The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

The Covid-19: Are You OK? Pledge

13 July 2021

AreYouOK logo RGB reverse on WEB tealLeeds Teaching Hospitals supports the principles of the Nursing Times Covid-19: Are You OK? campaign.

This means we recognise the often-distressing nature of caring for patients with Covid-19, particularly when patients numbers are high and resources are stretched. We also recognise the potential negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of nurses and other staff of working through the coronavirus pandemic, and are committed to providing support to those who are affected. We also recognise that the effects of this work may be delayed and/or enduring and will ensure support remains available after the crisis has passed.

In supporting the campaign we pledge to:

  • Provide easily accessible formal mental health and wellbeing support to staff for as long as it is needed;
  • Foster a culture of mutual support, in which staff are alert to the possibility that colleagues may be experiencing problems as a result of their work during the pandemic, and ready to offer informal support such as listening and signposting to internal or external sources of formal support;
  • Ensure that staff who are experiencing problems know that they will receive a positive, supportive response if they disclose problems, and understand that being asked ‘Are you OK?’ is a gesture of support and care, not an accusation of weakness.

We have already taken steps to protect staff mental health and wellbeing including:

  • Care First Employee Assistance Programme - Care first are a leading provider of professional counseling, information and advice offering support for issues arising from home or work.  They offer 24/7 support and provide weekly care first webinars, and a wealth of resources and tools for staff to utilise.
  • Florence Nightingale Foundation Frontline Leadership Support Sessions (60 places commissioned) Nightingale Frontline: Leadership Support Service – Florence Nightingale Foundation (florence-nightingale-foundation.org.uk)
  • Mental Health First Aiders - To help our staff support each other we are rolling out Mental Health First Aid training, with the target of training over 1,000 members of staff over the next 18 months.  Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course, designed to teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis.  Our ambition is to have at least one Mental Health First Aider in every team in the Trust who will provide immediate peer to peer support and signpost to the appropriate place for intervention, when it is needed. 
  • LTHT was awarded funding from NHS England/Improvement to support the training needs and health and well-being of registered health care professionals working in critical care areas during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Virtual Schwartz rounds - Schwartz Rounds are open to all staff and are an opportunity to share what it feels like to work in our hospitals. They are designed for colleagues to support each other in providing compassionate care. The first 15-20 minutes is led by panel of staff, exploring a common theme in their work.  The following 35- 40 minutes is for discussion, guided by a facilitator, exploring issues raised by the story/themes.
  • Dedicated Health and Wellbeing support network webpage for staff with links to a range of resources and support.
  • Monthly Staff Health and wellbeing bulletins - shared through a network of Health and wellbeing champions.
  • Excellence in practice programme - The Leeds Excellence in Practice Programme launched in February 2020, over 440 staff have joined the programme so far. The programme supports, values, empowers and celebrates our registered practitioners whilst also ensuring they have the skills and competencies required to provide the highest standards of care.
  • Connecting Leaders in Care - is a virtual  session which provides an opportunity to connect, engage and communicate with Clinical Leaders across Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals every month.  There is a regular focus on development and health and wellbeing.  The most recent session included a resilience coach who led a session on ‘Restoring you in challenging times with a purpose’.

Staff are the heart of our organisation; you have ensured the NHS was not overwhelmed in the initial peak – often at great personal cost, and continue to provide excellent and compassionate care to patients and their families. It is our responsibility to care for you, and to ensure that you are more than OK.

Lisa Grant, Chief Nurse at LTHT, said: "Again I would like to take the opportunity that the Nursing Times Covid-19: Are you OK? campaign brings to thank all our teams here at Leeds Teaching Hospitals for their hard work, dedication and unwavering efforts during the pandemic. Please look after yourselves and reach out for any support you may need at any time."