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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

Roles 

Who can express an interest to support the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub?

The Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub has opportunities available for:

  • Existing NIHR funded research staff to support COVID-19 vaccine trials as part of their usual role.
  • Staff who are unable to undertake their usual clinical role, but their risk assessment will allow them to work safely at the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub.
  • Anyone with experience of working in a clinical environment, within the NHS, primary care or other health and social care settings, as flexible bank shifts.

Are secondment opportunities available? 

All members of staff expressing an interest will be asked to gain agreement from their line manager prior to submitting the expression of interest form. This is to ensure there is no impact on usual clinical services. Line managers will be contacted and asked to confirm this prior to staff being rostered to vaccine hub shifts.

Full time secondment opportunities are not available, it is expected that existing Research & Development staff will be released on a flexible basis depending on the varying numbers of study participants for each trial. Flexible bank shifts are also available via NHS Professionals or the Portsmouth Hospitals University (PHU) staff bank (for existing PHU staff), where you will be able to choose when and where you can work. 

Can you provide more information about the roles available? 

Yes, please visit our website for more information on the roles available. If you have further questions, please email the team on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk. They will be happy to help. 

Do you have full time positions available? 

We will be advertising any full time positions available via NHS.Jobs. If you are interested in a full time position, please get in touch with the team on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk.

Registering an interest

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 (if applicable) 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.

Is there a deadline to register? 

No, our trials are expected to last for at least 12-18 months. We welcome ongoing expressions of interests, which can be submitted using our online form

I'm not available until later in the year, will you still need people then? 

Yes, our trials are expected to last for at least 12-18 months. We welcome ongoing expressions of interests, which can be submitted using our online form

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 throughout 2021. These trials will last for the next 12-18 months. Exact start dates will be discussed following receipt of your expression of interest.

Is there a minimum commitment for shifts?

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

There is no minimum commitment, however due to training and induction requirements, it is likely that those able to work a greater number of shifts will be prioritised in the first instance for on-boarding and rostering.

What shifts are available? 

The vaccine hubs will be open from 08:00-18:00, six days a week. Weekend shifts will depend on the availability of staff and research participants and may not be offered every week.

We have a mixture of shifts available, most shifts cover the entire day (08:00-18:00) however on some occasions shorter early and late shifts may be available. 

We appreciate that you may be travelling to work in the hub, and so may be able to flex start and finish times depending on your circumstances. Please note, this may not be possible in all cases so will need to be agreed with the hub management team. 

Once we have received your expression of interest form, the hub management team will be in touch to discuss your availability.

How will shifts be rostered?

All shifts will be rostered in agreement with yourself, your employing organisation (if applicable) and the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub Team.

There will be individual rosters for the Bournemouth, Southampton and Portsmouth sites, with oversight for those staff rostered to work between sites.

The Hub Teams will be using the HealthRoster application, and you will be able to login and access the rosters from your own PC, smartphone or tablet. Available shifts will also be published by NHS Professionals and the Portsmouth University Hospitals (PHU) NHS Trust staff bank (for PHU staff only).

Where will I be based?

Our Bournemouth site is located at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in Bournemouth. Our Southampton site is located at the Royal South Hants Hospital. Our Portsmouth site is located at the John Pounds Centre. 

In addition to on site roles in Bournemouth, Southampton and Portsmouth, some of our admin roles can be carried out remotely from a home base (see below). 

What roles can be carried out remotely? 

Some of our admin roles can be carried out remotely. Activities include booking appointments, pre-screening calls with those interested in taking part in the trials and answering queries. Full training can be given virtually for such roles. 

Unfortunately, we cannot offer any hardware so staff undertaking remote roles will need access to a computer, a phone and Wi-Fi.

Is parking available on-site? 

On-site parking will be available to staff and participants in Bournemouth and Southampton. There is on-road and multi-storey parking available near to the Portsmouth site. Car parking costs will be covered. 

Is the site accessible by public transport?

Yes, all sites are accessible by public transport. 

Contractual arrangements and pay

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

Staff working on the trials during their existing contracted hours will be paid by their usual employer. If you are working additional bank shifts outside of your normal working hours, this will be undertaken through NHS Professionals or the Portsmouth Hospitals University (PHU) staff bank for PHU employees. 

If you are an existing NHS employee within Wessex, you will need to register to join either NHS Professionals or the PHU staff bank (for existing PHU employees). This will be a quick and easy process. 

Once the hub managers have contacted you in response to you submitting your expression of interest, they will guide you through the process of joining either bank.

Will my employer stay the same?

Existing NHS employees

Yes, if you are an NHS employee and have been released by your employer to work during your contracted hours.

If you are working additional bank shifts outside of your normal NHS working hours, and are not currently employed by Portsmouth Hospitals University (PHU) and you are not a doctor, this will be via NHS Professionals, who you will need to register with to work on the trials.

If you are a current PHU employee working additional bank shifts outside of your normal NHS working hours, and are not a doctor, you will need to apply to the PHU staff bank. 

Doctors

Doctors will be engaged for locum shifts either through the Dorset Hub for GP Locums if you are already registered with them, or through the University Hospital Southampton Medical Locum bank. We will provide further details to you upon receipt of your expression of interest form.

Doctors currently employed by PHU and looking to undertake additional shifts outside of their normal NHS working hours will need to register with the PHU medical locum bank. 

Not currently employed in the NHS

If you are not currently employed in the NHS, and have appropriate qualifications and experience, you can still apply to join the bank with NHS Professionals and work flexible shifts in the hubs to suit you.

How much will I get paid?

The non-medical roles that we have available range from NHS Agenda for Change band 2 to band 6, and you will be appointed depending on your qualifications, skills and experience. Pay rates commensurate with these bandings will be paid via NHS Professionals or the PHU staff bank (for existing PHU staff).  

Doctors will be appointed and a rate agreed depending on their qualifications, skills and experience.

Is the pay different for weekend shifts? 

Yes, the pay will be enhanced for weekend shifts. 

How often will I be paid?

NHS staff working within their contracted hours will be paid by their employer in line with their employer’s usual payroll schedule.

Work via NHS Professionals or the PHU staff bank (for existing PHU staff) is paid a week in arrears. The University Hospital Southampton Medical Locum Bank pays a month in arrears.

Will I be paid travelling time/mileage?

Existing NHS staff working at one of the hubs within their contracted hours, will be reimbursed for excess travel time and mileage, which can be claimed through their employer’s usual expenses process.

If you are working bank or locum shifts, then unfortunately this does not include additional travel time or mileage. 

How do I register to join the bank?

Existing Portsmouth Hospitals University (PHU) employees 

Employees of PHU seeking additional shifts at the research hub will be required to set up a bank contract with the PHU staff bank. Further details to be confirmed. 

Doctors currently employed by PHU seeking additional shifts at the research hub will need to join the PHU medical locum bank. Further details to be confirmed. 

For all others

You will be provided with contact details for NHS Professionals or the University Hospital Southampton Medical Locum Bank when you are contacted following receipt of your expression of interest form.

If you are currently substantively employed by another NHS Trust or primary care provider in Wessex, then you will only need to provide proof of employment and eligibility to work in the UK and you can join the bank very quickly.

In other cases, depending on your circumstances, you will need to provide evidence of statutory and mandatory training, and you may be asked to undertake some additional modules. You may also need to provide references and your vaccination records for occupational health clearance.

How will NHS employers be reimbursed for staff diverted to work in the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub?

If a member of staff currently employed within the NHS is released to work on a vaccine trial during their contracted hours, there will be a mechanism in place using Healthroster for recording and reimbursing their employer for the hours worked.

If you are not employed by Portsmouth Hospitals University (PHU) and you are a member of staff working additional shifts over and above your normal contracted hours, you will do this via NHS Professionals or the Medical Locum Bank and existing department budgets will not be affected.

For PHU employees working additional shifts over and above their normal contracted hours, you will do this via the PHU staff bank or the medical locum bank and existing department budgets will not be affected. 

Is pension payable?

For existing NHS staff working during their contracted hours, pension contributions will work as normal. Staff cannot pay into the NHS Pension Scheme for hours worked with NHS Professionals, but NHS Professional does offer its own pension scheme.

For medical bank staff, pension contributions will depend on the individual's circumstances. For medical staff with a full time contract in the NHS, pension is not payable. For those without a full time contract in the NHS, pay is pensionable. 

