Gloucester Hospitals NHS FT – Buddying Scheme

Like many other NHS departments across the country, finance and procurement staff at Gloucestershire Hospitals were told to work from home from 23rd March 2020; in response to Covid-19 and protecting the safety of staff.  Whilst many people work from home occasionally, doing this long term has felt like a new phenomenon for these departments.  On the 24th March, every member of the procurement department received an email from their manager about being part of a ‘buddying scheme’. A similar scheme already existed in the trust and was started by the Medical Director in his clinical team, and was then adapted by Ed Taylor, Head of Procurement for his department at the start of lockdown and home working.
The idea of the scheme is to ensure everyone has someone that they can check in with at a specific time every day, usually at 11am.  The scheme involves being partnered up with someone else in your team. The idea is that you have someone to talk to, connect with, and listen to in a non-judgemental way. Lurdes Magalhaes, a procurement capital specialist from the trust told us about how the buddying scheme has really helped her during the pandemic.  Lurdes and her buddy both live alone and did not know each other particularly well before the scheme, they now know each other really well and have helped each other through this difficult time.  Lurdes explained that, “the buddy system has been an incredible scheme for staff wellbeing. It has been extremely beneficial for me during these lockdown months and the fact that I have had someone I could talk to on a daily basis about anything without judgement has helped me to feel connected and part of someone’s else life.” The daily chats can be about anything the main goal is, to motivate staff to take a break which is really important as many of us often forget to take regular breaks away from the screen when working from home. The scheme has helped improve Lurdes’ wellbeing and says that, “it has helped me to keep focus and be productive with work. It is extremely gratifying to feel that someone benefits from my time and gives my day more meaning with goals.”
Gloucester Hospitals is really focused on the wellbeing of its staff, and in 2019 launched a health and wellbeing hub to support staff through the pressures of work and modern life.  The trust has lots of fantastic Value Makers who are more than willing to share their good practice and experiences, so don’t be afraid to reach out to find out more about their health and wellbeing initiatives.