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Staff Newsletter 22 May 2020

Dear Colleague

We continue to be very grateful for all your hard work in healthcare and your loyalty to us at 18 Week Support.  

This is our eighth weekly newsletter to inform you of our activity providing clinical support to the NHS in these difficult times and to offer support to you.    


We are becoming increasingly busy with new sites coming on board and discussions with many NHS Trusts about other forthcoming contracts. The Clinical Coordination team will be emailing you regarding your availability for weekdays and weekends in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please use the links below to provide your availability. 

Hotel and Travel

The majority of UK hotels closed at the end of March but a few have remained open to support key workers.  However, a number of restrictions apply and 18 WS staff must comply with these restrictions as follows:

  • Most available hotels will not provide breakfast, and all bars and restaurants within hotels are closed. Some can provide access to a fridge and microwave. 18 WS offers a breakfast allowance of £6.00 per day for ‘Non-Consultant Grade‘ staff which can be claimed as expenses.     
  • Accommodation is for single occupancy only. Partners, family, or friends are not permitted to stay with you. The hotel will cancel your room if you arrive with additional guests. 
  • All hotels will request NHS photo ID on check-in as proof that you are a key worker.  

In terms of travel, all rail companies are advising that you look for an alternative means of transport. Where possible, please drive. If a train journey is your only option, the travel team will contact you to discuss times and making a seat reservation for a specific train. 

Please contact the travel team on 01543 756688 if you wish to discuss any of the above, or need further information.     

Headquarter Staff

Our headquarter staff continue to work with us, but with reduced working hours:
9 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m. Monday to Friday

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

All those who met the eligibility for the furlough scheme have now been paid. Only those people in receipt of a personalised email were eligible and no further claims can be made for April 2020.

No decision has been made yet to extend the furlough scheme to include May 2020. As before, please send your availability via the links above for the next few months to the Clinical Coordination Team to ensure that we are ready to resume clinics as activity increases.


We held a zoom meeting for all endoscopy NICs this week to disseminate the patient pathway under COVID 19 from the patient waiting list to post-procedure 14-day telephone call. We also discussed PPE and wearing enhanced or level 2 PPE in endoscopy procedure rooms.

We recently sent out a survey to determine PPE training and which FFP3 mask staff have been FIT tested for. You must complete this survey so that you can be booked for upcoming shifts. Please also provide your availability as we have weekday and weekend work starting from this weekend.

JAG has released new guidance to assist endoscopy services in adapting the clinical environment following the COVID-19 pandemic. Restoration of services will vary significantly and so this guidance provides practical points for consideration locally. Please find the link HERE

What's new

Shift Allocation: New UTRAC Telephone App 

We continue to develop a phone app that will allow you to self-allocate available shifts by date and location. Tom Barrett, 18WS Senior Business Analyst, presented and demonstrated the app to Surgical NICs this week and it was received very well. We will update you when we have a formal launch date.

New Nurse in Charge Report 

We also continue to develop a new Nurse in Charge report. This combines the previous report with the Patients of Concern report so going forwards there will be only one report to complete. We have now set training dates for all NICs on the new report for the first week of June. Invitations to join by zoom will be sent out shortly.


A free virtual conference entitled ‘Lessons from COVID 19’ for frontline clinical professionals will be held on the 2nd of June. The conference is supported by the BMA, Medical Practitioners Society, and Great Ormond Street Hospital and will give succinct updates on COVID 19 science, medicine, and technology. Please find details HERE

Staying in Touch

We love our 18WS family and we want to stay in touch with you and get your news and feedback on how you are and what more we can do to support. Please send any comments or suggestions about this newsletter to Niara at nblommestein@18weeksupport.com.  

With our very best wishes 

Jane Naish
Director of Nursing 

Niara Blommestein
Service Operations Manager 


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