To ensure a coordinated and managed response to the coronavirus pandemic, we created a Coronavirus Task Team back in March. The team quickly brought together people with the most relevant skills and experience from across the organisation.
Led by our Director of Mental Health, Emma Main, the team was able to move quickly to offer practical support to operational staff and advise the Leadership Team on evolving Government guidelines regarding everything from personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospital admissions.
“In those early weeks of March we were very much in crisis management mode,” explains Emma Main. “Our first task was to establish an internal information hub and set up clear channels of communication so that we could address the immediate concerns of staff. This dedicated email and information hub has turned out to be a brilliant way of sharing learning as well as us providing guidance.”
“We were monitoring the advice from the NHS, Public Health England and the Government, and then interpreting this through a ‘Certitude lens’ while ensuring it remained in line with Government guidance. We wanted to continue to offer a personalised approach and stay true to our Certitude values – and I believe that, on the whole, we achieved that.”
Lessons learned for future planning
Since the first lockdown ended, the team have continued to monitor Government guidelines while turning their expertise to winter planning. Lessons have been learned about stocking and sourcing PPE, managing food supplies and organising staff rotas so the whole organisation is well prepared as the impact of the pandemic continues.
“I am immensely proud of the whole team,” says Emma Main. Everyone stepped up and gave everything, working their socks off and never complaining about the long hours and stress. With time to reflect I do realise that it was quite a responsibility but, like everyone back then, we just got on with it.”
Our local communities were so helpful during the first lockdown. From local supermarkets and shops ensuring staff were prioritised for shopping, businesses including Hobbycraft and Marks and Spencer donating goods to keep people busy, and The Godolphin and Latymer school in Hammersmith donating science goggles for teams to use as PPE. These acts of generosity were not just helpful practically, they kept people going, knowing they were being thought of and supported.