Menu

More from news and media

Win-win for club and NHS as Watford FC pitches in to support hospital staff

Posted: 27 April 2020

Picture of the logos of Watford Footbal Club and West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Most of the country's football clubs have shut up shop but Watford FC has opened its doors to its next door neighbour – Watford General Hospital.

All staff; including nurses, doctors, managers, cleaners, porters – anyone who needs a change of scene – can swap busy wards and offices for spacious conference facilities and the serenity of an empty terrace overlooking the pitch at ‘TeamWestHerts Sanctuary’.

What began as a request for meeting rooms so the hospital could plan its COVID-19 response (in a room big enough to enable social distancing) has become a full-blown wellbeing facility, and all for free.

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust also manages hospitals in St Albans and Hemel Hempstead and the free shuttle bus (sponsored by Warner Bros Studios and Golden Tours) running between the three sites, means that all staff can also make use of ‘TeamWestHerts Sanctuary’.

Breakfast and lunch is provided and there is overnight accommodation, seating areas where staff can chat together after a tough shift and spaces to reflect and be alone. There are also counselling rooms for staff who want help with the emotional trauma that comes from working during such a difficult time. For anyone who wishes to remember loved ones who have died during the outbreak, the chaplaincy team from West Herts Hospital NHS Trust has created a memorial room at the club.

The change of scene has had an amazing impact on staff. Chief executive Christine Allen said: "Watford General is only a few yards away, but the environment is so different and really seems to lift the mood. Of course, football fans want to see the pitch full of players, but for us, the empty green space has a very calming effect. And whilst our sole focus is our patients, the ability to get away makes all the difference."

She added: "The demands on staff, especially those caring for our sickest patients, have been huge. Having a space to talk about the day or just sit and reflect after work and before going home can really help staff manage their stress. This in turn helps them provide the best care for our patients."

Over 1,000 staff are fed by WFC each day, more than 200 hours’ worth of meetings have taken place and there have been 10 overnight stays. The club has also laundered more than 10,000 pairs of scrubs.

The facilities are on offer for at least the next month.

Ends

Notes

  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: email: westherts.communications@nhs.net, Out of hours, please call 07900 228031.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust sees around 600,000 patients a year and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. You can also join our followers on Twitter (twitter.com/westhertsNHS) and find us on Facebook (facebook.com/westhertsNHS).