7 May 2020

The Trust that runs Shropshire’s two acute hospitals is helping to protect frontline staff at other healthcare organisations across the region by providing training on how to correctly fit single-use respiratory protective equipment.

Mask Fit test training at SaTH

Five people from private sector healthcare operators attended a training session at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford last week to learn how to correctly fit a mask to a person’s face to ensure it is adequately sealed to give protection from viruses such as COVID-19.

The training took place at PRH so that healthcare workers external to The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), such as those working in people’s own homes, could receive the training at the earliest opportunity at a time when external training is harder to source.

The partnership working has been praised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England

Karen Carter, Adult Social Care Inspector at the CQC, said: “We are very grateful to all the agencies involved and particularly the staff at Princess Royal Hospital for offering this training; it is a shining example of people coming together during difficult times.”

A face fit test is carried out to ensure a mask protects the wearer. SaTH, which runs PRH and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, has over 70 fully-trained mask fit testers.

Kath Titley, Health and Safety Team Manager at SaTH, said: “Under normal circumstances the people we trained yesterday would have gone through an external training provider that specialises in this sort of training. These however are not normal circumstances and we all need to work together to ensure everyone is kept safe in a timely manner.

“The session we ran has been formed as part of our COVID-19 response and includes a hands-on approach, whereby people are taught how to do a fit test before undergoing supervised practical sessions. The session focused on using FFP3s to protect healthcare workers against coronavirus.

“I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to help others. We are after all, one health and care team and we are all in this together.”

Nigel Lee, Chief Operating Officer at SaTH, said: “Our Health and Safety team have played a vital role in ensuring the safety of our staff during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite being a small team they have pulled together during this difficult to operate 12-hour shifts, seven-days-a-week, and this is another example of the team going the extra mile.”

SaTH was alerted to the possibility of training external healthcare professionals following a conversation with Karen Carter, Adult social care inspector at the CQC.

Karen said: “In such highly pressured times, I was determined to help the adult social care sector as much as I could. We have regular contact with our services to offer support during the pandemic and when I heard the registered manager was having trouble accessing external training, I wanted to assist.

“It was great to be able to get involved in cross-sector and cross organisational working to enable these staff to access the necessary training needed to keep people safe. We escalated the issue to Shropshire Council who kindly told us to contact the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group who put us in touch with the trust.”