March 31st, 2020
Hundreds of our staff and students have been asking about opportunities for secondments or to volunteer to help the national fight against coronavirus. This is fantastic, and the University wants to be as supportive as it can be.
As part of the University’s wider approach to supporting external partners, we have been working to develop guidance, formal processes, standardised contracts and agreements. We have a responsibility to ensure staff and students are protected, but we are also trying to ensure that our partners can get the support they need most.
To that end, we have been prioritising work to develop agreements with NHS partners for the secondment of staff with clinical experience back to practice. We have also been working to develop the most effective guidance and mechanisms to support student volunteering and specific arrangements for PGR.
We hope to publish this guidance to staff and students within the next week on the University’s COVID-19 Response and Support for Partners pages.
Until the guidance is published, however, it is important that colleagues delay making firm commitments to partners through secondment or volunteering arrangements that are not wholly outside of work time. This advice will apply to staff who wish to undertake secondments, such as medically and non-medically-qualified clinicians, as well as those looking to volunteer their time in more generalist roles.
The guidance will provide advice for staff and line-managers regarding processes and other considerations that we must put in place to protect staff. They will also outline how people can go about volunteering or asking to be seconded, as well as listing current opportunities provided by local and national partners, with whom we are closely liaising on this approach.
Secondments involve a formal agreement from the University releasing staff from their duties in order for them to carry out another role. Unless explicitly agreed with a local healthcare partner, this will be on a voluntary basis. Examples include a GMC registered researcher who wishes to be seconded as junior doctor or a qualified lecturer practitioner who wishes to be seconded as a physiotherapist.
For non-medical clinically qualified staff (nurses, midwives and allied health professionals) who would like to be seconded back into a clinical area to support the NHS at the current time please use this link to provide details. For general enquiries about this opportunity please contact HS-Stafffirstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteering might involve staff supporting the national NHS volunteering scheme either within their own free time or if they wish to take unpaid leave in their current role under the Government’s emergency volunteering leave scheme. There will be advice and support for these staff members too. There will also be specific programmes developed for students in keeping with national legislation and other policies covering final year medics and nurses.
A huge thanks to all those who have asked to volunteer or be seconded so far. This work is being prioritised in order to support local and national efforts. Please await further guidance on this in the next few days.
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