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Reflections on the Commonwealth Video games: Public Well being Specialty Registrars

The Commonwealth Video games passed off in Birmingham 28th July to eightth August in (for as soon as) balmy, sunny climate reminiscent of the times of the 2012 London Olympics. Right here is an account of the ultimate months of a five-year journey that UKHSA was a key a part of, via three registrars who labored on the undertaking:

Steve Barlow, ST3

Reflections on the Commonwealth Video games: Public Well being Specialty Registrars

Steve Barlow – Pictured on ‘Black Sabbath Bridge’ in Birmingham, together with Video games mascot Perry, and Cassie Gregory, Principal Well being Safety Nurse from the West Midlands Well being Safety workforce

Once I joined the Registrar coaching scheme in 2019, I by no means imagined that there could be a worldwide pandemic. Nevertheless, this supplied me with a singular alternative to look at mobilisation of a mixed native authority (LA), UKHSA (then PHE) and wider healthcare response to an unprecedented public well being kind incident. Apparently, this additionally helped in constructing relationships which then performed out on one other world platform: the Commonwealth Video games (CWG).

As a part of the CWG workforce, given my earlier information and expertise, my important workstream was liaising with LAs and Built-in Care Boards (ICBs). As with all CWG work, it required levels of overlap to make sure that the well being safety response was as cohesive and complete as attainable. This concerned a collection of conferences to outline and doc the entire system preparedness ought to any well being safety problem come up from CWG. While some might think about this enterprise as ordinary, we would have liked to streamline the system, to make the response extra well timed by calling on native relationships constructed throughout the pandemic.

By way of management, recommendation and influencing, I labored on assessing any alternatives, good practices, and gaps in every space’s well being safety response, function and obligations, attempting to make clear and agree these, after which share this data wider to develop extra strong techniques. I documented the present state of affairs with a baseline survey and thru our discussions, helped to provide formal plans for every native authority space. With assist from the workforce, I then held a workshop for all of the LAs through which over 80 people attended, to place plans into practise via a collection of situations.

Throughout Video games time we have been co-located within the Video games Operational Centre (GOC) which was fascinating. Right here we labored with quite a few business companions in addition to a couple of acquainted faces. From the start, we grew to become established (with our branded UKHSA branded, teal-coloured tops!) and, I imagine, added worth as we have been in a position to assess and management conditions in real-time. As a part of the legacy work, I’m evaluating the native partnerships workstream and looking out long run to make the well being safety planning, commissioning, and response extra cohesive within the wider well being and social care system.

Clare Brehmer, ST4

Reflections on the Commonwealth Video games: Public Well being Specialty Registrars

Clare Brehmer – Wishing her kids goodnight on the cellphone, with Video games mascot Perry within the background, while working a night shift within the Video games Operations Centre

Because the final member to affix the core CWG workforce (recent from maternity go away!) I used to be eager to “hit the bottom working”. From the beginning the workforce have been unimaginable to work with as there was nothing however optimistic vibes – all of us had chosen to work on the Video games and have been excited to showcase our work within the West Midlands.

My important workstream was to assist develop operational plans for the laboratory testing throughout the Video games interval. One quirk of the Video games was that there have been pop-up polyclinics at 5 lodging websites throughout the area, with a 24/7 bike service to courier samples to our UKHSA public well being lab at Heartlands web site. These providers have been set-up by the medical arm of the Organising Committee for the Video games and supplied routine medical providers for all athletes and officers residing at these places.

At UKHSA, we supplied bespoke packs of consumables to every web site, for use within the occasion of an outbreak. We additionally developed a pathway for surveillance and reporting of any outcomes associated to the Video games, and a round the clock rota for specialist laboratory technical and microbiological recommendation. This introduced collectively employees from the general public well being lab, the native hospital lab, the CPHIs (Consultants in Public Well being An infection) and well being safety workforce, in a collaborative effort to streamline the testing and reporting processes for the Video games interval.

Our UKHSA public well being lab additionally began offering Monkeypox testing for all Midlands samples a couple of weeks earlier than the beginning of the Video games; a helpful addition to chop turnaround occasions ought to any potential circumstances come up.

