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NHS staff family at mental health and learning disabilities Trust reunited after months apart

03 Jul 20 - 03 Jul 21

Four members of the same family, who live in Radlett and all work at Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT), have been reunited after weeks away from home. The family took the selfless decision to move out of their family home at the end of March, so that they could protect their Dad, whilst continuing their work supporting HPFT’s mental health and learning disability services in the height of the pandemic.

HPFT Healthcare Assistant, Bernadette with her husband Simon

HPFT healthcare workers and brothers l-r Chris, Graham and Aaron

“Although it was a difficult decision to make, it was one we felt was right”

Bernadette is a Health Care Assistant at HPFT and her husband Simon is in one of the high risk groups for COVID-19. After a frank conversation about how they could best protect him, whilst still working at the Trust, Bernadette and her sons Chris and Graham, who are Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aaron, a Community Support Time and Recovery Worker, collectively decided that the best thing to do was to explore the idea of temporarily moving out of the family home.

Supported by HPFT, the family was able to arrange free accommodation. Youngest son, Chris said: “Although it was a difficult decision to make, it was one we felt was right.

“The decision to move out was hard, but for me personally, and I'm sure the rest of my family, it relieved any anxiety and stress surrounding my Dad's health, as he would now be safer at home. Of course the hardest parts were not being able to stay together as a family and my Dad having to isolate at home on his own,”

Bernadette, Chris, Graham and Aaron all carried out vital work caring for HPFT service users, in challenging circumstances. They supported their teams in a variety of different ways to help meet the demands that COVID-19 brought to the delivery of HPFT’s mental health and learning disability services. This included organising activities to alleviate their boredom, helping service users to contact their families virtually, using technology and making sure our vulnerable service users in the community received essential food parcels.

“I am so grateful for the sacrifices they have all made.”

John Fanning, Service Line Lead for Learning Disabilities (Herts and Bucks) said: “The whole family has been amazing. They could have decided to shield at home together and this would have had massive implications for service delivery. I am so grateful for the sacrifices they have all made.”

Proud wife and mum Bernadette said: “I am very happy that we are all back together as a whole family - it is really nice to have us all back under the same roof.

“In my 31 years of working for the NHS at HPFT, I have never been more proud of the service we deliver and my family than I am today. We have felt much supported and hope we can carry on helping HPFT to deliver great services.”

Tom Cahill, CEO of HPFT said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to Bernadette, Chris, Graham and Aaron for going above and beyond in order to support our service users and their colleagues. It is because of people like them, that HPFT is an outstanding Trust, providing great support to our service users when they need it most.”

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