For over 15 years Venn Group have been privileged to support the National Health Service and this year we have been witness to the grit and determination our candidates and clients have demonstrated in the face of such adversity. Everyone has their own story and we have had many poignant conversations around the impact personally and professionally this pandemic has had. We wanted to share some of these insights and most importantly thank everyone who has worked tirelessly to keep the NHS moving forward.
Senior Primary Care Transformation Manager - CCG
“I have a real sense of pride in being part of the programme that delivers hope.
I started in November and we launched straight into getting ready for the COVID vaccination mobilisation. The health service has done flu vaccinations programmes for many many years, but this was on a whole different scale and a whole different level of urgency. Guidance was changing every few hours and it was game of catch up.
You have to learn as you go along, there is no set process for delivery, no model in terms of the governance and risk, and the clinical and operational model are evolving as you are going live. Normally with a programme you start with a plan of steps you are going to take and know what the end is going to look like. Whereas we entered this project with no clarity on what the end or even the midpoint would look like. So it’s literally flying by the seat of your pants everyday trying to control a real time programme. It was about being able to operationalise without knowing your variables.
So, it has been a very, very different beast in terms of programme delivery but a really unique one and the experience has been emotional, life changing and life affirming.”
Senior Supply Chain Manager - Acute Trust
“Wave one was a very difficult period especially around the feeling of having to deal with the unknown. Most people never experience the level of pressure, anxiety, stress and fear there was especially for such a long sustained period of time in their lifetimes that I experienced during wave one.
However having to be adaptable, flexible, innovative and creative in the face of adversity, and keeping total focus whilst there was so much going on around me to ensure patients received the best possible care, made me feel immensely proud in being able help and make a real difference to service levels.
Also I felt great sadness and a feeling of loss when working in and around the hospital seeing so many unfortunate people who never made it through. I felt angry at all those people who questioned whether this was really happening or some other form of conspiracy theory.
Overall and although I haven’t really had the opportunity to fully reflect on events as wave two took hold, I feel immensely proud of what I’ve achieved”.
Senior NHS Comms and Engagement Consultant - CCG
“There have been so many challenges, perhaps the most challenging dynamic of it all has been people. It’s been very hard to identify, recruit and retain appropriately qualified, experienced and knowledgeable people in order to build a team into a cohesive, reliable, recognised and valued service as many people were naturally fearful of being exposed to COVID despite all the PPE and precautions being taken to protect people.
Also having to deal with a disaggregated national supply chain resulted in new processes having to be created in order to maintain accurate reporting and ensuring adequate supplies of PPE and medical consumables were always available.
Personal challenges for me have been working away from loved ones for long periods of time, sacrificing family time in order to do whatever I could to help and trying to remain positive that normality will return to daily life.
One of the biggest challenges I face is fatigue. Being part of an excessive virtual meeting culture is exhausting mentally and physically. My first impressions of working from home is that it was a luxury, however I now view it more as a constraint. I definitely feel a lot more overworked and drained, the lines become blurred between personal and work life balance.
There are also high expectations during this critical time. However the recognition/praise of work is harder when working from home, whereas before there was more interaction and involvement with various stakeholders who were more acutely aware of the great work I was doing.
Another challenge is having the lack of a personal touch, no means to assess body language of others in a conversation, no human contact, which seems in the long term to reduce productivity and efficiency of yourself and the team.
We had a huge success improving knowledge, understanding and attitude towards the COVID vaccination programme, reduced vaccine hesitancy and enhanced vaccine uptake through organising interactive community engagements through virtual and traditional engagement channels. I also helped a number of seldom heard groups through behavioural change activities and improved patient outcome. However, through sound understanding of health inequality, effective dialogue, impactful engagement and clear and concise communication, the whole group have said they have changed their minds and that they would all take the vaccine.”
Venn Group would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the health service and especially our candidates who rose to the challenge and played their part in supporting our NHS.