At the beginning of August, I was able to meet with colleagues in Bath and Keynsham, where I got to see our services in action, as we slowly but steadily move into the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a long 18 months I was thrilled to be able to visit services face-to-face again. I learnt how colleagues were keen to take the positives from what had been a bad year: trying out new technology, working more closely with our partners than ever before and delivering services in new ways, and incorporate them into our post-pandemic world.
My day started at St Martin’s hospital in Bath, where Claire Bullard, our Lead Physiotherapist led a tour of our Audiology, Bladder and Bowel, and Reablement services. Reablement is a service offered to patients who have poor physical or mental health who may need to re-learn necessary skills for everyday life. (Photo – Vivienne left, Claire right).
It was fantastic to be able to get back out on site and hear directly from colleagues about how their services have adapted to meet the ever-changing needs of the people and communities we serve. Listening to what colleagues enjoy about the changes we’ve made, and ways they believe we can continue to improve was insightful. We are always looking to transform our services, creating positive experiences for our service users, so hearing the feedback from colleagues meant I was able to take on board a lot of new ideas.
I also learnt how colleagues and their teams are managing day-to-day now that we are returning to a sense of normality. The Audiology department explained how they had continued with their service throughout lockdown and how they started undertaking hearing aid repairs themselves, which was a great benefit to their patients. I learnt about the complexity of our Reablement service patients, the increase in their caseload, and the increase in patients requiring packages of care. What’s great is that we’ve been able to identify the benefits of how we worked during the pandemic, and lock them in so that were providing services more efficient than ever before.
All of my colleagues were very welcoming and I was grateful to have the opportunity to hear first-hand the contributions that some of our teams have made across BaNES, especially over this past challenging year.
I am immensely proud of all the hard work that our teams across all of our services have given and I recognise the commitment of everyone in the organisation to improve the health and wellbeing of our patients. Virgin Care have achieved a lot over the last 18 months, our work has allowed us to continue changing lives by transforming health and care.
Looking forward, I’m excited to watch us take on board the feedback across the services to implement organisation-wide flexible working, accommodating for not only our colleagues but our service users too. We’re creating an environment at Virgin Care where colleagues can bring their best selves to work, but one where our patients will continue to receive a heartfelt service. Watch this space!
Jacqui is at gateway point now and preparing for the End Point Assessment of her Level 3 Senior Healthcare Worker Apprenticeship. She said, “From the first day my whole team have been supportive and encouraging. They want me to be the best I can be”.
Kim is currently halfway through her second year of the Level 5 Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship. She said, “I would recommend this apprenticeship as a good opportunity to develop new skills and confidence.”
For this year’s National Apprenticeship week Sarah talks us through the challenges that learners have faced this year, and the benefits of apprenticeships for both the learners and their organisations.
Lead Nurse Amanda Pulford gives us an insight to what it’s like working in a prison.