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Staff Newsletter 29 April 2020

Dear Colleague,

We continue to be very grateful for all your hard work in health care and your loyalty to us at 18 Week Support. On Tuesday 28th April 2020 we held a minute’s silence across all HQ teams in recognition of and respect for the many healthcare workers who have sadly lost their lives to COVID 19.

This is our fifth weekly newsletter to inform you of what we are doing to provide clinical support to the NHS in these difficult times and offer support to you.

We have had a very busy week at 18WS so we have lots to share with you.

18WS Activity 

We have now established a safe pathway for staff and patients and two week wait endoscopy patients and run lists every weekday in South England. These are undertaken at a non-acute hospital site. A second NHS Trust is now joining our pathway and we will be running weekend lists at the same site from this weekend.

In addition, we will begin running neurology clinics, both face- to- face and virtually, in the West Midlands very shortly.

Many NHS Trusts are now looking at their recovery plans for their waiting lists and it is expected that NHS England will shortly announce a national recovery plan for urgent patients on waiting lists for treatment. This is evidenced by the immense interest we had from NHS senior managers in a joint webinar we held with our partner, The Source Group, last Friday. Over 140 NHS Trusts attended, and we provided presentations on the endoscopy pathway mentioned above, and the principles and practicalities of running virtual clinics, from triaging patient waiting lists through to video consultations and diagnostics. We can send you the slides of these presentations if you wish. Please contact Niara at her email address set out at the bottom of the newsletter.

So, in summary, we expect to become extremely busy very shortly!


Furloughing Clinical Staff

Now that the Government has released details of the grant repayment, 18 Week Support is in a position to furlough its clinical workers.


  • You must have been on the 18 Week Support payroll by 19th March 2020. This means that you must have been on the payment run on 13th March 2020 as HMRC will only support those employees who have had a payment notified to them on or before 19 March 2020
  • You are a regular worker for 18 Week Support and have worked in the last 3 months
  • Unfortunately, this means you are excluded under this scheme if your first payroll was the April payroll payment made on 15th April
  • You must not have worked for 18 Week Support during April 2020
  • People working through their limited company on a self-employment basis are noteligible for this government support
  • But everyone on our payroll, will be supported if they are eligible
  • If you are eligible, then you will receive an email/letter to explain that 18 Week Support has decided to furlough you
  • You are still able to undertake work for other employers while furloughed by 18 Week Support

How much will you be paid?

  • The amount payable under the Government Scheme is 80% of your average monthly pay based on the last 12 months (or since your start date if you started during the last 12 months) or 80% of your April 2019 pay – whichever is higher capped to a maximum monthly amount of £2,500
  • 18 Week Support is unable to top up your salary to 100%
  • Example:
    Total earned over the last 12 months is £15,000. Average monthly pay is £1,250. 80% of this is £1,000. This would be the basic pay for April and income tax and national insurance would be deducted from this as normal.
  • 18 Week Support will make pension contributions as usual on the £1,000 basic pay

When will you be paid?

  • When we receive the grant from HMRC.
  • We hope this will mean that you can still be paid on the normal payment date of 15th May
  • However, if the grant is delayed, the payment date will also be delayed
  • We will keep you informed via this newsletter if payment will be after 15thMay

What about after April 2020?

  • 18 Week Support is furloughing you for April ONLY at this stage.
  • We are starting to see some resumption of activity and ask you to submit your availability for May and June
  • If activity does not resume as fast as hoped, we maydecide to furlough staff for a further month, but this is not guaranteed at this stage.

Virtual Drop-In Sessions

We held our first virtual drop-in sessions on Monday and Tuesday for everyone who works in surgery and outpatient settings and those who work in Endoscopy. This was a great success with over 100 of you in total attending. There were several questions submitted, as follows:


When will 18WS work resume?
What is the growth in the waiting list backlog?
What kind of work will be coming in to 18WS?


Please see the paragraph above re 18WS Activity. We are expecting our activity to increase significantly in all our specialties very soon. We know the waiting list backlog is growing apace


What about the safety of patients and staff in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic?


We have developed an endoscopy pathway in which we screen all patients prior to booking and at the main entrance to the site. We also screen all staff daily. PPE is worn in all areas of the site with full PPE worn by staff in procedure rooms, donned and doffed for each patient. The principles of this pathway are applicable to all specialties and will be rolled out accordingly.

Our next virtual drop-in session is as follows:

  • Ophthalmology –30th April 7pm

RSPV here. 

Staying in Touch

We love our 18WS family and we want to stay in touch with you and get your 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


Please ensure that you submit claims promptly. Under the current policy there is a 60-day limit. Claims received after this date may not be paid.
The Expenses Policy is currently being updated and will be circulated within the next couple of weeks.

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.

18WS Baby

We are very pleased to announce that Shenade Alcindor, Recruitment and Compliance team, and Ron Ossei, formerly Recruitment and Compliance team, had a baby boy (Eli) on the 27th April 2020 at 21.19 hours. All are doing well. Congratulations Ron and Shenade!

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