Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust case study


Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust operates over two main hospital sites, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital, both of which have major A&E departments, and across 12 community-based clinics in North West London. The trust provides services to a community of over 1.5 million people.

What was the aim/problem?

In common with other NHS providers, the trust employs portering and cleaning staff through third party facility service providers (primarily ISS). These staff make up approximately 10% of the trust’s workforce (around 600 staff from a substantive workforce of 6,000).

In response to the need to risk assess its staff, and emerging evidence that COVID-19 was having a disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) communities, trust leaders recognised there was a need to fully include all staff in its education programmes.

Leaders aimed to ensure all staff employed through an outsourced provider were given the same level of protection, training and care as those directly employed by the NHS.

What was the solution?

The trust’s visible leadership model meant every single senior executive spent time on intensive therapy units (ITU) during Covid-19 response allowing leadership to see issues, engage staff and respond to concerns in a timely way. They worked alongside ISS to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) training for all portering and cleaning staff provided to the trust.

This included chief nurse, Pippa Nightingale, working hands on to directly participate in infection prevention and control training sessions on supporting the use of PPE, handwashing and the risk from the environment with an opportunity to ask questions.

What were the results?

Every member of staff who enters Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust’s ITU has undergone a risk assessment, and has the right level of training on PPE, formally signed off by ISS.

Although it is too early to report on health impacts, trust leaders are assured that the trust has a programme to educate and support porters and cleaners to minimise risk to themselves, other staff and patients, and is well placed for next phase of response to COVID-19.

The trust is committed to further improvement in its education programme for staff, driven by close engagement and consultation with staff groups, including its BME staff network.

Thomas Simons, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at the trust, said: “Porters and cleaners are critical members of our team, working alongside our clinicians and other trust staff every single day. When COVID-19 hit, we quickly recognised these staff would be entering the trust’s ITUs multiple times each day.  Taking an inclusive approach in partnership with our staff supplier means these colleagues know what they need to do to manage risks of transmission, and keep themselves, their colleagues and our patients safe from harm.

Want to know more?

Please contact: Thomas Simons, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development,; Charlotte Bailey, Executive Director of People and OD,