All Staff Update, Tuesday 28 July 2020

In this edition:

  • NDHT figures at a glance
  • International travel and potential quarantine
  • Rapid testing for COVID-19
  • Staff risk assessments
  • COVID Facebook Q&A
  • Nightingale job opportunities
  • Executive webinar
  • Road closure notice
  • Children’s epilepsy nurse
  • Survey on reasonable adjustments
  • Update on room bookings
  • Change to chaplaincy service
  • Thank you: finance team

Update from the COVID-19 Co-ordination Cell

NDHT figures at a glance

Updated guidance on international travel and potential quarantine

The changes to travel advice for Spain, which came into force over the weekend, highlights the rapidly changing picture around international travel.

We all need to be aware that if booking leave, involving travel abroad, we must be clear on the national quarantine rules that are in place at the time of booking and at the time of travel and how this might impact on the leave ‘period’.

Current Government regulations on international travel came into force in July 2020. This advice falls within two main areas;

  • Those countries that are listed as a common travel area or have travel corridors agreed and
  • Those countries who fall outside of the common travel area or do not have agreed travel corridors.

Updated guidance for staff is available here on the COVID-19 pages and covers:

  • Travel to a country with an agreed travel corridor
  • Travel to a country without an agreed travel corridor
  • Travellers who are excluded from the quarantine regulations
  • Swabbing for excluded staff and on return from countries with an agreed travel corridor
  • General advice about using paid/unpaid leave use for any quarantine period

We ask that you read the guidance fully and consider the risk associated with any international travel at this time.

New guidance on rapid testing for COVID-19

Over recent months we have had access to a limited number of rapid COVID tests. This has helped us facilitate patients’ access to urgent investigations and procedures, and support patient flow. Unfortunately, owing to the global demand for testing, we have been notified that we will have a reduced supply of rapid tests in the coming weeks. Therefore the Trust must ensure that the tests are utilised appropriately and have stocks available for when the need is greatest.

CRG and Gold have made the decision to reserve the rapid tests for time critical interventions and some limited scenarios where they may be used to facilitate admission avoidance.

Rapid tests would be appropriate in the following scenarios:

  • Time-critical cross-sectional imaging
  • Time critical operations
  • Time critical inter-hospital transfer
  • Direct admission to Victoria Ward
  • Care home discharge from ED where care homes refuse discharge unless COVID-19 test is undertaken.

Rapid tests will no longer be performed in the following scenarios:

  • Elective admissions/procedures where pre-admission screening has failed
  • Ward discharges to care home or with care package
  • To manage flow and side room capacity
  • Direct admission to stroke ward.

Laboratory staff are aware of the new criteria for rapid testing and will refuse to process samples which do not meet the criteria. Please ensure that clinical details on the request form justify any request for rapid testing. If a request is refused it is important to remember that laboratory staff are following guidance that has been agreed by the clinical leadership – please do not blame the messenger.

As we will no longer have capacity to use the rapid tests where pre-admission tests have failed, it is important that any team organising elective admissions has procedures in place to ensure that testing is undertaken in a timely fashion, and that test failures are picked up as soon as possible to enable repeat testing. This will minimise the risk of patients having their elective procedures cancelled on the day.

We will be reviewing this guidance on a regular basis.

Staff risk assessments – please complete yours online now

Our online risk assessment form is now live and available here or on the COVID-19 risk assessment pages.

We encourage all staff to complete their own risk assessment online this week which will then generate a risk score for that individual. It is vital that we understand the risks for our staff and in particular those staff who are:

  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff (BAME)
  • White European ethnicity aged 60+
  • Male
  • Underlying health conditions (Hypertension, CVD, DM, CKD, COPD, Obesity)
  • Pregnancy

If an employee is low or moderate risk their line managers will be informed of this score.

If an employee has a high or very high risk score their line manager will receive a link and be asked to complete the work place questions and discuss any relevant actions required.

NDHT COVID-19 Q&A – choose the topics

We will be running our next staff Q&A next Friday (7 August) in our private Facebook group. In a change to previous sessions you can choose the topics to be discussed.

If you would like to suggest a topic please contact the communications team at by the end of this week (Sunday 2 August).

The Q&A will start with a brief introduction and update on COVID-19 and the Trust’s response, it will then be open to general questions on the topics suggested. The date and time of the session will be confirmed next week and so will the participants.

If you haven’t joined our Facebook group yet, instructions are here: Please ensure you answer all joining questions and agree to the rules of the group or you will not be approved to join.

Are you interested in working at the Nightingale?

If you’re interested in working at Nightingale Hospital Exeter, come along to its open day – you’ll be able to see the hospital, speak to Assistant Director of Nursing, Chantal Baker, and get a feel of what it could be like to be a part of Team Nightingale.

