As part of its commitment to helping the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic, insurer Aviva confirmed to its UK employees that it would fully support any former clinicians if they wished to return to work for the NHS during the crisis.
For Adam Hayward, Senior Clinical Consultant in Aviva’s UK Health and Protection business, stepping forward to support his local NHS trust in Southampton was an easy decision.
With a varied clinical and NHS background, Adam started off nursing before specialising in intensive care and anaesthetics, then moving into trauma management, then surgical practitioner practice. Before moving to his current role at Aviva, Adam spent 10 years in management roles for the NHS, dealing with areas including commissioning and operations.
Adam, who started his return to the front line at the end of March, reports on his first few days on the front line.
“When the Government’s ‘call to action’ came, I knew I had to volunteer. It’s my professional and ethical duty to do so. It’s about doing the right thing. The NHS trained me, gave me experience and a whole host of qualifications – I couldn’t let those skills go to waste – even if it meant that I can help save just one extra life.
“I turned up for day one of my two days training an hour early to acclimatise to somewhere I’ve never worked. I’m glad I did as I spent most of this hour getting lost in the vastness that is the University Hospital Southampton.
“When the Government’s ‘call to action’ came, I knew I had to volunteer – it’s my professional and ethical duty to do so, it’s about doing the right thing”
“Many of the usual routes were closed, with security directing people down alternative, safer, routes. To add to the challenge, I was still waiting to be issued with my new ID and appeared to be the only person not in uniform. It turns out that my Aviva pass is about as much use as my video membership card in this situation!
“The training covered a range of practical skills and the trust’s processes and policies. The trainers did an amazing job condensing topics that would usually take weeks to learn into just two intensive sessions.
“One part of the training that really struck me was the stark reality of life in an intensive care unit (ICU) during a pandemic. I already understood the risks. After all, due to its nature you’re dealing with the sickest and often most infectious patients. But what I wasn’t ready for was the reality that in order to protect themselves and their patients, clinicians may need to make difficult decisions that challenge the ethical and professional codes they are taught.
“I’ve never faced this situation before, but the hospital is doing everything in its power to protect its staff and patients.
“After the training we were allocated our new roles. I’m returning to my roots to support the Neurological ICU. This means that I’ll be in a ‘clean’ area of the hospital treating patients with neurological conditions.
“It’s all too easy to focus on COVID-19 and lose sight of the fact that the usual patient ‘footfall’ doesn’t stop during a pandemic. Seriously unwell people don’t miraculously get better. University Hospital Southampton is leading the way as a tertiary centre of excellence which still needs to cater for areas such as cardiac and neuro emergencies. It’s not just a case of being able to delay non-essential planned surgery.
“Although I’m in a ‘clean’ area of the hospital, I’ll be in full PPE – which is kind of like a space suit. The (welcome) challenge is that it gets very hot and most of the time people can only take about 2-3 hours before needing a break, fluids and of course the bathroom! I’m not complaining though. The trust takes its staff and patient welfare extremely seriously. And, I feel very fortunate to have this additional protection.
“It’s all too easy to focus on COVID-19 and lose sight of the fact that the usual patient ‘footfall’ doesn’t stop during a pandemic – seriously unwell people don’t miraculously get better”
“I’m glad to be able to do my bit to help continue to offer the high levels of support and specialist care these patients need. I’m entering my new role with a little trepidation but I’m also looking forward to getting things right. What I mean by this is spotting clinical signs, diagnosing patients correctly and giving them the right treatment.
“ICU practitioners are pretty autonomous, which is great for one’s learning and experience but also daunting when you’re starting out. However, just like my previous ICUs – The Royal London and St. Barts – the teams are fantastic and really supportive, with much needed humour and camaraderie to the fore.
“And the organisation is terrific here, in terms of how they deploy and train. It really is impressive, particularly as the understanding of what we’re dealing with keeps changing. Even though it’s been a while since I was last working in ICU my training has come flooding back. After all its not brain surgery. Oh, hang on, that’s exactly what it is…”
Adam Hayward is Senior Clinical Consultant at Aviva
Aviva has provided all its UK employees who used to work in a clinical role for the NHS the option to return, for up to three months and will ensure that those who do maintain their full Aviva salary. Aviva’s UK employees are also able to use their volunteer leave (21 hours annually) in order to support people affected by the Coronavirus.
Aviva has also pledged £5m to NHS Charities Together as part of a package of measures aimed at supporting customers and their communities during the COVID-19 crisis.
Aviva’s donation will fund support for the NHS in three key areas: welfare and wellbeing for NHS employees, volunteers and patients; assistance for patients leaving hospital; and long-term mental health support for NHS workers.
Aviva’s package of measures to support customers and communities also includes:
- Free breakdown cover, enhanced home insurance for personal belongings and free courtesy cars for Aviva customers working in the NHS. It will also prioritise repairs for NHS workers who are Aviva motor insurance customers.
- Full pay for Aviva employees who volunteer full time for the NHS and British Red Cross.
- Support for Aviva direct, Quotemehappy or General Accident home, motor and personal van customers who may be experiencing severe financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19, by deferring their monthly payments and spreading payments over the remaining term of their policies.
- A donation of £10 million to the British Red Cross, to support those coming out of hospital and ensuring those made most vulnerable by the outbreak can get the right support at the right time.
- Donations from surplus stock of hand sanitizers, rubber gloves, antiseptic wipe pod refills and face masks to key worker organisations and charities.