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Preparing for winter and the Omicron variant

Our health, social-care and emergency services are preparing for a challenging winter. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant across the UK has raised real concerns and public health officials are warning of 1 million infections by the end of December 2021. The media are referring to a ‘tsunami’ of infections and asking ‘what will happen to the NHS?’

The number of hospitalisations will depend on the success of the Government’s booster rollout programme but we can assume that Covid admissions combined with staff contracting the virus will have an impact. Our staff will be stretched and their resilience is crucial but the NHS is taking action to prepare for the Omicron variant. Keeping our staff well emotionally is just as important as the services we provide.

We are putting in measures to ensure that our workforce gets as much support as possible.

What are we doing?

We have several counsellors and therapists who can be available to work at short notice should demand increase. And our current wait time is as little as 5 days, so there is still capacity in the current workforce provision. 

We are also about to recruit two assistant psychologists and a clinical psychologist. These will be in post by late January. Current call handlers will feel reassured that additional support is on the way.

We know that so much of the real day to day support comes from peer support so we are raising the visibility of our Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) with the distribution of 500 more MHFA badges. This will be really helpful to support new staff and those working in vaccination centres who may not be familiar with their colleagues.

In addition the new Peer Support Network headed up by the Hub Clinical lead; psychologist Laura Ambrose, means those peer supporting colleagues also have a place to take their concerns and worries. 

New branding and website

We are working with our newly appointed digital partner Diva Creative to update this website and brand identity. The new site will deliver more functionality and we expect to have an initial version of the site live as early as possible in the new year.

How can you help?

The more people are aware of this website the more we can help them and improve our services. You can support the hub by sharing our content and promoting our services. We have a range of posters which you can share within your teams and workspaces.

Health and wellbeing posters (compressed file, 3MB)

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