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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Thank You - Occupational Health Team

27/08/2020

We'd like to take a moment to tell you about the work of our Occupational Health and Wellbeing Team.

This team deals with workplace health concerns for Trust staff, which range from advice on supporting staff with health issues, sickness absence, physiotherapy, health surveillance and assessing fitness for work, to wellbeing training and immunisations.

Earlier this year, the team's workload suddenly included the symptomatic staff COVID testing service, contact tracing for positive staff, and supporting the health of our workforce dealing with a global pandemic, as COVID-19 hit the UK.

Working closely with Infection Prevention and Control and Microbiology, they were joined by the Hepatitis C Community Team, retired and returning members of staff, research staff and medical students, all of whom kindly offered their help as demand peaked.

Together, they joined forces not only to carry out the huge task of rapidly testing our staff, and their household members, but also to provide work-specific advice to thousands of staff with concerns regarding their COVID vulnerability.

As well as supporting Oxford University Hospitals' staff, the team also cares for our PFI staff, agency staff, members of the medical school and healthcare students.

Fiona Warren, OUH Occupational Health Manager, says:

"I am so proud of the team for all they've done during COVID-19. This whole process has all been about adapting to what's around you, and they've taken everything that's been thrown at them amazingly to provide much needed support to staff during a very difficult time.

"There have been challenges - not least the increase in demand, but also these continually evolving new work streams and the logistics around people working remotely or in different locations. Many of our team had to go from doing face to face consultations to carrying them out virtually or by telephone, but they've adapted to this whole new model of work brilliantly.

"We've been incredibly grateful to those who have stepped in to help us, too - whether it be retired midwives, returning staff members or our consultant dermatologist who has been helping with all of the workplace skin issues related to working during the pandemic.

"Many Trust consultants have kindly advised in complex staff health matters and our Psychological Medicine colleagues have been fantastic, providing OUH staff with compassionate and helpful support in what have been the most challenging of times.

"Last but not least, I really wanted to extend our thanks to Oxford Hospitals Charity - they did an amazing job of looking after us, which in turn helps us to look after others."

Terry Roberts, OUH Chief People Officer, says:

"Our Occupational Health Team has made us all incredibly proud. The health and wellbeing of our staff is paramount at all times, but never more than when we are faced with the huge challenge of COVID-19.

"They have risen to the immense challenge of the pandemic over and above the resources available to them, and have done everything they can to keep our workforce safe and well - which means that they, in turn, can continue to provide excellent compassionate care for our patients."