Redeployment & Volunteering
During the pandemic, many of our finance colleagues across the country were redeployed into new roles to support front-line staff. Others volunteered to take up additional roles, such as supporting patients in their local community or delivering much-needed safety equipment and PPE to different hospitals. During lock-down, the country came together to clap for carers and all NHS staff who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure our healthcare system continues to deliver excellent care to our loved ones and friends. We clapped for our nurses, our doctors, our porters and cleaners, and we clapped for our finance colleagues who have worked day and night to support the front-line in whatever shape or form those roles came in.
Commissioner takes lead in staff testing
James Rimmer, Managing Director and Chief Finance Officer for Southampton and City CCG, was put at the heart of the keyworker testing programme during his redeployment for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Keyworker testing is a vital part of the NHS plan to combat Covid-19. For James, who is also Finance Director for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System, the major change in role came with the launch of the government’s new five-pillar testing strategy at the beginning of April. In particular, the challenge for James was to support the region’s contribution to the challenge to create a mass testing infrastructure across the UK . “At the time we were anticipating a big peak in hospital admissions in mid-April and there was talk of 40%-60% of our staff being off work with Covid-19, with testing offering the best way to get many of them back to work,’ says James. ‘I offered to get involved.’
Mark Songhurst’s role change during the pandemic to support the Procurement team.
“Finance staff are working hard on the front line and if we adopt some areas that we're looking at, we've got a really great future for finance.”
Using finance skills to support the front-line
Emma Emery was just one month into her new role of Deputy Director of Commissioning Finance at NHS England and NHS Improvement (South East) before being redeployed into new roles in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Taking up a Deputy Director role for the South East’s use of the Nightingale Hospital at Excel in London meant that Emma was working long days supporting the setup of a contingency plan for the South East, utilising her good organisational and leadership skills that being accountant gives you. Emma says, “I really wanted to use this time to make a significant difference and help front-line staff”. Emma worked alongside colleagues from London trusts, two ambulance service trusts, the Military, and many other organisations to deliver this programme of work.
Some of her daily activities included making sure that robust plans were in place to: move very sick and recovering patients between sites safely, secure supplies of medicine, oxygen masks and PPE, ensure mortuary and repatriation plans were in place, handle workforce issues such as finding enough staff to physically work in the sites whilst ensuring their safety was protected – the list goes on!
Emma says she has thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of her redeployment, “there’s a whole world outside finance and I feel like I’ve been right in the thick of it; supporting our front-line staff which has been incredibly rewarding. When the pandemic hit, I felt my contribution just in finance wasn't enough, which is why I volunteered for these roles”.
All in this together at Harrogate and District NHS FT
Several staff in the finance team at Harrogate and District NHS FT offered to volunteer their time in supporting the PPE team. Some of their responsibilities included: liaising with all departments to calculate PPE requirements, delivering stock, daily stock takes, and managing all logistics of collection and storage for the trust. “Being part of the PPE team made you realise the seriousness of Covid-19. It was a shock to see staff wearing full PPE on the wards and it certainly gave us more respect for clinical staff”.
Applying finance skills to PPE at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust
12 hour shifts and 7 day working weeks are uncommon in NHS finance, but that quickly became the case for Karen Mascia and the finance team as they volunteered to help organise trust PPE supplies as the pandemic hit.
FSD Volunteers in action
Skills Development Network colleagues have been finding additional ways to support their local services and their community’s response to Covid-19.
Read about South East Coast SDN Lead – Stuart Wayment’s story and Sara Braidwood, SDN Coordinator for the North West here:
Kim Sloane volunteered two days for cleaning within the maternity unit during the pandemic.
Hear about her experiences here:
"I have always admired our nursing staff but the nurse I was assisting last week was incredible. Starting work at 6:30am, we worked without a break until 12:10pm. She was then going onto the ward to finish a shift. She treated her first screening patient with the same care and attention as the final person she screened which was me. I am so glad that I took the time to be on the front line for the day. It gave me a new understanding of the difficult conditions the trust is working under. I will definitely volunteer again if the opportunity arises."
Lisa, Financial management assistant, The Christie NHS FT
Tom Burton, Operational Director of Finance at NHS England and NHS Improvement (East of England) discusses his redeployment during the pandemic.
“It’s been interesting and very challenging because in my usual finance role, I operate in a fairly black and white environment, but working to support supply chain during the pandemic wasn’t straight forward and we had to make stuff up as we went along since this was such a unique situation to deal with”
Volunteering as a runner for the oncology department.
Wayne Phillips, Private Patients and Overseas Visitors manager, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS FT, shares his experiences of volunteering as a runner for the oncology department. “It gave me the opportunity to feel like I was contributing to the team effort of the whole trust”
Community trust’s model behaviour
Matt Miles, a senior business partner at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, would usually spend his time supporting clinical teams to understand activity and cost data to help them improve services. But during the pandemic he has turned his analytical abilities on to the more pressing issue of understanding the resources the trust might need to meet virus-related demand.
Read the full story here:
Yellow Helpers at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
The Yellow Army initiative was set up in response to the pandemic and asked for non-clinical volunteers to support the frontline. The volunteers wore bright yellow t-shirts so they could be identified apart from their clinical colleagues. Jenny Foster, a business accountant for the trust volunteered for an intensive care ward. Read about Jenny’s experiences here:
Stephanie Sinnott a Deputy Business Accountant for the trust also volunteered for the Yellow Army. The night before her first shift she was asked to be redeployed to the ‘RotAHub’ team – they were trying to transfer all ward rotas onto an electronic form from paper copies. This was to help the senior operational and nursing staff within the trust to staff the wards to the correct number of patients and redeploy staff to Covid-19 wards if the additional resources were required. Read Stephanie’s full story here:
Vicky Gaulter, Director of Operational Finance at NHS England and NHS Improvement, shares her experiences of working at the Incident Coordination Centre for the East of England.
Vicky learnt a great deal from her redeployment ‘Finance isn’t just about number crunching, we can bring our skills to lots of situations that can really help.’ Watch full video to the right.