LFC Captain Jordan Henderson has spent a day meeting staff at Liverpool University Hospitals, where money raised by his #PlayersTogether initiative for NHS Charities Together is already making a vital difference to staff at the Trust.
Henderson started #PlayersTogether during the pandemic, inviting professional footballers to support the NHS by donating part of their wage to the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. The initiative was supported by premier league footballers, the Lionesses and the Scottish Women’s team, and raised millions of pounds. As a result of his incredible efforts, Jordan Henderson was named Charity Champion for NHS Charities Together in January 2021.
For the first time he has seen how funds are being used on the frontline in his club’s hometown, benefitting the health and wellbeing of NHS staff, patients and volunteers locally.
Speaking about the visit, Henderson said:
“It’s been an absolute privilege to meet the staff who cared for Liverpool throughout the pandemic. I know how tough it has been for the NHS and the reality is things haven’t eased up. I have family in the NHS and they are all working so hard, it’s relentless. Many staff are still struggling as a result and mental health in particular has taken a hammering.
“It’s reassuring to see the workforce getting proper support, but we can’t get complacent – and must continue to care for them like they care for us.”
Liverpool was one of the cities hit hardest by COVID-19, and experienced four waves of the virus. During October 2020, Liverpool had one of the highest rates of infection of any city in Europe, and to date Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) has cared for over 7,800 COVID-19 patients, with many sadly passing away.
These challenging circumstances meant staff having to cope with significant pressures both in work and at home – some have experienced stress, anxiety and difficulty sleeping, and in a number of cases depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kate Lynes is a nurse in Critical Care at Liverpool University Hospitals and is one of the staff members who benefitted from the staff psychology service. Throughout the pandemic the 25-year-old worked in both the Ventilation Inpatient Centre and Critical Care, caring for COVID-19 patients.
“It’s been a really challenging and often upsetting time for staff. In this job you’re always caring for other people, but I think it’s really important that you take time to care for yourself. When I come into work, I am a nurse and sometimes forget I am still Kate with a family at home. If you need support, I’d encourage you to take that step and ask for it.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Liverpool University Hospitals has established a range of services to provide essential wellbeing support to staff. This includes new wellbeing hubs, improvements to rest areas, and care packages.
NHS Charities Together has been able to provide further support, awarding the Trust’s Liverpool University Hospitals Charity more than £520,000 in grants. These funds have provided additional support for staff, including 40 new volunteers trained in Psychological First Aid.
Sue Musson, Chair of Liverpool University Hospitals, said:
“The generous donations from members of the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have made such a difference in helping to support the wellbeing of our staff here at Liverpool University Hospitals.
“I am incredibly proud of every colleague at the Trust. Despite the profound challenges presented by COVID-19, our staff have worked and continue to work tirelessly to treat and care for our patients safely. We will continue to provide investment in staff wellbeing, and recognise the importance of supporting staff into the future, beyond the pandemic.”
Ellie Orton OBE, CEO of NHS Charities Together, said:
“The staff at Liverpool University Hospitals have delivered incredible care under the most impossible circumstances over the last 18 months, and we continue to be in awe of their dedication. It’s fantastic that money from our COVID-19 Urgent Appeal has been able to provide staff with the support they so richly deserve – and we’re delighted Jordan has been able to see for himself the difference his support has made.
“Thanks to Britain getting behind the Appeal, there are projects like these in Liverpool happening in every corner of the UK. But sadly the pandemic is not over yet, and staff are still very much in need of our help. Together, we can support the long-term recovery of the NHS, help it to go further, and achieve better health and care for us all.”