The Nightingale will be running tours on Thursday 6 August between:

  • 2-2.45pm
  • 3-3.45pm
  • 4-4.45pm

Please note that owing to social distancing requirements, the maximum capacity is 10 people per time slot, so please only sign up for a spot if you’re seriously considering joining Team Nightingale.

Places will be given on a first come, first serve basis, and arrival instructions will be sent ahead of the day.

If you are interested in joining Team Nightingale but you cannot make 6 August, please register your interest to join a tour on the morning of Tuesday 18 August. More details to follow.

Click here to sign up for a tour on Thursday 6th August or register your interests for Tuesday 18th August

Please email if you have any questions.

Updates from the executive team

Catch up on this month’s executive webinar

If you weren’t able to watch this month’s executive webinar on Monday 27 July, you can catch up at this link.

Chief executive Suzanne Tracey was joined by medical director Adrian Harris, to discuss a wide range of topics chosen by you.

Topics included the ongoing collaborative agreement between NDHT and RD&E, the HIP2 infrastructure funding programme, shielding for staff, overseas travel, home working, serology testing and the continued need for staff to take some rest and recuperation time.

Other news

New CT scanner suite – road closure notice

Initial construction work will begin next week at NDDH in connection with the new CT Scanner suite. This initial phase of works will include groundworks and the building of retaining walls.

The work is taking place between the fracture clinic plaster room and the back of the emergency department and will require the road adjacent to the Seamoor unit to be closed to allow working space. Pedestrian access to the Seamoor unit will be maintained but the road and access path to physiotherapy will be closed for the duration of the works. Any patients who previously used the road for drop offs and pick ups from the Seamoor unit will now not be able to do so.

The project will start on Monday 3 August 2020 and is due to be completed by Christmas 2021. All departments directly affected by the works are being contacted to minimise any disruption.

New children’s epilepsy nurse role

Kate Stanton has recently been appointed as the Children’s Community Epilepsy Nurse. This new role provides support for children diagnosed with epilepsy and their families and covers North Devon.

She says: “Working with the lead consultant for neurology, Dr Helen Sammons, my main role is to be a point of contact for families in between hospital appointments. This may be to support families with the initial diagnosis, advice when there is a change in their seizures, managing medications, training for schools and other carers and any other challenges that a diagnosis of epilepsy can bring, as well as signposting to available resources. I will be working three days a week and provide support via phone, email or home visits.

“The response to my appointment from families has been really positive, and ensures the Trust are fulfilling the Nice guidance (Quality statement 5: Epilepsy specialist nurse | Epilepsy in children and young people | Quality standards | NICE, 2020) that all children with epilepsy, have access to an epilepsy nurse between their reviews.”

Contact Kate on or mobile: 07557832539

Survey: have you felt pressured to come to work despite being unwell, and are we doing enough to make reasonable adjustments for you?

Our results in the NHS Staff Survey over the past few years have shown that a number of staff have attended work despite not feeling well enough to do so. Our results have also shown that a number of staff feel we are not making reasonable adjustments, despite there being a recommendation to do so.

We want to gain a more detailed understanding of these two pieces of feedback and have created a short survey for staff. This will help us produce an action plan to address these concerns. Staff can complete the survey at:

Responses are completely anonymous and will provide us with invaluable feedback to help us create an effective action plan.

Important update on room bookings

Following on from the meeting room booking update in Friday’s staff email please note that due to room bookings not being cancelled when they are no longer required (particularly those that are no longer going ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions or where these meetings are now taking place via MS Teams) any meetings which were booked into the Raleigh Galley, Chichester Boardroom and Facilities Meeting Room have been cancelled.

These will need to be re-booked if they are still required. The only exception to this is Trust Board and Board sub-committee meetings.

Therefore, if you still require a meeting room booking please ensure that you refer to the BOB page for information on how to rebook.

Change to chaplaincy service

The chaplaincy service has announced that unfortunately from the end of this month it will no longer be able to sustain the current practice of answering overnight calls to respond to patients’ spiritual needs.

The service hopes that this may change in the future.

Thank you: Nigel Blacker, George King and Carron Holmes, finance team

Today’s thank you comes from Tash Koerner, Sue Smith and Hayley Back, Specialist Services Senior Managers.

They said: “Specialist services would like to say thank you to Nigel, George King and Carron Holmes for their financial acumen and ongoing support.

“Finance is more than a back office function for our services and we recognise how Nigel and his small team go above and beyond to support us and our subcontractors.

“During the pandemic their contribution has necessarily changed and increased but the quality and enthusiasm has remained. Nigel’s finance team are an asset to our services and a pleasure to work with”

Posted in coronavirus.

Last updated: July 28, 2020