Tom Smerdon

Tom Smerdon
Director of Strategy and Sustainability

 

You may recall back in June Louise wrote a message about safety at work and the new guide and checklist produced to help teams assess their workspaces and make any necessary changes to create a "Covid safe" environment.

We know that some teams have made great progress with this and are working in new, safe and often innovative ways. However, we also recognise that some teams are yet to carry out their assessment and others have found it difficult to identify workable solutions.

We must change this and in particular ensure all colleagues are complying with the principles below:

  • The rules to follow are not optional.
  • Everyone has a responsibility to maintain social distancing, at a minimum of two metres, at all times.
  • Where this isn't possible you must seek an alternative, for example work in another space, work remotely and / or wear a mask and other appropriate PPE.

 

Following these principles is not just for your own safety, but that of patients, visitors and colleagues. If we don't comply we increase the risk of cross transmission of Covid and outbreaks. We also expose ourselves to the outcome of the NHS Test and Trace system – whereby several colleagues from the same team could be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days. This clearly presents a huge operational challenge and will impact patients and the team.

I think one of the key things to recognise is that with 4000 plus colleagues and a multitude of different staff working, rest and communal areas this isn't something that we can do for everyone, it really has to be joint effort. We have established a process to help teams who encounter difficulties, but we do need all areas to complete this workplace assessment process and ensure all possible changes are enacted immediately. The process is as follows:

  • The starting point remains for managers to work through the "Working Safely During Covid Checklist" which will help to ascertain if your workplace is "Covid safe" or whether changes need to be made. This applies to all spaces across the Trust and not just individual teams – so if you share a work space with other teams the managers should work through the checklist jointly.
  • If this identifies that mitigations are required the next step is to refer to the Workplace Safety Guidance. This is a relatively short and straightforward document that contains a wealth of helpful guidance and actions on enabling social distancing, organising your workspace, using common / shared areas, cleaning and good hygiene, travelling to work and moving around buildings and working in other people's homes. You can access this here. Most teams will find the advice they need within this document so please do read through it. If you do need any help with the guidance then please contact your HR Business Partner or email the HR team.
  • If you've worked through the checklist and guide but there are still issues you are unable to overcome to make your workplace safe then please escalate these to your Divisional Lead. They can then contact the Estates Silver Cell Group who can offer help and advice and look at broader options across the Trust. For example if, despite your best efforts, shared rest areas are a problem for your team and you are unable to mitigate the risk of too many colleagues using shared facilities at the same time with social distancing in place, the group will help to identify solutions and other spaces you can use.

 

We really do need the support of you all to make this happen. Please ensure your areas have been assessed and any issues are escalated. To help clarify the process we have produced a flow diagram available via the intranet.

Let's re-double our efforts to make Ashford and St Peter's a safe place to work.

With thanks for your ongoing support.

Tom Smerdon
Director of Strategy and Sustainability
Chair of the Estates Silver Cell Group