Sailors help to ease pressures at Wigan's hospitals
Wigan hospitals are being buoyed by support from Royal Navy personnel as part of a Greater Manchester initiative to manage the impact of Covid-19.
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) welcomed 15 military staff at the beginning of the year to help manage the ongoing impacts that the Omicron variant has had on the delivery of hospital services.
Following training, the servicemen have been deployed to help support the Emergency Department, Same Day Emergency Care (SDEC), as well as other escalated areas and where the need is the greatest.
Some examples of the type of work that has been undertaken includes general ward duties, cleaning to support the maintenance of Infection Prevention Control measures, assisting with portering, help with mealtimes and drinks, answering ward telephones and dealing with queries, maintaining stock, and acting as runners to laboratories and pharmacies.
Richard Fitchett, who works in Warfare, heads up the team who are normally based in Plymouth and Portsmouth.
He said: “We are essentially lightening the staff workloads and assisting the nurses that work on the ward.
“We are normally the patients, so seeing it from a different point of view has been a real eye opener for us.”
Louise Hogan, Housekeeper on Bryn Ward North, said: “They are all so well mannered, friendly and so helpful.
“They are making such a difference and really helping us out.”
Though they would normally be working on a ship or undergoing engineering training, the sailors are currently staying on dry land in hotels in Wigan, while supporting the Trust.
WWL Chief Executive, Silas Nicholls said: “This support has assisted us to stabilise the current pressures on staffing and to allow our clinicians to focus on the provision of clinical care as we prepare our sites for full restoration of activity.
“We are extremely thankful for the assistance which further enhances the unwavering efforts of all our colleagues to manage the increased pressures on our services.”
A Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Parntership report says that the pressures on hospitals is gradually beginning to ease.
It adds: “The support being provided in hospitals by army and navy personnel has been well received by staff and patients during this period of sustained pressure.
“The military deployment will finish as planned on February 25 with a 50 per cent reduction expected from next week.
“This has had a positive impact on services and feedback from each organisation will be requested for future use and
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