Frontline NHS workers have thanked more than a dozen businesses and organisations signed up to the Pick Me Up Project, which aims to help free up hospital beds.
As part of the campaign, businesses are being asked to give their employees flexibility, where possible, to collect their loved ones and friends from hospitals when they are ready to go home.
The project will see them offer staff as much flexibility as possible to collect their loved-ones from the hospital, when they are ready for discharge, rather than waiting until after they have finished their shift.
It is hoped this will free up beds and allow medics to treat more acutely ill patients.
Orthopaedic surgeon, David Lawrie, said: “Getting people who are ready for discharge home and out of hospital would provide us with more bed space in the hospital, which in turn lifts pressure from the wards, the emergency department and the ambulances at the front door.
“It would mean we’d be able to get people into the beds and wards they need to be in, to get the specialist care they need.
“In turn, that allows us to treat others more quickly in the emergency department.
“It goes beyond the front door, however, it would let us treat inpatients in every area – be they cancer patients, neurology patients, urology patients, orthopaedic patients – by freeing up staff and beds.
“Ultimately getting people, who are well enough to be discharged, home more quickly can aid their recovery. It’s been shown that people recuperate better at home, once they are well enough to be there.”
Lee Allen, consultant in critical care, added: “This isn’t something we need due to Covid-19, going forward we need this to be how we operate, even once we are beyond the pandemic.
“If enough businesses and people support this project it allows us to be as efficient as possible as a health service, and for that to work we need local businesses and the public to help.
“We are absolutely delighted by the response to the project since its launch.
“It’s excellent to see the support from companies that have come forward and pledged support not just to NHS workers, but our patients, the people of the north-east and, ultimately, their own staff.
“So we want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone that has signed up. It really is heart-warming to know that level of support is there from local employers.”
Aberdeen International Airport, Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdein Considine and Hampton said they had been inspired to support the project based on the clear positive impact it can have if enough businesses join forces to support it.
A spokesman for Aberdeen International Airport said: “When we heard about the Pick Me Up Project it seemed like an excellent opportunity to support the region’s health care workers and, at the same time, support our staff to be there for their loved ones, at what can be a stressful time for them.”
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Ultimately this comes down to supporting a public service that has been there for all of us, and our families, saving lives, for decades.
“We’re glad to be able to help in a way that will have minimal impact for businesses but the cumulative effect for NHS Grampian, its employees, and its patients could be huge if enough organisations make a combined effort.”
Jacqueline Law, managing partner at Aberdein Considine, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for us to support NHS Grampian, as well as the welfare of our own staff.
“We hope by taking part, along with other companies, we can make a real impact to help frontline staff treat more patients and help get those who are well home more quickly, to help aid their recovery.
“Much of what the NHS and its staff do goes unseen and we can’t forget that, if ever there was something worthy of all our support it is our National Health Service.”
And a Hampton spokeswoman said: “Taking part for us is a way to say ‘thank ‘you’ to all the NHS workers during the pandemic and beyond.
“We’ll also be promoting the project to our clients and encouraging them to sign-up, where it is appropriate to their businesses. The more of us that take part the bigger the difference we can make.
“We’d encourage any business or organisation, big or small, to seriously think about taking part – together we can all make a massive difference.”
For more information or to sign up, get in touch with email@example.com using the subject line ‘Pick Me Up Project’.