When cases of Covid-19 reached Europe, a dedicated team of Healthcare Professionals assembled at every Trust across the country - the Hospital Control Team (often referred to as HCT). This team isn’t new to our Trust and is available to our organisation if and when a situation arises that needs a cohesive and controlled approach.
The HCT is responsible for the Trust’s Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) to major incident situations – and these can range from internal bed capacity issues affecting the running of our hospitals, all the way to a fire in one our buildings, a local incident involving multiple casualties… and even global pandemics!
“Working in the Hospital Control Team is hard work. It’s often quite intense and requires you to think on the spot and predict the unpredictable at times but it’s also a great honour and something I have spent a large part of my career learning about and educating others on,” says Celia Kendrick, Head of Resilience and Emergency Preparedness.
Infection control play an integral role during any pandemic situation and they have had to cope with a vast amount of change to processes, coordinate patient and staff swab testing, understand the PPE levels and implement the required measures to keep our staff and patients as safe as possible, and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
“We have thankfully never had to deal with such an unpredictable virus before and in some ways, it’s been fascinating to look at the science behind the pandemic from a clinical perspective,” says Nikki Jackman, Deputy Director of Infection Prevention and Control. “It is very difficult to see patients suffering in such awful ways with this disease though and it makes our jobs worthwhile when we know we’re all working so hard towards slowing down the spread of infection and protecting both our staff and patients from contracting it.”
The HCT will remain in situ until the national situation calms enough to safely allow us to reduce the level of engagement and command that is still currently required of us by NHS England. “Even after we stand down the Control Team, there will be a lengthy period of recovery,” says Celia. “I have never experienced anything like what we are going through now and I’ve been working in the NHS for over 40 years. There will inevitably be lessons to be learned and things we can improve on but I will always be very proud of the way our Trust came together to fight this battle and every single member of staff has played a part in ensuring that patient safety and experience has remained our highest priority.”