Spotlight to be shone on NHS workers who keep our buildings running
Cooks, cleaners and other unsung heroes who work behind the scenes to keep our hospitals and health buildings running smoothly are to be celebrated this week.
Solent NHS Estates and Facilities is taking part in the first National Healthcare Estates and Facilities Day on Wednesday, aimed at raising the profile of the important work which goes on in the background, largely out of sight.
Over the past year, Solent’s Estates and Facilities team of more than 300 has worked quietly and calmly to ensure its many sites, mainly across the Southampton and Portsmouth area, continue to operate safely and effectively.
Its busy catering team had to adapt to meet extra demands on their usual role of providing patients with three meals a day. Additional tasks included providing drinking water for staff and making up hundreds of “grab bag” packed meals for vaccination centre teams.
Likewise, Solent’s cleaners, already used to wearing protective masks, gloves, gowns and occasionally goggles, had to increase cleaning of “touch point” areas on wards and in public places.
The tight-knit security teams worked closer than ever during the pandemic to maintain service levels at Solent’s sites against a backdrop of covid related constraints.
Over the last year, security officers had additional tasks on top of the usual day job – such as covering portering duties, like receiving oxygen and emergency linen deliveries.
Meanwhile Solent’s 18-strong maintenance team, who deal with everything from dripping taps to electrical failure, handled 6,792 job requests in their first year of being fully in-house.
But the work didn’t stop there.
Despite the pandemic, Solent NHS Estates’ projects team pushed on with numerous exciting transformation schemes putting patients and staff at the heart of future healthcare.
In April 2021, the doors opened on the organisation’s modern combined health hub in the middle of the Swan Centre in Eastleigh.
The former Chinese restaurant was transformed into a multi-purpose health facility housing a children’s therapy service and sexual health clinic. As well as providing better, more accessible treatment for patients, the scheme has resulted in an improved working environment for staff.
Work continued on an ambitious extension, alteration and refurbishment to transform Maples psychiatric intensive care unit at St James’ Hospital, Portsmouth.
It was also a significant year for our clinical engineering team, which moved into new premises in Portsmouth and set up the organisation’s first medical equipment library.
Now every member of Solent NHS Estates and Facilities is to receive a thank you cupcake and a specially designed badge as a small token of appreciation for all their hard work.
The day also sees the launch of Solent NHS Estates and Facilities’ first staff awards, with one outstanding team member set to receive a surprise accolade including a voucher, framed certificate and a unique gold version of the badge – a one-off just for them, produced in recognition of their incredible achievement.
A new publication called Our Year 2021-22, showcasing some of the team’s highlights and achievements from the past year, is also being released as part of the day.
Mark Young, Associate Director of Estates Transformation, said: “Although so much of our work goes on in the background and is primarily about buildings, we are absolutely an industry of people.
“It’s our passionate and committed staff who determine our success, and this day of national celebration provides us with the perfect opportunity to thank them for everything they do.”
Andrew Strevens, Chief Executive, Solent NHS Trust, said: “Our Estates and Facilities team has an excellent reputation which just keeps growing. We are lucky at Solent to have such an amazing group of people who pull together to deliver outstanding results; the team is critical in the delivery of continued high quality patient care and I welcome this opportunity to recognise and celebrate that.”