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Staff Newsletter 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.

We have decided to produce a weekly newsletter to inform you of what we are doing to provide clinical support to the NHS in these difficult times. The newsletter will also signpost you to useful resources for your work.

18WS Activity

As you will be aware, most of our support activity to the NHS has been suspended. We are confident that when this is all over, we will be busier than ever as waiting lists in our key specialities will have increased and we will be desperately needed to help reduce those.

We are currently developing pathways for two week wait patients in endoscopy, in partnership with an NHS Trust and the Cancer Alliance. Our challenge is to undertake this essential work safely for our staff and patients within the context of the COVID 19 pandemic, whilst securing the best outcomes for patients who have a life limiting condition and need investigation and treatment. We will update you as this work progresses.

We continue to rapidly progress new ways of working to support the NHS through virtual technology in order to clinically triage waiting lists and prioritise those patients who are very urgent, and to provide patient consultations by telephone or video conference. We are also looking at how we provide initial diagnostics at non-acute hospital sites. This work is pertinent to the here and now, but also very pertinent to the future as post SARS COVID 19 the NHS will continue to increase its’ use of these virtual processes and strategies.

Mid-month payment

As advised last week, payments were made a little later during the day than usual but were transferred by 6pm last night. We are aware of a very small number of outstanding payments and we are chasing those individuals for missing information so that the remaining payments can be made today.

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.


Below are links to free online learning resources that may be useful to you.

An online video on the correct technique for
Donning and Doffing PPE

Resources on
Mental Health and Wellbeing


Please also see advice on
Dealing with bereavement and grief

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. The Lead Nurses and Nurses’ in Charge continue to have weekly catchups by telephone.

We are also planning virtual drop-in sessions for each specialty.  Invites will be sent out to you, so please save these dates on your calendar:

  • Surgery – 27th April 7pm
  • Endoscopy – 28th April 7pm
  • Ophthalmology – 30th April 7pm

In addition, we keep a record of clinical staff and their household members who have been unwell or are self-isolating because of suspected COVID 19. Please let us know if this is pertinent to you so we can keep track of your health and wellbeing and offer advice. We also follow up all individuals we have listed with a telephone call from Jake, our Head of Nursing, to offer help and 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