News

NHS trusts reveal emergency travel plans for staff this winter

Community nurses may be driven to appointments in 4x4 cars in extreme weather conditions

Community nurses may be driven to appointments in 4x4 cars in extreme weather conditions

Lifts in 4x4 cars in poor weather, on-site accommodation and home working are some of the plans in place to support NHS staff travel to work this winter amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans will ensure nurses can carry on working this winter

Nursing Standard sent freedom of information requests to all 263 trusts and health boards in the UK asking what plans they have in place to support staff with travel to and from work between 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021 if public transport is disrupted due to severe weather or COVID-19 lockdowns.

Community nurses may be driven to appointments in 4x4 cars in extreme weather conditions

A 4x4 car in snowy weather. NHS trusts have revealed emergency travel plans for staff this winter
Trusts are preparing for travel disruptions due to severe weather conditions ​​​Picture: iStock

Lifts in 4x4 cars in poor weather, on-site accommodation and home working are some of the plans in place to support NHS staff travel to work this winter amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans will ensure nurses can carry on working this winter

Nursing Standard sent freedom of information requests to all 263 trusts and health boards in the UK asking what plans they have in place to support staff with travel to and from work between 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021 if public transport is disrupted due to severe weather or COVID-19 lockdowns.

A total of 149 providers responded with their plans.

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said that 50 volunteers from the West Midlands 4x4 response group will take nurses and other staff to and from appointments in the community during severe weather.

Overseeing the travel arrangements is the trust’s emergency preparedness and business continuity manager Keith Hewitt who is also a registered adult nurse.

Training for staff in severe weather driving

Mr Hewitt, who has used the 4x4 response group, said: ‘The volunteers know exactly what they are doing and how to avoid problems. You have complete confidence in what they are doing.’

The volunteer drivers are also trained in how to help community nurses and help carry equipment to and from appointments.

The trust also offers staff with 4x4 cars a one-day training course in how to drive in severe weather.

Portfolio of plans to keep NHS services running

Across the UK, other plans include:

  • Hotel accommodation close to work
  • On-site accommodation
  • Remote working using face-to-face video calls
  • Taxis to take staff to and from work
  • Changing rotas to accommodate travel arrangements.

Commenting on the findings, NHS Employers managing director Rebecca Smith recognised the work employers have put in place to deal with COVID-19 and the pressures of winter.

She said: ‘It is heartening to see organisations thinking laterally to prepare for the challenges of the period to help minimise disruption and support staff so they can continue to care for our communities.’


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs