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CRN Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub- FAQs for Staff

 

Contents

These FAQs are for NHS Trust staff, primary care staff and those not currently employed by the NHS. FAQs are updated regularly. If your question is not answered below, please contact comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk

Registration

How do I help/register my interest?

If you’d like to get involved and support our efforts to find a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, please speak to your line manager about your plans before completing our expression of interest form. After submitting the form, you’ll hear from a member of the team who will talk you through the next steps. 

How do I ask a question about the expression of interest form?

Please get in touch with a member of the team on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk who will be happy to help.

Logistics

What area does Wessex cover? 

Wessex covers Dorset, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and south Wiltshire. 

When will the trials start?

COVID-19 vaccine trials are already being delivered in Wessex, with more studies planned for autumn and winter 2020. These trials will last for the next 12-18 months. Exact start dates will be discussed following receipt of your expression of interest.

How much time commitment is expected of me?

We can provide flexible shift and working patterns in discussion with your line manager and the hub management team.

How will shifts be rostered?

All shifts will be rostered in agreement with yourself, your employing organisation and the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub Team. There will be individual rosters for the Hampshire and Dorset sites, with oversight for those staff rostered to work between sites. 

Where will I be based?

Sites are planned for Hampshire and Dorset. Exact locations will be confirmed shortly, but the sites are likely to be located in Southampton and Bournemouth. 

Is parking available on-site? 

On-site parking will be available to staff and participants. 

Is the site accessible by public transport?

Yes, both sites will be accessible by public transport. More information will be shared in due course.

What will happen in the event of winter pressures and another wave of COVID-19 infections?

There will be an agreed exit strategy to ensure frontline services are prioritised in the event of winter pressures and another wave of COVID-19 infections. This will be agreed with primary care and chief execs and senior leadership teams within NHS trusts. This applies to those currently employed within the NHS and primary care. 

Contractual arrangements and pay

Will I be paid for my time and if so who by? 

Arrangements will be in place for existing NHS staff to be paid by their usual employer. Contractual and payroll arrangements will be put in place for those not currently employed by an NHS organisation.

Contracts will also be put in place with independent contractors and those currently working within a primary care setting to ensure appropriate funding flow.

Will my employer stay the same?

Yes, for those already employed by NHS organisations or within primary care, your employer will remain the same. For most staff, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will enable you to work across NHS organisations. Contractual arrangements for retirees and returners will be discussed upon receipt of your expression of interest form. 

How much will I get paid?

For those currently employed by an NHS organisation, banding and pay scales will depend upon role and experience. Payment for those currently working within primary care and retirees and returners can be discussed with a member of the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub team.

How often will I be paid?

You will be paid on a monthly basis for the shifts you have undertaken in line with your employer’s usual payroll schedule. Independent contractors, primary care providers, retirees and returners should discuss payment arrangements with a member of the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub.

Will I be paid travelling time/mileage?

Staff will be paid for any additional travel time and mileage that they incur above and beyond their usual commute to their place of work. 

Training and professional registration

What training or experience do I need?

You do not have to be experienced in research to get involved, full training (mostly online) and support will be given to enable the safe and effective delivery of the trials. A member of the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub will be in touch to discuss your training needs after receiving your expression of interest.

Who will provide the training?

A national vaccine trials training package has been developed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN), with bespoke training pathways for each group of staff. All staff will also receive an on-site induction by a member of the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub before joining the team.

Will the training be face to face or online?

Depending on your role and previous experience, training may be online and/or face to face. A member of the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub will be in touch to discuss your training needs after receiving your expression of interest.

How long will the training take?

The length of training required will depend upon your role, previous experience and responsibilities working at the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub.

When will the training start?

Online training can be undertaken at any time upon registering your interest. You will be contacted by a member of the team who will show you how to access the online training. Any face to face training dates can be discussed with a member of the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub. 

Is the training CPD accredited?

Yes, some of the training courses are CPD accredited. Please speak to a member of the COVID-19 Vaccine Hub team for more information about this.

I’m retired or am looking to return to the NHS following a career break. Do I need to re-register with the GMC/NMC?

You may have already undertaken the necessary steps to join the COVID-19 temporary register for your relevant professional body. If not, further details and guidance can be found on the website of your professional body under the temporary register section. A member of the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub will contact you to discuss your registration status following receipt of your expression of interest. 

 

Ensuring the safety of staff and research participants

Will PPE be provided?

Yes, appropriate PPE will be provided to all members of staff. All research participants will be required to have a temperature and COVID-19 symptom check upon arrival. Symptomatic patients and staff will not be permitted entry to the site and will be provided with advice in line with current government guidance. All research participants will be required to use alcohol hand gel, wear a face covering and follow social distancing guidelines where appropriate.

Will uniform be provided?

Clinical staff are required to wear their usual clinical uniforms, medical staff should wear scrubs and non-clinical staff should wear smart clothing in accordance with the University Hospital Southampton appearance policy. Please get in touch on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk for more information regarding this policy.

Medical and clinical staff not currently in employment with an NHS organisation can discuss uniform requirements with a member of the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub.

Will I be dealing with volunteers who have COVID-19?

Vaccine studies recruit healthy volunteers. All research participants will be required to have a temperature and COVID-19 symptom check upon arrival. Symptomatic patients and staff will not be permitted entry to the site.

Am I more at risk of contracting Covid-19 if I work at the vaccine hub?

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust occupational health and infection prevention and control departments have assessed that the activity undertaken by staff at the Hampshire site is suitable for level two risk assessed staff.

A similar assessment is currently being conducted for the Dorset site. Details will be provided in due course. Please keep checking back for further information.

I am an existing NHS employee. How will you ensure that my role within the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub is compliant with my occupational health Covid-19 risk assessment?

To ensure we are aware of and can fully support staff working on these studies, we will require you to provide information on your COVID-19 Occupational Health Risk Assessment. These will be confidentially reviewed by senior nursing staff for the study who will discuss with you any occupational health recommendations and supportive actions that may be required to facilitate you joining the team. Please be assured that this information will be dealt with sensitively and confidentially.

Will I have to participate in a weekly COVID-19 asymptomatic swab testing programme?

All staff working on these important COVID-19 vaccine studies are required to participate in weekly asymptomatic staff testing programmes. If your employing organisation does not have a staff testing programme in place, we can arrange this. If required, we will provide you with the swabs and laboratory forms, you will need to self-swab on a weekly basis – more information on this will be provided.

I am currently shielding; can I still help out?

There are a range of roles that can be undertaken remotely from a home base. This can be discussed with a member of the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub. Please get in touch on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk.

Do I need to have a flu vaccination?

Yes if this is recommended for you, you should follow the advice of your employer’s occupational health service and/or GP regarding seasonal flu vaccination. Do not put off flu vaccination, as it will give you important protection.  

 

Other

Am I able to see people I know on the trial?

Potentially yes, although normal data protection and NHS confidentiality applies.

 

To join the Wessex Covid-19 Vaccine Hub team, please express an interest using our online form