Guest Blog | Dave Harris - CWP Director of People and Organisational Development

24 September 2020

How are you?

This question is more vital than ever before. The last few months have been tough for each and every one of us and now, as we face increasing COVID-19 restrictions alongside winter preparedness, it is more important than ever that we pause to check in on each other and, crucially, ourselves. For many weeks the nation applauded health and care workers and that recognition continues but we’re only human and many of us are tired and worried – and it’s okay to admit that.Back in March I contracted the coronavirus and I was scared. I’d had flu years before but this was more sinister. The physical symptoms were nasty but the emotional impact was just as great. I felt guilty because I wasn’t in work “doing my bit” along with everyone else and each evening I felt anxious not knowing whether I would survive the night without being admitted to hospital. What got me through it was the support my family and my amazing colleagues. They encouraged me to share my vulnerability, they listened and never judged. They helped me to feel safe and cared for. So, please share how you are feeling. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to speak up if you are not getting it. If you see someone else you can help please do so. If you are a line manager remember it is one of your core responsibilities to look after the wellbeing of those you manage.

As we approach the winter season alongside a rise in coronavirus infections care and safety is needed like never before. With that in mind we are about to start our flu vaccination campaign and I would urge you to get your flu jab. This is not about targets or money. The coronavirus can kill, so can flu. We want each of to be as safe as we can be. We want our families to be safe. We want the people we serve to be safe. We know from an NHS survey  that patients feel safer, and are more likely to get vaccinated themselves, when they know staff are vaccinated too. Furthermore, many of our community groups who are vulnerable to flu are also more vulnerable to COVID-19. Not only do we want to help protect those most at risk of flu, but also protect the health of those who are vulnerable to hospitalisation and death from COVID-19 by ensuring they do not get flu.

Free flu vaccinations will be available from 1st October and we will be using a new COVID secure appointment booking system which should make things easier. So, please get your flu jab, not because I’ve asked you to, but because it matters. Take care of others, by taking care of yourselves.

Finally, I started this blog talking about my experience of the last few months but it is vital that we understand what your experience has been. You will soon be receiving this year’s NHS Staff Survey and I encourage you to complete it. The survey is anonymous and gives us vital information on what is going well, what isn’t going so well and what more we can do to support you to be the best you can be. And remember, if you do need immediate extra support, Workforce Wellbeing are here for you cwp.workforcewellbeingservice@nhs.net or 01244 397676.

Thank you for being amazing.

Dave

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