once again - adjusting to a different role, a different team and a different way of working. It is this adaptability that has kept our key services running and our patients cared for. 

Thank you so much visor team for all you have done!

And finally, a big thank you to all the redeployed staff across the Trust. Over 800 individuals have been redeployed, many of these from corporate areas, into roles that they had not previously encountered.  

It’s important not to forget the critical ‘behind the scenes’ functions that have, directly or otherwise, supported staff and enabled those on the frontline to carry out their duties. For example:

  • Members of the information team, who were tasked with monitoring and filling hand gel dispensers at Trust entrances - supporting our infection prevention team and helping to prevent the spread of the virus

  • The commissioning and planning team, who supported our procurement service with the PPE request helpline, while other staff from a wide range of areas, including finance, supported with managing the stock and the lifting of numerous boxes

  • Staff from across all areas (nursing, medical, admin and more) supported the extremely busy occupational health COVID helpline – answering queries from staff and supporting with their concerns   
  • The 60 staff members, including allied health professionals and students, who supported hotel services with portering, catering, waste disposal and cleaning

You’ve all worked incredibly hard in high-pressure circumstances, filled gaps where new duties were established and took on new challenges in unfamiliar roles.

I thank you for taking on these tasks with commitment and determination, as they have been key in helping us to move forward in the fight against COVID-19.

Take care,

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham