Milton Keynes University Hospital is this week launching the #TeamMKUH Emergency Reserves to help bolster critical services in the event of a major incident or emergency.
The scheme will see staff who usually work behind the scenes select a role for redeployment to support patient care or critical core services like catering or cleaning if the hospital declares a major incident due to overwhelming numbers of patients needing care, or exceptionally high levels of staff sickness.
The #TeamMKUH Emergency Reserves scheme will see up to 400 people potentially able to be redeployed to support patient care and the delivery of critical services, using existing hospital staff.
All staff in roles that are traditionally behind the scenes will be asked to select a role to be redeployed into should the need arise. These roles include training to provide care and comfort to patients on wards; provide administrative support on wards; or work in an essential corporate service.
All redeployment comes with relevant training and support to enable staff to do their temporary emergency roles safely and competently. This is part of the hospital’s emergency preparedness as we prepare for a potentially significant wave of new Covid-19 infections with the Omicron variant.
The #TeamMKUH Emergency Reserves scheme goes hand-in-hand with the business continuity planning that all hospital departments undertake – establishing which tasks or services must continue to be provided and which can be temporarily paused without significant detriment to patient care and staff wellbeing.
MKUH Chief Executive, Professor Joe Harrison, explains the scheme: “As we face a further wave of Covid-19 with Omicron, we have to plan for every eventuality and that includes significantly higher rates of staff sickness or absence, and the potential for large numbers of patients needing hospital care.
“We continue to ask a great deal of our staff and are again asking them to step forward to support the hospital if we find ourselves in a major incident or emergency where we urgently need more staff to provide support in critical roles.
“This scheme doesn’t mean that those staff who will be redeployed don’t already do vital work or that their existing roles aren’t necessary – they are, and they are skilled and valued members of Team MKUH – what it does mean is that in extreme circumstances all of us need to be prepared to work to keep critical patient services running.
“Staff working in roles that are traditionally behind the scenes, like finance, HR, and wider corporate and administrative services, are being asked to select one of a number of roles to be redeployed into should the need arise. All these roles come with training to ensure staff being redeployed are able to work safely and competently. Not all these roles are providing support on wards – it is also vital we keep critical support services running for patients and staff.
“We have already seen very many of our support staff volunteer to help wards and core services in previous waves of Covid-19, and to staff vaccination centres both at the hospital and in the community. I am incredibly proud and continually humbled by the contribution of staff across the hospital. We may never reach a point of needing to redeploy our #TeamMKUH Emergency Reserves, but planning for every eventuality is the right thing to do, and I am tremendously grateful to every member of staff involved in the scheme.”