We are five weeks in and we are starting to see the emergence of a new normal.

In the past month, our joint priorities have been:

  • Supporting the delivery of PPE to frontline workers in general practice.
  • Maintaining high quality clinical services both by telephone and face to face.
  • Preparing for Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday working (anecdotal feedback suggested that it wasn’t as busy as anticipated, but it was worth being open for those who needed us).
  • Proactively contacting patients to connect with them, point them to online resources for self-care, and provide reassuarance that someone cares. The feedback has been very positive and these experiences are being shared within PICS as examples of best practice.

Where opportunity has allowed, we have are endeavouring to capture the impact of the virus and changes to the ways we are working. Much of this is about the challenges and benefits of video, phone and online support mechanisms. We are starting to think about what we could keep, where appropriate, and where evidence supports it’s use.

The current assessment is that PICS is not at full capacity across the company. As well as thinking about how to prepare for restarting of services, staff have started to work on non-coronavirus related work, pushing forward with projects, initiatives and tasks that have been on hold for the past month or so.

Management is concerned about the efforts and contributions of all staff being hidden or unnoticed as most appreciation of NHS staff is directly towards hospital medics. Written, spoken and cascaded messages from leadership are being used to provide more recognition and appreciation.

For staff, there is a steady sense of anxiety over the risk of being exposed to the virus, the pressure of responding to so much change, and the preveliance of coronavirus-related news in all the media and everyday lives and communications. It’s there for some staff who are also working in isolation or in ways they are unfamiliar with, and for staff who are not working as they usually do and feel disconnected from the efforts required to combat the disease. In response, two qualified members of the Pain team have run a pilot ‘carespace’, offering time for staff to spend time on self reflection. As a team, following an established team meeting, those who chose to, stay on the video call and are guided through a gentle and supportive process. Take up has been very high and the Wellbeing Group are looking at how this can be scaled up and are applying lessons learned through those interactions to the development of a PICS Wellbeing Strategy and the communications approach.

This month we were pleased to congratulate the team in Meden Medical Services who achieved a GOOD rating in all areas from Care Quality Commission (CQC), following a full inspection.