Training and professional registration

What training or experience do I need?

For most roles, 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. Our senior roles require NHS research experience. 

A member of the Wessex COVID-19 Vaccine Hub will be in touch to discuss your training needs after receiving your expression of interest.

Are you providing clinical training for nurses, as well as online? Or do most people have the required experience?

Apart from vaccination and venesection competencies, there is no additional clinical skills training required. Good Clinical Practice (GCP) for research training is available online as is protocol and database training. There is always senior and experienced nursing staff available to support the team.

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. 

How can I access the NIHR's National vaccine training package?

The NIHR's National Vaccine Training Package is now live on NIHR Learn. The training can be accessed by visiting NIHR Learn and clicking on the title that says 'Vaccine trials training' on the homepage. If your account is registered using a non-NHS or non-academic email address, please get in touch with the hub team on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk and we will be able to arrange access for you. 

When first accessing the training, users are required to select a job role before navigating through the curated series of recommended, desirable and optional training.

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.

Who will be responsible for my line management? 

All staff working at the Wessex Covid-19 Vaccine Hub will have direct line management by hub staff and clinical/medical supervision where required. This will be discussed as part of the training and induction process.

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 NHS appearance policies. Please get in touch on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk for more information regarding these policies. 

Portsmouth University Hospitals (PHU) bank staff are required to wear the PHU bank uniform. 

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. For certain members of the team, there may be a requirement to support with symptomatic visits should a participant on one of the trials show symptoms of COVID-19. 

Am I more at risk of contracting Covid-19 if I work at the vaccine research 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.

Similar assessments are currently being conducted for the Dorset and Portsmouth sites. 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?

Admin roles that can be undertaken remotely from a home base including pre-screening calls with potential research participants and booking appointments. Remote roles 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

Will more trials be needed now that we have approved vaccines for use in the UK? 

It is important that clinical trials into a number of other COVID-19 vaccines continue. Different vaccines work in different ways and we still need to collect important information such as:

  • Which vaccines work best for different groups of people
  • How effective the vaccines are at preventing severe infection, infection as a whole and transmission
  • The best way to use vaccines
  • The number of doses required

How many Covid-19 vaccines are being researched in Wessex?

In Wessex, we have a growing pipeline of COVID-19 vaccine trials. We are currently delivering seven vaccine trials (University of Oxford/Astrazeneca, Imperial, Novavax, Janssen, Valneva and COMCOV) with more trials planned for the coming months. Upcoming trials include paediatric, adolescent and maternity studies. Globally, there are dozens of candidate vaccines in trials.

We are also delivering two AstraZeneca trials, known as STORM CHASER and PROVENT, which are exploring the effectiveness of antibody treatments in preventing and protecting against Covid-19.

How many participants have you recruited to COVID-19 vaccine trials so far in Wessex? 

By the end of 2020, we had recruited almost 1,600 participants to COVID-19 vaccine trials in Wessex. 

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

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

Can I be a participant on a COVID-19 vaccine trial and also work in the Hub? 

You cannot work on the same trial that you are a participant on, but you can work on another trial. 

Do I need NHS experience?

NHS experience is essential for all clinical and medical roles. For our admin roles, NHS experience is desirable. 

I haven't heard from the team yet and would like an update on my expression of interest, who can I contact? 

If you would like more information about your expression of interest (EOI), please get in touch with the team on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk who will be happy to help.

We have been overwhelmed with the fantastic amount of EOIs received, with over 500 to date. Thank you to everyone who has come forward to support this important research. 

We will continue to welcome and onboard staff to our Hubs in Dorset and Hampshire throughout 2021. 

I have additional information to add to my expression of interest form. What should I do? 

Please get in touch with the team on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk, who will be able to update your information. 

I would like to change some of the information provided on my expression of interest form. Do I need to submit another? 

Unless the changes are substantial, there is no need to submit another form. Please get in touch with the team on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk, who will be able to advise or update your record on your behalf. 

I now have my risk assessment score, or the risk assessment score that I provided has changed. What should I do? 

Please get in touch with the team on comms.crnwessex@nihr.ac.uk, who will be able to update your information. 

 

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