NHS Charities Together donation helps support GOSH staff disproportionately affected by COVID-19

GOSH hospital entrance
NHS Charities Together, the umbrella organisation for NHS Charities, has donated a further £50,000 to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) to help support GOSH staff who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Staff health and wellbeing 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) staff have gone above and beyond to ensure all the seriously ill children who are treated at the hospital receive the care they need.

In recognition of the stress and anxiety placed on staff as a result of the pandemic, both the hospital and the charity have set up a number of wellbeing and support initiatives. 

As part of this, the hospital established a trust-wide wellbeing service in March.

GOSH is already home to various forums to ensure that every staff member feels seen, heard, valued and included – for example the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Forum, which was introduced in 2018 to support the best interests of BAME staff across the Trust.

More support for those disproportionately affected by COVID-19

In addition to the wellbeing services and initiatives already in place, staff surveys and regular pulse checks have shown that more support is needed across staff groups who have been, and continue to be, disproportionately affected by COVID-19. These groups include: 

  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. 
  • Staff groups in the NHS who are often behind the scenes (“hidden groups”). For example those in support services, such as cleaning, catering or mortuary staff. 
  • Any members of staff with a potential vulnerability. 

The hospital has relied on the support of the charity more than ever during the pandemic, to ensure it can continue to deliver its life-saving care to the children who need it most. 

Once the hospital identified the need to provide further wellbeing support to certain staff groups particularly affected by COVID-19, the charity worked with NHS Charities Together. 

How the hospital will use the donation 

This latest grant from NHS Charities Together will be used to fund an innovative new programme to support staff groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. It will help with the prevention, detection and management of the emotional trauma and stress caused by the pandemic. 

The programme will consist of: 

  • Cultural intelligence leadership: A training programme to support senior staff to understand the needs of the workforce and model positive behaviour. 
  • Development of the Wellbeing Practitioners Network:
    The establishment of a network of Peer Support Workers (PSWs) from within different communities across the organisation, paying particular attention to BAME and hidden communities. PSWs will be trained to reach out to support their peers when they are feeling vulnerable, stressed or anxious, and signpost them to help. The network also includes: 

    • Wellbeing Coaches who will offer staff members coaching sessions to help identify and reinforce strategies that will help them deal with sources of stress at home and work and build mental strength.
    • Trauma and Risk Management (TRiM) Practitioners who will reach out to individuals and teams following traumatic events and assess the impact on their sense of wellness and their ability to effectively function at work. ​

​​The wellbeing service is supported at all levels by GOSH’s expert team of psychologists. 

  • A Mentoring Programme across the North Central London region to allow BAME staff from across the trust to access mentoring both internally and beyond the organisation. 

GOSH staff response 

GOSH staff members Marie and Renee

We spoke with members of GOSH staff involved with the programme, to hear their thoughts. 

“We are delighted that the NHS Charities Together donation has helped us to progress our ambition to establish a mentorship network for our BAME staff,” said Marie Boxall (pictured above, on the left), Head of Nursing at GOSH and a member of the GOSH BAME Forum. 

“This will enable those who wish to develop their leadership skills, in addition to providing a supportive network with other BAME healthcare leaders in the North Central London Partnership. 

“The pandemic has brought inequalities to the forefront and this is one of many ways we can help to start to address the imbalance. We are very grateful for the support from NHS Charities Together.” she added. 

Renee Barrett (pictured above, on the right), Senior Staff Nurse at GOSH and co-chair of the GOSH BAME Forum, is also optimistic. 

“I think building a large network of BAME leaders across the North and Central London hospital area will be a fantastic thing,” she said. 

“Junior nurses and nurses wishing to progress need that larger pool of more senior people to help build their network.” 

She went on to describe the cultural intelligence training programme as “really important” and “a good step in the right direction”. 

Daljit Hothi, Associate Medical Director for Wellbeing, Leadership and Improvement, has been a key part of the development of the Wellbeing Network. 

For her, identifying and training a network of Peer Support Workers at GOSH will benefit the organisation in many ways. 

“They will become key enablers of staff wellbeing throughout the organisation; promoting and raising the priority we place on wellness; signposting colleagues to the growing list of opportunities and resources within the trust; and most importantly role modelling kindness and compassion through a simple conversation that starts with: ‘Are you ok?’” 

GOSH Charity is thrilled to be a beneficiary of the NHS Charities Together fundraising activity. We want to see all NHS charities get the support they need through this difficult period.