Herts council staff redeployed to fight coronavirus on the frontline
A total of 849 Hertfordshire County Council staff have been redeployed to work in critical services to help fight Covid-19.
Over the last three weeks an army of around 270 public health clinicians, who were working as school nurses, health visitors, in drug and alcohol services and in sexual health clinics, have been seconded to help the NHS around the county.
They are now working in a variety of roles, including A&E, working on cancer wards, treating Covid-19 patients, running Covid-19 testing centres and in highly skilled programme manager roles within the NHS.
A number of public health initiatives have also been put in place to help free up doctors and pharmacists so that they can provide vital medication and support for those most vulnerable within our communities.
Despite this, much of the health improvement work and vital services that the Public Health team usually deliver continues. Essential Public Health services have moved online; many consultations are taking place virtually, sexual health testing kits and contraception are being ordered and sent out by post and the crucial stop smoking service continues.
In the last two weeks over 400 people have requested help to stop smoking in Hertfordshire and the team have had to double the amount of specialist stop smoking clinics available showing that Covid-19 is a key driver in encouraging smokers to quit.
17 on-call fire fighters are now supporting the East of England Ambulance Service having just completed their induction and training programme at the Joint Emergency Services Academy, Stevenage. They will start driving ambulances so that paramedics are freed up to treat the most vulnerable patients across the region.
Fire Fighters continue to provide emergency responses to call-outs from members of the public including fire-fighting, water rescue and road traffic collisions.
Other county council staff, including those who usually work in services that have been suspended since the lockdown was introduced, such as Libraries, Adult Care Day Services and Registration Services, are being asked to offer extra hours if they work part time and to move to different roles in a bid to support the frontline response to the Covid-19 pandemic through our new Redeployment Hub, which aims to create a community workforce.
These individuals will be moved to more urgent duties within administration functions, adult social care or community support roles.
So far 102 people have offered to work additional hours, with a further 370 being considered for redeployment across suspended services. In addition to this, 90 staff supporting day centre provision have moved across to roles in supported living accommodation, offering emotional and physical support to service users with a variety of needs.
These numbers are expected to grow in the coming weeks so that frontline services are bolstered further and vulnerable residents get the vital care and support they need.
David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said:
“Our colleagues, who already do such a fantastic job fulfilling their usual duties, are now stretching themselves even further, utilising their skills and experience to help the county, the region and indeed the country respond in the most effective way possible to the Covid-19 crisis. It makes me very proud as the leader of this organisation to witness this professionalism and passion for helping others.
“This determination to get things done and help in any way they can is mirrored in all the activity we have seen our residents taking part in over the last few weeks showing that if we pull together and support each other, whether in the jobs we do or in the way we deal with those vulnerable residents in our communities, we will get through this challenging time - one Hertfordshire united against Coronavirus.”
Councillor James Jamieson, LGA Chairman, said:
“A widespread coronavirus epidemic across the country is inevitably having an impact on the wide range of services councils provide and communities rely on.
“Council staff are stepping up to this unprecedented challenge and are having to be flexible to ensure that vital local services can be maintained.
“They continue to do an amazing job in hugely challenging circumstances.”