New Year's greeting from Caroline Clarke "It has been a monumental year for the NHS, and there’s no doubt that we still face enormous challenges. But as we reflect on 2020 and the extraordinary efforts of our staff, it's also time to look ahead to 2021, with the roll out of the vaccine bringing new hope. "We’re facing a very busy start to the year, and I’d like to take a moment to pause and thank all those members of staff who are working across the new year period. Your work is vital in ensuring that our patients receive excellent care. A huge thank you also to those who are currently redeployed and working in unfamiliar areas – your hard work and resilience are very much appreciated. I’m continually astounded by your sheer professionalism and resilience." Click here to read group chief executive Caroline Clarke's full new year's message. New vaccination centres open at RFL We're excited that from Monday (4 January), new vaccination centres will be opening at Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital. This is in addition to our existing centre at the Royal Free Hospital. All patient facing staff and staff deployed to a patient facing role are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Click here for full details, including information about how to book your appointment and details about the vaccination process. Please don’t forward the booking link to anyone else.Calling all nurses, midwives, HCAs/nursing assistants and therapists From the 1-14 January, the trust has agreed to pay an extra bank bonus to staff from the above staffing groups who are working in clinical wards and critical care areas. Substantive workers – you will get a bonus of £100 if you do three bank shifts in that period, on top of bank pay and enhancements (such as additional pay for unsocial hours). Bank only workers – you will get a bonus of £100 if you do 10 bank shifts in that period, on top of bank pay and enhancements.Urgent appeal to our staff This week our chief executives issued an appeal to all staff – if you are on leave, or have leave planned over the coming days, please can you defer to support our efforts. This is particularly important for clinical staff, but everybody has a part to play and non-clinical staff can be trained and redeployed on site where help is needed. To support these ongoing efforts, please contact your line manager to discuss any annual leave you may have booked, and ensure that all your annual leave arrangements are in line with the urgent changes made by the COVID executive group last week. Read more on Freenet. Schools returning Following the latest Government guidance on the return to school, secondary schools are expected to provide face-to-face teaching for the children of key workers, including NHS staff, from the first day of term. These groups should also be prioritised for testing. Primary schools will return as planned. A small number of primary schools plan to teach pupils remotely, however they are still expected to provide face-to-face teaching for children of key workers. More details are available here. No service on the Bakerloo line this afternoon Please be aware that there will be no service on the Bakerloo line from 2pm this afternoon, until the end of the day. TfL have passed on their sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused for key workers who use the Bakerloo line to get them to and from work. Please use the TfL journey planner to plan your journey.Staff parking at our hospitals Free parking for staff has been extended until the end of March. To park free of charge, you must be a pre-approved permit holder. To apply for a parking permit at Barnet Hospital (BH) and Chase Farm Hospital (CFH) please click here and download an application form. This will allow you to park free of charge for a further three months (until 31 March 2021). Staff who had a permit before COVID-19 will keep their existing permit. Permit parking is also in operation at the Royal Free Hospital (RFH). Eligible staff at RFH can apply for long term permits, and all staff can obtain day permits through the 'Just Park' flexible parking system – more information about this can be found on our Freenet parking pages. BH and CFH permits are not valid at the RFH. All temporary permits issued to 31 December 2020 have automatically been extended to 31 March 2021. Staff who have been redeployed from Chase Farm Hospital to Barnet Hospital over the festive and new year period will be able to park free of charge without requiring a permit. This applies until 8.30am, 4 January 2021. Those requiring parking after this date can apply for a permit – forms are available on Freenet. For further information please contact: RF-TR.CarParkingBCF@nhs.net.Visiting over New Year Until 4 January, all ward teams should continue to follow the already established ‘Compassionate Visiting Guidance', which can be found here. We are working to ensure there is a good supply of tablets on the wards to facilitate virtual visiting for those who must remain in hospital. We request that ward teams continue to make plans for virtual visiting calls. Guides to how to set up Zoom and FaceTime calls can be found here.Redeployment of staff Thank you to staff who are being redeployed to busy areas around our hospitals. The trust is looking to redeploy additional staff to support colleagues over the coming days. Please discuss any questions that you have about redeployment or how you can support in other areas with your line manager. All redeployment will be carried out in line with existing skills, and additional training is provided where it is needed. We have produced a redeployment guide to help managers, available here. You can direct queries to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the deployment team will be in touch. Staff accommodation requests Our accommodation services are operating additional hours until 4 January 2021:
