The last year has been an incredibly challenging time for the whole country – and the most extraordinary period in the history of the NHS. So much has changed. Not least in our hospitals, where our remarkable NHS colleagues have fought Covid-19 on the front line – and in doing so, saved countless lives.
But there are also many others who have played an important role in supporting our hospitals through this unprecedented time: the hundreds of volunteers who delivered emergency supplies to NHS staff; the local businesses and community groups who donated food and drink to the front line; and the thousands of donors and fundraisers whose generosity and goodwill enabled us to provide an effective response to the pandemic.
During this challenging time, we’ve channelled this outpouring of kindness into vital wellbeing support for NHS staff and a better hospital experience for thousands of patients.
Scroll down to see how our Covid-19 response has made a real difference to NHS staff and patients. And if you'd like to read more, click here.
At the peak of the pandemic, Imperial College Healthcare was among the busiest NHS trusts in England, treating more than 1,900 patients with Covid-19 between March and August 2020.
Responding to this extraordinary challenge required a dramatic reorganisation of services and staff. Within a few weeks, the Trust doubled its intensive care bed capacity and redeployed hundreds of staff members to new roles.
In responding to this fast-moving situation, we set out to provide additional support in two key areas: improving the wellbeing of NHS staff and enhancing the hospital experience for the most vulnerable patients.
This was made possible thanks to the incredible generosity and kindness of our many donors, fundraisers and supporters, who helped us raise more than £3 million for our Covid-19 Relief Fund in just a few months. The remarkable response to our fundraising appeal enabled us to provide urgent support for staff and patients during the first wave, as well as helping our hospitals recover and rebuild for the long term.
For hard-working hospital staff facing the most extreme pressure, we were able to provide urgent assistance on the front line.
Generous donations from our supporters enabled us to fund extra counselling, improved staff rest areas, a free hairdressing service and urgent support for bereaved families.
While NHS staff worked round the clock to provide outstanding care for patients, we helped to make their time in hospital as comfortable as possible.
Throughout the pandemic, we've supported a range of ongoing projects to enhance the hospital experience for patients and their families, including ‘virtual visiting’ tablet devices, faster free wifi, arts activities and workshops, care packs for patients at the bedside and emergency hardship grants to help families struggling financially due to the impact of a loved one’s time in hospital.
Our staff and volunteers have helped to provide vital support to patients and NHS staff working on the front line during the pandemic, with more than 350 people stepping forward to support our emergency response.
Between March and August 2020, our Crisis Response Volunteers helped to keep NHS workers supplied with food and drink, ran three pop-up shops entirely free for NHS staff, delivered patients’ belongings sent in from home and advised visitors on critical hand hygiene and health and safety guidance.
Without their enormous contribution, we would not have been able to provide this essential support to our hospitals.
The efforts of our Crisis Response Volunteers have been equally important since January this year, when a second spike in Covid-19 cases led to even greater pressure on hospital services. As well as welcoming visitors and running supplies around the hospitals, our volunteers have played an important supporting role at the staff vaccination clinics.
Their contribution has helped to ensure over 36,000 healthcare workers have received their jab so far as part of the country's biggest ever vaccination campaign.
As restrictions have gradually eased, we've also been able to re-introduce ward-based activities, with several of our volunteers delivering food and drink to patients at mealtimes.
In September 2020, we awarded a £1.7m grant from our Covid-19 Relief Fund to fund a major programme of wellbeing support.
The Covid-19 ‘legacy’ programme will include improvements to hundreds of staff facilities, better access to food and shops, and enhanced counselling and mental health support.
Over £450,000 of funding has gone towards boosting the number of counsellors and helping the Trust's counselling service, CONTACT, continue to deliver a rapid response service for those in the most difficult circumstances.
From April 2020 to January 2021, over 700 staff were referred for one-to-one counselling support – a 57% increase on the year before. During the same period more than 3,000 staff attended CONTACT’s emotional wellbeing groups.
We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us during this challenging period. The generosity and kindness of our many donors, fundraisers, volunteers and community partners has enabled us to provide urgent support at a time when our hospitals have needed it the most.
If you'd like to read more about the impact we've made through our Covid-19 response, click here.