Furloughed Ashgate Hospicecare go 'above and beyond' after being redeployed as frontline workers

Furloughed retail staff at Ashgate Hospicecare have been praised after swapping their usual roles to care for end-of-life patients during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 8:39 pm

Last month the charity opened a temporary second coroanvirus wing at its inpatient unit in Old Brampton, which took their bed capacity up to 21 after reporting an ‘unprecedented demand’ for its services following a sharp increase in virus positive patients.

Staff from across the Chesterfield hospice were then redeployed to support those working on the frontline, including seven members of the retail team who were furloughed at the end of last year when shops were forced to close in line with the Government’s lockdown restrictions.

Retail workers have taken on several different roles including ward assistant and ward receptionist, making them responsible for ensuring enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available, delivering Covid test samples to Chesterfield Royal Hospital and welcoming the families of patients.

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Andrea and Paul are one of the seven retail workers who were redeployed to the inpatient unit at the height of the pandemic.
Andrea and Paul are one of the seven retail workers who were redeployed to the inpatient unit at the height of the pandemic.

Head of Clinical Services at Ashgate Hospicecare Jane Jones said: “We’re so grateful for the retail staff who have been helping out on our inpatient unit; they’ve made such a huge difference since they’ve been here.

“Their support with jobs like putting disposable items away and topping up PPE has meant our nurses and healthcare assistants can focus on spending their time caring for patients.

“They’re all so passionate about doing whatever they can to support the hospice so we can be there for the patients and families in our care.

"They have the spirit and dedication which embodies everything that being part of the Ashgate family is about.”

Andrea Farmery has the role of Ward Receptionist, welcoming families to the inpatient unit and answering queries over the phone.

Furniture van driver Paul Street who is normally based at the Hasland Furniture Store put himself forward to take on a new role while on furlough.

“The opportunity to come and help on the inpatient unit at Ashgate was one I couldn’t turn down”, he added.

“I’ve certainly been out of my comfort zone; I haven't really done anything like this before, but it hasn’t taken me long to settle in.

“I get huge satisfaction knowing the little bit we are doing is helping families of patients feel reassured that their loved ones are getting the best care possible.

Paul Street has swapped delivering furniture for helping with a range of tasks on the ward.

"I think my role now is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had; I really am honoured to be part of the Ashgate family.”

Another retail worker who has been redeployed to the Covid-19 ward is Andrea Farmery, who would usually work as the Deputy Store Manager at the Hasland Furniture Store.

She commented: “I’m very proud to work for Ashgate Hospicecare and I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to help my colleagues at the hospice during the pandemic. It’s lovely to be able to do a job that helps people when they need it most.

“The transition has been a learning curve to say the least, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge so far and I’m pleased to be doing my bit to support my hospice colleagues during these difficult times.”

The pair previously volunteered to help with the vaccine rollout at the Winding Wheel and are set to return to their usual roles when charity shops reopen on April 12.

To fill their roles on the inpatient unit, Ashgate Hospicecare is appealing to anyone who might be interested in volunteering to register their interest.

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