Sheffield NHS staff use free day off recognising efforts during pandemic

Earlier this year all staff at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust were given a day to spend in any way they like this year. The “gift of time” was given as a gesture of appreciation for their extraordinary efforts over the last year.

During the last year teams and individuals have frequently said that time was the thing they needed most. Staff have not hesitated to spend their days in a variety of different ways.

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of mental health, learning disability and substance misuse services to the people of Sheffield.

Helen Crimlisk with her family
Helen Crimlisk with her family

Helen Crimlisk, a consultant psychiatrist and deputy medical director, spent time with her family who had previously been shielding. She said: “I met with my sister and her husband and their daughter who has needed to shield for most of the last year as a result of serious health problems.
“We were blessed with good weather and a great pub lunch and walk in the Peak District.”

Other staff have taken the opportunity to enjoy the England football team’s success in recent weeks. Charlie Hobson, technical support manager, and David Higginbottom, senior directorate finance officer, used their day to watch England beat Germany in the round of 16 at Euro 2020.

Charlie said: "To beat Germany at Wembley and say I was there, that is special. It was an unbelievable experience, one I will never forget!”

David added: "Possibly the best football match I have ever been to, supporting Sheffield Wednesday I don’t get many euphoric moments like that! After not being able to attend any events over the past 15 months it was quite special."

Charlie Hobson and David Higginbottom at Wembley
David Higginbottom and Charlie Hobson at Wembley

Katie Harris, a senior community intensive support nurse, spent her gift of time day with her daughter. She said: "I spent my time with my eldest daughter who was booked in for an operation. My daughter has endured health problems since being a teenager and now at 23, they are finally going to investigate further.

"This has been debilitating for her as it has impacted on her day to day life including missing out on various events and celebrations such as her 21st birthday. I am so glad I had the chance to be there for her.”

Katie Harris (right), Senior Community Intensive Support Nurse, spent her gift of time day with her daughter (left)
Katie Harris (right), Senior Community Intensive Support Nurse, spent her gift of time day with her daughter (left)

The gift of time is a small way that the organisation is prioritising the wellbeing of staff as the NHS strives to give great care for patients in the city. Teams have worked relentlessly to maintain mental health and social care services in Sheffield. From community teams to ward staff to supporting services, all the teams have risen to every challenge COVID-19 brought. At the same time the Trust has been busy making the care it provides better for its service users.