HOSPITAL charity Leeds Cares is due to give at least £1million for initiatives to support NHS staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust during the second wave of the pandemic.
The charity will invest nearly £900,000 in a clinical psychology programme for frontline health workers, including those who are treating patients with COVID-19. The money will go towards funding psychologists who can support staff through emotional trauma, providing mental health first aiders and establishing dedicated wellbeing support for staff from BAME backgrounds.
Further funding will be given to the hospital to renovate staff areas including staff rooms onwards and fund care packs and other projects to boost staff morale.
Head of Psychology Services at the Trust, Dr Alastair Duff said:
“Our teams continue to work incredibly hard to care for patients whilst also juggling their responsibilities at home. We know that some have been affected by shielding, job losses and family bereavements which, on top of losing patients due to COVID-19, has had a serious impact on mental wellbeing.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve responded by introducing a number of temporary services to support individuals. This funding from Leeds Cares will give us a huge boost and enable us to put in more holistic service with additional capacity to help staff through these difficult times.”
Jenny Lewis, Director of HR and Organisational Development, said:
“Over the last nine months, we’ve had the most amazing support from people across Leeds who have put on public displays of appreciation for our NHS staff, donated to our causes, and raised money. Donations to our charity make a huge difference to our patients, their families and our staff and help us to deliver the best possible care.”
The decision to support hospital staff comes at a time when the charity has already lost £750,000 in income from cancelled events due to the impact of the pandemic. Like many charities across the country, Leeds Cares has had to cancel much of their planned fundraising activity. They have also seen lost income from events postponed across Yorkshire, including the Leeds 10K and Leeds Half Marathon.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals is already treating more COVID-19 patients than in the first wave whilst trying to continue many of its other services, so the charity was keen to support in any way possible.
Charity CEO Esther Wakeman said:
“We see first-hand how hard our NHS colleagues are working during this time and they always prioritise their patients so we are pleased to be able to do something to support them. We are launching an urgent fundraising appeal for staff wellbeing and hope people will use the lockdown period to fundraise.
“This funding will provide some reassurance that staff have dedicated support, and refurbished staff spaces, right there on the wards, to give some respite. When they spend a full day in PPE and can’t even hug their colleagues at the end of a hard shift, it is important that there are other ways for them to access support.
“Every single pound we receive really matters right now, as it helps us to support our NHS staff at this very difficult time. The public can get involved by making a donation through our website or fundraising through our Hospital Heroes campaign.”
As a member of the national ‘NHS Charities Together’ organisation, Leeds Cares successfully secured £210,000 in donations from the national coronavirus campaign. This money was quickly spent on supporting the hospitals throughout the pandemic, on things like urgent medical equipment. They now hope to receive more funding from NHS Charities Together and are relying on the public to support them.