Portsmouth hospital staff suffering with trauma due to Covid to benefit from new service

CITY hospital staff suffering from stressful or traumatic experiences during the Covid pandemic are set to benefit from a ‘fantastic’ new wellbeing service.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 5:04 pm
Updated Monday, 12th July 2021, 5:05 pm

The critical incident stress management (CISM) service has been launched by the Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU), run by volunteers from different departments across the trust.

It offers confidential debrief sessions with individuals and teams following critical or traumatic incidents.

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A new wellbeing service at PHU has been launched. Pictured is Serena Cottrell and Sebastian Weckwerth.

Paediatric emergency physician, Serena Cottrell, is one of the new CISM debriefers and said the training programme has prepared her to ‘offer this fantastic service’.

‘I know what a great team looks like but I also know that if you don’t look after and value yourself and colleagues then it affects everyone,’ she said.

‘I am honoured to be part of the trust’s new service of volunteer psychological debriefers.

‘I believe it will help the teams, who use the service, be reassured that many of the reactions they experience post a traumatic event are normal and shared by their colleagues. It will help the team work together to heal and identify a time scale that helps people know if they need help if reactions persist.’

Chief nurse Liz Rix added: ‘This has been set up not only in a response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic but more importantly to bring further wellbeing provisions to all staff at PHU.

‘We know that to provide the best care, we have to care for ourselves as well and we are committed to looking after our staff wellbeing as best as possible’

Portsmouth Hospitals Charity funded the CISM programme and the team at PHU worked in collaboration with Dave Hannigan from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust on the project.

Sebastian Weckwerth, CISM co-ordinator, added: ‘We know that workplace incidents can be incredibly stressful and even potentially traumatic, especially for anyone working within healthcare and therefore it is great to see that there are provisions that can help with this.

‘We hope that these incidents are few and far between but it is still important to have this in place to enable staff to access support but also to make sense of what has happened. It is encouraging to see that the service has already been used successfully and I hope it will be a real benefit to PHU.’

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