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Supporting staff mental health and wellbeing is seen as key to ensuring NHS staff capacity is sustained; essential to surgeons, doctors and nurses – this is also relevant to clinical support services and porters too. Rates of sickness for NHS workers in England for the month of April 2020 were the highest they had been in a decade! The most common problem? Stress, anxiety, depression or ‘other’ psychiatric illness.[1] The cause for this can be attributed to the pressures of dealing with Covid-19. Studies show that NHS staff have been affected mentally in many differing ways throughout the pandemic – be it through anxiety, PTSD or burnout. A lack of attainable PPE (personal protective equipment) [2] can contribute to fears of feeling vulnerable to catching the virus, leading on to feelings of anxiety – and with great reason too, with over 600 NHS health and social care workers having died from the virus [3]. Also witnessing a greater number of deaths due to Coronavirus; seeing sights which cause the same trauma as seen in veterans returning from a battlefield of war [4]. Overall, the increased workload in an already exceptionally stressful environment can lead to exhaustion, and finally, burnout [5].

Most research documents on mental health and wellbeing within NHS staff tend to be focussed on that of the clinical side, but we know these pressures are there just as much for non-clinical staff such as porters. Porters can affect every corner of every hospital, keeping it ticking through movement of equipment and patients, ensuring they are where they need to be at the correct time, allowing operations and appointments to remain on schedule – porter efficiency and patient flow go hand in hand, but add mental health or wellbeing issues into the mix and it’s easy to see how that could be affected. Working closely with many portering teams across the country, the team here at MyPorter have heard how difficult work has been for porters during the pandemic. Porters are responsible for transporting Covid patients, often in small, confined spaces such as lifts, whilst having to deal with a potential lack of available PPE. They have the task of moving the deceased to the morgue – of which there are much higher numbers since the beginning of the pandemic [6] – with greater numbers comes with it the higher chances of having to deal with something closer to the person. All this, alongside the increased workload, also means that porters are seeing increases in exhaustion and burnout too [5]. Add all these various possibilities together and it gives us great concern for porters’ wellbeing and psychological state. This poses the question – what is the best route for maintaining good porter mental health and wellbeing, not just for the remainder of the Covid-19 pandemic but into the future and beyond? A S. Brown and K. Klassen report [6] highlights a previous study using porter utilisation analysis and showed that utilisation over 70% is so physically demanding that staff can experience increased stress, illness and injury. Based on research to determine mental health risks during pandemics Steve Kisely – professor of Psychiatry & Epidemiology suggests taking the route of PFA (Psychiatric First Aid) as opposed to debriefings [7]. The difference between PFA and debriefings is that PFA isn’t compulsory and focusses more on safety, comfort & connection, whereas sometimes debriefings can be known to heighten stress, anxiety or PTSD. The study also suggests considering personal and economic situations, such as: the stresses of having children at home, ill family members and those with a lower-household income as these are a few factors associated with adverse mental health outcomes. Although the organisation isn’t responsible for these things, by helping the individuals who are struggling with them it can improve their mental wellbeing despite not being directly considered mental health support services. Solutions such as easing of childcare or care-giver burdens and hazard pay for those paid hourly who cannot afford to be off work sick are some of the suggestions worth consideration.

Flexible working when possible, as well as encouraging staff to take care of their own wellbeing with regards to sleeping, eating well and exercising are also recommended; all enhancing their ability to care for others. [8] The use of Schwartz Rounds as an alternative to PFA, which allows groups to discuss difficult experiences with colleagues and helps with psychological support, also acts as an effective space for reflection. Other support suggestions include free staff parking and better working conditions. Extra funding has been made available by the Government to help with such things [9] Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Trust committing to a 3-year programme of benefits for staff such as free staff parking, free tea and coffee in all staff rooms, enhanced bereavement and special leave, flexible working and childcare provision. Dr. Richard Jackson at the University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health states: “We now know that developers and architects can be more effective in achieving public health goals than doctors in white coats.” According to the Forbes article [9] about workplace design, a nice and well-designed working environment is good for mental health and staff retention. We spend a large proportion of our lives at work, so a pleasant working environment, especially in spaces within healthcare such as staff rooms where people spend their downtime to relax and take a break from the stresses of the day – is it worth taking a look at your porter lodge, are their some quick fixes that would improve this environment for your staff? Figures show that 300,000 healthcare workers are at breaking point, while two million days off due to mental ill health were recorded between March and June 2020 at an estimated cost to the NHS of £160 million [4] as well as it being important from a duty of care perspective, it is also a costly one when not dealt with. If you work in healthcare and are suffering from poor mental health, or if you know of any colleagues who are, we urge you to access the NHS Support Now services at: as well as trying some of the suggestions or suggested apps such as Headspace (downloaded by over 90,000 healthcare workers) and Calm (which can sometimes be helpful when struggling to get a good nights sleep). Sources: [1]NHS Digital records

Winner must work within a portering team within the NHS. Winner must be currently employed by the NHS. Winner may have worked within a portering team within the NHS over the past year, and still be employed within the NHS within a different role or department. Winner may be part of current portering bank staff. Winner must be a UK resident. Winner must be over 18 years of age. Winner will be chosen in-house by judges at Global View/GV Healthcare/MyPorter. Competition entry is allowed and open between November 22nd 2021 and January 16th 2022. Shortlist for each award will be announced on January 19th 2022. Winners will be announced at a live ceremony in February.

