Wessex Branch News

From Chris Lay

The Wessex Branch is working very differently, but instead of meeting less frequently (or not at all), we have found ourselves in more frequent ‘contact’ courtesy of Zoom.

Two ‘extra’ meetings were scheduled into members’ diaries, which allowed us to network and share ideas and best practice. Never has this been so important. We try to keep to a regular agenda but when minutes, membership, matters arising and finances are done, we discuss who is doing what to overcome ‘any other business’.

Over the last couple of meetings so many Coronavirus-related topics have been aired. Here’s a flavour.

  • How do we overcome the issues of wearing face masks in kitchens (especially) during hot weather?
  • It’s not always possible to get people working ‘back-to-back’ in our offices – what have others done?
  • Staff risk assessments have been conducted for everyone. With HR ‘filtering’ first and looking at factors such as age, gender and ethnicity, what do we do when people achieve a particular score and possibly have to be sent home?
  • How have people increased patient capacity at their sites?
  • How have you managed the kindness of local stores, charities and supermarkets with so much ‘unhealthy’ food being donated?
  • What is the new normal in terms of social distancing whilst working in kitchens – both large (acute) and small (community)?
  • What have you said in your questionnaires from suppliers who want information in order to send ‘freebies’ to Trusts?
  • Deliveries to smaller hospitals can sometimes be a logistical nightmare – how have you overcome such problems?
  • Have others introduced contactless payments? It seems to have worked well for us but what benefits (if any) have others found?
  • We’ve gone ‘staff only’ and ‘pre-ordered’ in our dining rooms? What has worked best for you?

Outside of Coronavirus, what else has been on the agenda?

  • Sadly, we had to postpone our Salon Culinaire until, hopefully, later in the year.
  • Equally sad, we had to postpone our Summer Social at Stella’s campsite and our popular meeting at St Ann’s (Poole), where we enjoy fish and chips at the hospital’s beach huts, is also in doubt.
  • Kevin Bailey from Poole General retired at the end of June. We wish him well for the future and hope he will avail himself of his Life Membership.

It has been great to ‘welcome’ National Officers Craig Smith and Janice Gillan at the last couple of meetings (can you spot them in the photos above?). Their input has been much appreciated and despite the difficulties we are all facing, Wessex would like to thank them for giving up their time to talk to us and listen to our concerns over the governance of the HCA. Wessex firmly believes the HCA should be owned by its members, with Council being the body empowered to make decisions.

Washable face masks by Stella Gardener

I have been making face masks for family, friends and the village where I live so if you would like to order any, please let me know. I am asking for a minimum donation of £2 per mask, which will be given to Dementia UK, this year’s HCA Forum charity, plus the £1 cost of postage.

When you order any, please let me know if they are for male or female and I will try and pick material that I think you would like. I have also made children’s masks for ages 2–5 and 6–10.

You can order the masks by emailing me (stella.gardener@southernhealth.nhs.uk). Please let me have the numbers required, whether they are male/female/child, plus your address to send them to. I will then let you know the bank payment details to send the money to.

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