Strengthening bonds with Imperial College NHS Trust during COVID-19

Reed Talent Solutions has supplied thousands of professionals for Imperial College NHS Trust over the past 11 years. With the COVID-19 outbreak, this relationship became even stronger, as we stepped up to help with the significant increase in demand for NHS workers.

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Reed Talent Solutions has successfully supplied thousands of professionals for Imperial College NHS Trust over the past 11 years. With the COVID-19 outbreak, this relationship became even stronger, as RTS stepped up to help with the significant increase in demand for NHS workers.

On average Reed Talent Solutions supplies 40,000 staff hours a week to Imperial College NHS Trust hospitals, with this figure excluding two new roles created to help combat the virus.

A decade long partnership

RTS has been providing a staff bank across the Trust’s three main hospital sites; Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, and St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.

The relationship began 11 years ago when RTS was successfully awarded the staff bank contract at Imperial to provide bank nursing shifts.

Over the last three years, the bank has expanded to include admin and clerical staff, allied health professionals and doctors. The provision of ancillary staff including cleaners and porters was implemented amid the breakout of the crisis.

The impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 increased the demand placed upon the staff bank in two ways.

Firstly, the Trust needed to have the capacity to call upon a number of workers to handle the likely influx of patients arriving at its three main sites.

Secondly, workers themselves were becoming infected with the virus, meaning that each hospital required staff to help cover those diagnosed with COVID-19 and others who were self-isolating.

New roles required

As well as covering existing roles, the Trust required RTS to recruit for two new coronavirus-related roles:

• Ward helpers: non-medical staff who help alleviate some of the pressure on medical staff, ensuring nurses can focus on patient care. Responsible for tasks like assisting visitors with social distancing guidelines, making tea and coffee for patients and visitors and setting up skype calls for patients.

• Bed buddies: require healthcare experience, and ideally will have a healthcare assistant background. They work on ICU wards with COVID-19 patients and help support ICU nurses. They are assigned to COVID patients and tasked with monitoring ops and patient wellbeing.

A fantastic response

The team at RTS and Imperial has been bowled over by the response to these roles, and peoples’ desire to help the NHS.

This process has ensured that the Trust has a group of trained staff ready to respond at the drop of a hat. This allows it to be prepared for possible second and even third COVID-19 waves hitting its hospitals.

Julie Hinchcliffe, RTS Talent Acquisition Director, said: “I have been overwhelmed by the number of applications we have had for bed buddies and ward helpers. Thousands of candidates from all sorts of backgrounds applied to support the NHS, demonstrating our collective spirit to help others during this pandemic.

“We have been able to fill the roles and recruits have all received on-site training, and have been fast-track screened by Reed Screening.”

Dawn Sullivan, Deputy Director P&OD - HR Operations & Resourcing, at St Mary’s Hospital added:

“Reed Talent Solutions has provided a responsive recruitment service to us to secure lines of work to support COVID-19. RTS has worked at pace and delivered some excellent candidates. In addition, over the last six months, RTS has helped us set up two new banks for doctors and ancillary, both of which were delivered at pace”.

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