1-3 January: 9am-5pm
The criteria for funded accommodation must be met in order to qualify. All of the details can be found on this form. Staff will need to complete the form with their budget approver/manager's approval and send to: email@example.com. Emails will be monitored and responded to during the above times.COVID-19 vaccineCOVID-19 vaccination for staff The latest information for staff is at the top of this briefing. Please continue to checkFreenet regularly for further updates. Relocation of the RFH vaccination centre Vaccination at the Royal Free Hospital has now relocated to the atrium on the ground floor. The atrium has been assessed by our infection control team and meets all of the necessary IPC requirements to make it safe for vaccination. COVID-19 testing Asymptomatic testing Thank you to all staff who have collected their home test kit. These kits allow asymptomatic staff to carry out twice-weekly lateral flow tests, a type of COVID-19 test. By collecting a home test kit you are agreeing to report your results twice weekly. The tests are for your use only – they cannot be used for anyone else. Click here for full details. Staff COVID-19 swabbing over the new year period Please note the changes to the staff swabbing services over the new year holiday period. You can find the revised timetable with details of swabbing at each site, and the options available out of hours, on Freenet here. Infection prevention and controlScrubs reminder Please remember that scrubs should not be worn outside the hospital. The uniform policy can be found here. At the end of a shift, staff members should change into their own clothes. Used scrubs must be returned in dirty laundry bags and should not be taken home. Staff are asked to return any scrubs they have in lockers, or may have taken home, as usage has increased significantly. PPE guidance Guidance, which covers when PPE is required and the appropriate level of PPE to wear in different situations, remains unchanged. The guidance can be found on Freenet.Stay safe in our hospitals Social distancing is an important way for us all to help slow the spread of COVID-19. It is important that social distancing is maintained in shared spaces such as break rooms. By observing these measures we help protect ourselves, our colleagues, patients and those we live with. We have seen an increase in the number of staff testing COVID positive. It is more important than ever that staff wear masks and keep their distance while working on site.Clinical guidance Clinical guidelines on Freenet Clinical guidelines for our response to COVID-19 continue to be updated and reviewed on a regular basis. You can find these in the clinical guidance section of the Freenet COVID-19 hub.Support availableGuidance for clinically extremely vulnerable staff Updated guidance has been issued for those who have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable. The guidance offers additional advice to those who are clinically extremely vulnerable over and above the rules for the tiers, which apply to everyone. Clinically extremely vulnerable staff are strongly advised to work from home because the risk of exposure to the virus may be significantly higher. If you cannot work from home in your substantive role, please speak with your manager as you should not physically attend work. For further information please see Freenet. Take care of your wellbeing The resilience and emotional support team (REST) is there to help staff during COVID–19. You can visit the hub on Freenet for a range of resources, including information about where to go for additional support and wellbeing tips. For wellbeing and mental health support you can:
Contact the REST helpline on extension 31276, Monday-Sunday, 8am-10pm. From 8am-6pm the helpline is staffed by mental health professionals. From 6pm-10pm it is staffed by the chaplaincy service.
Out of hours, contact Care First on 0800 174319 (24/7 service) for emotional and psychological support or access online via www.carefirst-lifestyle.co.uk; username: Royalfree, password: hospital 12
Contact the Samaritans (on 116 123), NHS Helpline (111) or your GP
Contact the COVID-19 advice line, which provides advice on topics such as self–isolation, health and wellbeing, training and flexible working. Call 020 3966 6625 (ext 31275) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Festive opening hours over Christmas and New Year can be found here. Any other businessTrust media policy – reminder to all staff All staff must ensure that they adhere to the trust’s media policy. There has been no time when this is more important than it is now. If you are approached by the media for any interviews or information whatsoever, you must contact the communications team immediately. If you have any concerns or are interested in talking or sharing information with the media please contact the communications team whose area of expertise this is. The team is staffed by a number of former trained and experienced journalists who are best placed to support you. Please email the communications team at email@example.com or call extensions 32293 or 31397. The communications team provides a 24/7 on call service for the media and staff who are approached by the media. For out of hours enquiries call 07919 013410.