Digital services team, redeployed to telephone patients

During the recent Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff from around The Christie stepped up to support the work of the hospital. One of these teams was a group of colleagues from digital services. During their redeployment, the group – Shahfaz Saeed, Lynda McCole, Shoaib Ougradar, Sarah Ousley and Paul Baxter – went above and beyond to help support their clinical colleagues at a difficult time.

With the intense pressures of the Omicron wave, all of the staff put themselves forwards for redeployment to help manage patient calls. This involved working in the systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) team, calling patients about their upcoming appointments.

The team had to ensure patients were aware of their upcoming treatment appointments and check they were still attending. They also had to signpost to other services if required.

All of the colleagues who volunteered for redeployment had full training on how to answer patients’ calls. They were given guidance on their approach and support around what to say. One of the redeployed staff members said that the work was a real team effort – everyone pulled together to get the job done.

In terms of the redeployment opportunity, one colleague said they put themselves forwards for the redeployment as they saw it as an opportunity to liaise directly with patients and to support The Christie in areas where there was a need. Another staff member added that as their regular role didn't have any patient contact, the redeployment offered a good way to see a different side to the Trust and help to ease pressures in front-facing areas.

Answering patients’ calls let the team reassure patients that there is genuine concern for their health and wellbeing. It also gave patients the opportunity to raise any queries or concerns around their attendance or treatment.

One of the team who was redeployed said that speaking to patients meant ‘listening to the untold story in each conversation and tone’ and described it as a humbling experience. Another added that they really enjoyed interacting with patients and hearing about the great things that they have to say about The Christie.

“The experience has allowed me to be able to hear what is not being said. The extraordinary strength and resilience of individuals as they greet you with a smile, being polite, friendly and courteous when you are aware of the pain and anguish they will be going through.”

  - Shoaib Ougradar, applications manager

"I really enjoyed helping with this piece of work and talking to the patients. Working within information governance, you have no patient interaction. This has really given me an insight into other areas of the Trust and I have loved some of the stories that patients have shared."

  - Sarah Ousley, information governance officer

“This has been an amazing opportunity to work collaboratively with some of our digital team in a very different way to usual. It has allowed us to ensure we are utilising our capacity and enabling us to manage staffing and treatment plans proactively.
“I cannot thank the team enough for their support throughout this challenging period.”

  - Claire Adams, head of SACT services

If you are a patient of The Christie, or a patient's friend or family member, find out what the current rules are for visiting The Christie or coming for your appointment on our COVID-19 information page.