Published 26 January 2024

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A cross-Government mentoring programme between DE&S and the NHS born out of the Covid pandemic has continued to flourish and benefit both organisations.

Members of DE&S project management, human resources, equipment procurement, clinical management support and administration first started working with North Bristol NHS Trust to build the NHS Nightingale hospital in Bristol in early 2020.

Working with NHS colleagues and a range of other key stakeholders, DE&S helped get the new hospital inside the University of the West of England’s (UWE) exhibition and conference centre up and running in less than four weeks. If it had been required, the hospital could have provided up to 300 intensive care beds for coronavirus patients across the region.

Working together demonstrated the synergies across both organisations and recognised that both had unique skills and experience that could be shared with one another.

As a result, a mentoring programme was set up to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge could be shared between the multi-disciplinary organisations, both to support personal development and learning, but also to aid organisation capability and performance.

Earlier this month, the third successful mentoring programme between the organisations, which saw 20 DE&S Project Delivery colleagues matched for six months with an NHS counterpart in a mentee or mentor capacity, was celebrated at BAWA.

Both Tim Whittlestone, Chief Medical Officer for NBT NHS and Rob Wixey, DE&S Head of Function for Project Delivery attended the final celebration event to thank those involved and to share their thoughts on our collaboration.

Rob said: “In the past three cohorts we have had 112 professionals come together to share experiences and learn from one another. We’ve built relationships and it’s great to see friends and colleagues from both departments working together to solve common issues and improve services to our clients.”

Tim added: “Unfortunately there are few meaningful legacies of the Covid pandemic but the mentoring programme between DE&S and the NHS NBT is one them. It is fabulous to hear the support that colleagues have found from linking with staff in another sector. I truly hope that this programme gets the recognition it deserves and goes from strength to strength.”

Work is now underway to determine the plan for 2024 and beyond. Both sides are eager to continue this fantastic partnership and based on the feedback, it is something that we actively want to nurture and develop even further.