Winner will receive a physical award/trophy. Winner will receive the ability to pick a charity of their choice to award them with a cash donation (amount TBC). The Trust the winner is employed by will receive a cash donation to their chosen charity partner (amount TBC). Covid-19 pending, the MyPorter Awards 2021 may come in either digital or physical form, the aim is to host an award ceremony in February. If you are shortlisted for an award, you will be gifted a ticket to attend the MyPorter Awards 2021 ceremony, subject to availability. The winner's chosen charity must be a legitimate registered charity within the UK. Should Globalview Systems/MyPorter deem the winner's charity choice unacceptable (i.e. racist, homophobic, sexist or any other derogatory terms) or fraudulent, Globalview Systems/MyPorter holds the right to refrain from gifting the donation. The winner will be given the option to choose a more suitable charity. Should the NHS Trust the winner is employed by not have a chosen charity partner, the winner's Trust/management will have the choice of where the charity donation goes (donation to the Trust itself is acceptable if deemed acceptable by the Trust themselves). The winner will be asked to partake in a small-scale photo opportunity and may be asked to contribute and/or take part in other media activities and coverage of the awards. The details of the entry (including name and email address of nominee and nominator) may be shared internally within Globalview Systems/MyPorter for purposes relating to the competition - e.g. judging of competition, contact regarding submission, etc. One nominee per entry only, unless qualifying reasoning for multiples e.g. two people did the thing which you wish to nominate for or you are nominating a team for the team award. One entry per nominee is sufficient - multiple submissions for the same nominee aren't necessary. All additional nominations will be disallowed. Globalview Systems/MyPorter are not liable for unclaimed prizes - prize winner has 3 months from close date of awards to claim their prize. In the event of any dispute concerning the correctness or acceptability of any award, the decision of Globalview Systems/MyPorter shall be final. If attending a live MyPorter Awards event, all images and videos from the event are the property of Globalview Systems/GV Healthcare and may be used in the public domain in places such as (but not limited to) publications, digital publications, websites, social media & other forms of media - if you wish for your image not to be used, you must inform the company of this. There is no cost to enter the MyPorter Awards. No persons directly related to a Globalview Systems/MyPorter employee may win the award or enter the awards. The reason for the nomination, including name of person nominating and nominee may be used in the public domain in places such as (but not limited to) publications, digital publications, websites, social media & other forms of media.

Following the Government’s acknowledgment of the need to invest in Emergency Departments and improved patient flow during annual winter pressures coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, a £300m capital fund has been introduced, which will be shared amongst 117 Trusts and must be utilised by the end of the year. In light of this, GlobalView Systems has introduced a new ED functionality bespoke to its rapid and reactive nature within its innovative MyPorter porter task management system, specifically designed to help Trusts increase the efficiency of their ED portering during the winter months and beyond.

MyPorter was developed following extensive consultation with portering teams in over 100 NHS Trusts, and has been designed to meet the particular needs of the porters and managers. The specialist software uses data insight and effective reporting to clearly identify and predict peaks in demand, and enable resource to be planned accordingly. Its latest enhancement has been specifically developed in recognition of the challenges faced by EDs to deliver rapid responses.

The fast-paced nature of EDs often means that action is prioritised over recording information. Portering tasks can be managed using radio, phone or whiteboards rather than software to save valuable time. However, the resulting inability to track, review and analyse activity makes it difficult to assess patterns in demand, and where and when resources can be best deployed. The MyPorter ED Tool provides a fast track dashboard to enable portering requests to be created within seconds, linking to the MyPorter software to allow for management reporting and trend analysis.

Tasks are distributed via text message to radio handsets or android devices, which means no patient information can be overheard, enhancing patient dignity and reducing noise in the hospital environment. The system also records paused events, the reason, their duration and location, making it easy to identify and address delays and pinch points. A full audit trail can be accessed if needed, and any service queries easily resolved. MyPorter also features the KPI Settings Report Tool which enables specific Key Performance Indicators to be interrogated and bespoke reports to be produced.

Matt Wright, CEO at GlobalView Systems said: “Portering is an essential function within hospitals, with many other departments and services reliant on its effective operation. With Emergency Departments under immense pressure to deliver time critical treatments, the efficient movement of patients and equipment is crucial. We developed the ED tool to support Trusts in planning to ensure the right levels of resource are in the right place at the right time. This new feature will be available as a free upgrade to all existing MyPorter users, and included for any new customers. The Government funding requires projects to be operational by 2021, so GlobalView is here to work in partnership with Trusts to secure funds before they are no longer available. Our team can be contacted for advice on how they can maximise this urgent opportunity to increase capacity in Emergency Departments as they face one of the toughest winters known to the NHS.”

For more information, contact

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