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Gloucestershire Business News

Hospital charity provides £100,000 for staff's mental health

Money donated to help NHS staff in Gloucester during the coronavirus crisis will continue to do so for months to come.

The Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity has provided £100,000 of mental health support for staff.

The funding includes a clinical psychologist who will work directly with teams and staff members, peer training for staff in the aftermath of traumatic events and a diversity and Inclusion lead who will focus on helping BAME staff members in response to the pandemic.

Head of fundraising Richard Smith said the charity was moving from offering rapid response help for hospital staff to putting more long-term support in place.

He said: "We have been able to accomplish so many things during lockdown thanks to the support for our Rapid Response Appeal - from more than 10,000 boost boxes supplied to staff to rest areas for staff with specialist reclining chairs and fold out beds. It's been such a boost to hospital staff.

"Now we're looking at how we make a difference for NHS staff in the longer term and we know mental health and wellbeing support can make a real impact after recent pressures."

Support for the appeal included head shaves by Cheltenham Town and Gloucester Rugby players, sponsored beard growing, fitness challenges and individuals donations and messages of thanks to staff.

In addition to local fundraising, £91,000 has been received from donors to the UK NHS Charities Together Appeal - bringing the total raised during the pandemic to £350,000.

Professor Mark Pietroni, medical director at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the mental health support will make a real difference to teams across the hospitals.

He said: "Our staff have been incredible throughout the COVID surge, but it has been tough, and people have been affected in different ways and at different times.

"Sometimes it is when staff have a moment to pause and reflect, or come up for air, that they will realise the enormity of the impact.

"As well as giving the best possible care for patients, and supporting families who have loved ones in hospital, our staff and their families have sometimes been ill themselves, and some have lost people they care deeply about.

"We all cope with this in different ways, so having the extra support will make a real impact for staff across our organisation. We're incredibly grateful to the local community for making this possible with their generosity."

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