Most of the country’s football clubs have shut up shop but Watford FC has opened its doors to its next-door neighbour – Watford General Hospital and will be available for at least a month.
All staff: including nurses, doctors, managers, cleaners, porters – anyone who needs a change of scene – can swap busy wards and offices for spacious conference facilities and the serenity of an empty terrace overlooking the pitch at ‘TeamWestHerts Sanctuary’.
West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust also manages hospitals in St Albans and Hemel Hempstead and a free shuttle bus is now running between the three sites, meaning that they can also make use of ‘TeamWestHerts Sanctuary’.
Breakfast and lunch are provided and there is overnight accommodation, seating areas where staff can chat together after a tough shift and spaces to reflect and be alone.
There are also counselling rooms for staff who want help with the emotional trauma that comes from working during such a difficult time.
Chief executive Christine Allen said: “Watford General is only a few yards away, but the environment is miles apart and really seems to lift the mood. Of course, football fans want to see the pitch full of players, but for us, the empty green space has a very calming effect. And whilst our sole focus is our patients, the ability to get away makes all the difference.”
She added: “The demands on staff, especially those caring for our sickest patients, have been huge. Having a space to talk about the day or just sit and reflect after work and before going home can really help staff manage their stress. This in turn helps them provide the best care for our patients.”