NHS Fife opens new 'time out' hub to give health teams a sanctuary

The first of a new type of dedicated support hub for NHS Fife staff has opened within the grounds of Victoria Hospital.

By Debbie Clarke
Thursday, 9th April 2020, 10:57 am

Based in our Maggie’s Centre, it will provide a calm and welcoming space for all staff to take time out from work.

A variety of easily accessible resources are also available, with colleagues on hand to provide support.

Maggie’s have generously donated use of the building for health and social care staff during the pandemic.

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Staff along with Wilma Brown, NHS Fife employee director in the new support hub for staff based in the Maggie’s Centre adjacent to Victoria Hospital. Pic: Craig Hamilton/NHS Fife.

The hub will initially operate from Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm, with plans to extend these times further and include weekends. It will also open on public holidays.

Refreshments have been provided with local businesses lending support by sending in food and drinks – including Domino’s which has been delivering pizzas daily for staff.

Additional support hubs are being set up at Queen Margaret, Whyteman’s Brae and Stratheden Hospitals. Strict infection controls are in place, along with social distancing measures and staff will monitor the numbers of staff using the hubs.

Wilma Brown, NHS Fife employee director, said the idea came from the Well at Work groups in NHS Fife which offer a lot of information for staff on managing anxiety and stress.

From left: Dr Jackie Fearn, consultant clinical psychologist and Wilma Brown, NHS Fife employee director in the new support hub for staff based in the Maggie’s Centre adjacent to Victoria Hospital. Pic: Craig Hamilton/NHS Fife.

With the peak of the coronavirus pandemic coming closer, it was felt there was a need to provide extra support.

She said with NHS Fife psychologists having extra time as a result of having to stop face-to-face contact with clients, they were available to provide a service in the new hub.

She added: “The new support hub is a very welcome resource for staff and will provide great benefit at what is an extremely challenging time.”

Dr Jackie Fearn, consultant clinical psychologist, has a team of ten who will be working with her on a rota basis.

The new support hub for NHS Fife staff is based in the Maggie's Centre.

She said: “We can provide one-to-one confidential consultations with staff in the smaller meeting rooms at the centre as well as directing them to resources which will help them to manage their mental health, including laptops to access online support.

“We also have really good resource packs which provide staff with information on how to access apps like Sleepio which is freely available to all NHS staff and offers tips on how to get a good night’s sleep, as well as relaxation and wellbeing advice.”

Jackie added: “There are also areas in the centre where staff can relax and have their lunch or a break away from clinical areas.“We are very thankful to Maggie’s Fife for letting us use it.”

An expanded staff listening service has also just been launched by NHS Fife, providing space for staff to talk about their personal and professional experiences and feelings. It is available to all staff across all sites, as is the staff counselling service.

Linda Douglas, NHS Fife director of workforce, said: “The mental and emotional wellbeing of our staff is vitally important and the hubs are a way to provide extra support to amazing staff who are delivering care in the most difficult of times.

“A range of face-to-face, online and telephone support is already available and we continue to build on these. We are extremely grateful to our friends at Maggie’s for their generosity.”

Alison Allan, Maggie’s Fife centre head, said: “We are delighted to be able to help our colleagues within the NHS at this difficult and challenging time.

“While we are supporting people living with cancer by telephone, email and online it is wonderful to know our centre is being put to good use as a place of support for those NHS workers on the frontline.”