East of England NHS Reserve Newsletter – June 2022
The Norfolk & Waveney Reservist programme started life as an early adopter pilot on the back of supporting the regional Bring Back Staff workforce programme across the NHS. This aimed to encourage former workers to support the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pilot set out to create a pool of dedicated, fully trained workers that supplement permanent and bank resources across the system of health and social care providers. The workforce would be enabled to stand-up in times of additional or surge demand for services and support emergency resilience to undertake paid work.
The pilot has grown in scope and capacity, supporting hospital and largescale vaccination sites managed by Cambridge Community Services. All three acute hospital and Norwich Community Hospital have benefited from a regular supply of Reservist workers to the extent that many vaccination hubs were staffed entirely by Reservists, freeing up hospital staff to support vital day to day services. Reservists have also contributed significantly to a reduction in the need for agency supplied workers. The Norfolk & Waveney programme has become a leading authority in this new concept of emergency workforce resilience and peripatetic workforce delivery. Norfolk & Waveney provided much of the practical and operational know-how to support the national launch of the NHS Reserve in England in February 2022.
The scheme continues to support clinical delivery and corporate support with deployments in a wide range of services. Our Reservist workers enjoy variety, meaningful work and, in many cases, more adaptable and shorter shift patterns due to the nature of those deployments.
The Reserve has provided a springboard for many students starting out on their clinical careers, looking to increase their patient facing experience and those retirees who are looking to deploy many years of knowledge and experience on a less frequent basis and without the rigours of daily shifts. Workers at every stage in their life and careers find their way to us, with different skills and availability and they all find their niche. We have even supported 14 former retirees back to practice, resuming their professional registration with a licencing body.
The Reserve is an essential component to provide capacity and resilience in our workforce and our dedicated Reservist workers will proudly support us through busy winter demand in a range of roles, locations, and services. If you live on the boundaries of Norfolk and Waveney region, we can still offer you meaningful work through our collaborative Reserve with partner health and social care organisations in Suffolk and Northeast Essex.
Ongoing dedicated training, pastoral support, continued recognition, and a friendly approachable programme team are the reasons many of our loyal Reservists continue to work with us, alongside their passion to support patients and local communities.
We are actively recruiting and would love to hear from you if you think you think the Reserve might be just right for you.
The programme team is dedicated to supporting our Reserve workforce and our local NHS and social care partners to meet with workforce needs in times of increased demand. We are passionate about safe, compassionate care delivery and work tirelessly to grow our workforce and offer a positive experience in all aspects of our work.
Join our Reservist Community
Registration is quick and easy and we will support you every step of the way, through on-boarding to your first shadow shift.
Our lively community offers regular keep in touch and social activities including newsletters and items to keep you in touch with like-minded colleagues.
We are recruiting now to build our Reserve in Norfolk and Waveney and surrounding region and would like to hear from you.
Details our open vacancies are show below. Please follow the appropriate link to commence your application. Once submitted the appropriate team will be in contact.
Cambridge & Peterborough
Ward Runner https://www.healthjobsuk.com/job/v5493908
Clinical Professional (Registered) https://www.healthjobsuk.com/job/v5493855
Admin & Clerical https://www.healthjobsuk.com/job/v5493922
Each new Reservist is paired up with a buddy on day one. “Buddying has both a clinical and a personal dimension,” says Mark. “Many returning nurses hold temporary NMC registrations, so need ongoing supervision. If your buddy does the supervising, that provides camaraderie and reassurance. We also run shadow shifts to ease people back into practice. Some returners had 30 years of experience, but were worried that their skills were rusty. Having a buddy makes returning less daunting.”
The team invests a lot of effort in communication. “This is a high welfare programme,” Mark stresses. “We talk to everyone weekly and we know them all by name. We also make a point of saying ‘thank you’ – congratulating the group on working 5,000 hours in the last few months, for example.” A monthly newsletter highlights individual efforts, and a monthly Reservists Zoom call is well-attended despite its evening timeslot. “We regularly get 40 or more Reservists joining,” says Mark. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm. People share anecdotes, training tips, even local newspaper articles.”
One unexpected bonus has been the lack of workplace politics. “There’s a real team spirit. People are very focused on the task,” Mark comments. “Some returners were very senior people, but they are not interested in hierarchy or career now – they’ve put all that behind them. It’s been a levelling experience.” Nurse returner, Lynda Barnes, agrees: “There’s a real family feel in the team and I’ve had all the training and support I need. Despite my career break, it all came back to me very quickly.“
Initial training is thorough within a narrowly-defined scope “We didn’t want to scare people off with a huge, daunting programme that might take months to complete,” says Mark. “We created a mandatory programme that wasn’t too onerous and that landed well. People felt competent and confident to practice after completion.”
Frank Shannon, an RAF veteran and qualified nurse who returned to the NHS in November 2020 agrees: “We received all the training we needed through a combination of online modules and practical life support training in person, plus individual training on systems. The support has been excellent and well-organised.”
“We’ve acquired a flexible workforce almost as an accidental by-product of the programme,” Mark marvels. “For years we’ve tried to break down the glass walls between organisations. Now we have the agility we previously struggled to achieve. The Reservists are a genuine peripatetic workforce that works flexibly across ICS, PCN networks and vaccination hubs. “
For providers, seeing is believing. “The experience, knowledge and professionalism of the Reservists has played a huge part in the success of our staffing model across our Large Scale Vaccination sites,” comments Lucy Dennis, Operations Lead for the Covid-19 Mass Vaccination Programme. “The end-to-end support from the Norfolk and Waveney Reservist team and the efficiency and flexibility of the booking process have been a real asset. Our partnership with them has helped us improve the efficiency of our integration and deployment models as a Lead Provider across the health and social care system.”
The question on everyone’s mind is what next? “Many people are thinking about longevity now,” says Mark. “We’re running focus groups asking Reservists what would make it interesting and worthwhile for them to continue. Personally, I feel passionately about this programme. I’d feel a huge sense of loss if it didn’t continue in some form. The biggest lesson for me has been the generosity of the human spirit – so many people have been willing to step up and help. How can we continue to recognise and build on that goodwill?”
For all booking related enquiries, including if you are a service user and would be interested in utilising the NHS Reserve workforce, please email: NHSreservebookings@nnuh.nhs.uk
If you are interested in the Medical Support Worker (MSW) programme, please email: email@example.com