The workload ramped up rapidly, with prolonged hours beginning per week earlier than the precise begin date of the Video games, to permit for an enhanced public well being response as athletes and officers entered the nation. This meant we have been all well-versed within the “Battle Rhythm” by the beginning of the Video games. I used to be concerned within the early preparations within the Video games Operations Centre (GOC), assembly companions and introducing UKHSA to many individuals for the primary time. Occasion planning shouldn’t be one thing we frequently get entangled in as registrars, and it was thrilling to collaborate with others in well being and security, venues administration and safety to make sure all plans have been in place. A number of folks even approached us to ask about careers in public well being. In the course of the Video games I’ve to say, it was very quiet! We had heard comparable experiences from colleagues concerned in London 2012 Olympics, however I didn’t need to jinx it. In actuality, we had a gradual workload of low-risk incidents and circumstances which rumbled alongside in the course of the Video games. This meant there was loads of time for studying as a registrar and even acting-up as the general public well being adviser to the Video games. As anticipated, there was a certain quantity of politics concerned and other people administration, at occasions with conflicting views. Nevertheless, we continued to work successfully with our companions whereas offering sound public well being recommendation and this undoubtedly contributed to making sure a secure and profitable Video games.

David Collyer, ST3

Reflections on the Commonwealth Video games: Public Well being Specialty Registrars

David Collyer – With household having fun with the athletics competitors on the Alexander Stadium pictured with England 100m sprinter, Imani-Lara Lansiquot

I joined the Commonwealth Video games undertaking workforce in February of this 12 months, and early highlights (and alternatives to fulfill different workforce members in individual fairly than simply on Groups!) have been visits to the Lee Valley velodrome, and to the potential athlete villages. Common conferences of our core undertaking workforce meant that all of us had an opportunity to debate our particular person workstreams, get assist and assist, and preserve a great overview of all of the work that was happening.

Certainly one of my areas of labor was taking part in a planning group for ‘Well being Safety Operations’ throughout the Video games, which included main workgroups for two areas particularly – plans for a way we’d work with the ‘polyclinics’ within the athlete villages and plans for a way we’d make use of the Medical Encounter System (a bespoke laptop system being developed for the Video games to seize medical information).

My prior expertise of well being safety work was restricted, so this was a really steep studying curve, however planning a well being safety response ‘from the bottom up’ was an attention-grabbing strategy to familiarize yourself with how the totally different parts all match collectively. I additionally up to date the Birmingham Airport Well being Safety Plan (one of many important ports of entry for the Video games) which included an appendix to cowl the Commonwealth Video games, notably the COVID testing necessities for arrivals/departures.  This required working with quite a few stakeholders together with the Organising Committee (OC) for the Video games, the airport, the native authority, and different UKHSA groups together with the Port Well being lead, and the Worldwide Journey Contact Tracing workforce. 

Nevertheless, essentially the most difficult and time-consuming space of labor for me was round COVID and our suggestions for testing throughout the Video games. The plans developed significantly because the Video games approached, and it was fascinating to see how selections made by exterior stakeholders have been influenced as a lot by politics as by epidemiology! As a part of this work, I used to be in a position to attend a weekly assembly with the Chief Medical Officers for numerous UK elite sports activities, which had been convened early within the pandemic to facilitate a return to competitors. This was an excellent discussion board for discussing our COVID plans for the Video games, in addition to an incredible alternative to listen to the collective knowledge of an eminent group of sports activities medics.

Finally there have been no massive outbreaks throughout this Video games, however I felt reassured that we had all of the buildings and processes in place to detect an outbreak and reply ought to it happen. Regardless of this lack of ‘motion’ it was additionally fascinating simply to be within the Video games Operational Centre, watching as an occasion of this large scale unfolded.

The Commonwealth Video games Undertaking Workforce was nice to work with. Though the work was difficult at occasions, and undoubtedly pushed me outdoors my consolation zone, I all the time felt effectively supported. I learnt a lot throughout the 6 months and can always remember the excitement in Birmingham because the occasion we had spent so lengthy planning for, lastly got here to city! I’d advocate getting concerned with an analogous mass-gathering occasion, to any registrar supplied the chance.

Caryn Cox, Lead UKHSA Well being Safety Guide for the Commonwealth Video games

‘Having public well being registrars embedded within the UKHSA West Midlands Commonwealth Video games programme workforce and main on key workstreams within the planning and preparation section for the Video games was implausible. Every introduced differing abilities and information to reinforce the core programme workforce.

Clare, Steve, and David additionally every voluntarily stepped up within the operational section of the Video games competitors time – working each the 6am early morning shifts and midnight ending night shifts and throughout a number of weekends. 

In addition they undertook a rota slot the place they have been the Public Well being Advisory lead within the Video games Operational Centre, sat together with multi-agency colleagues. I hope they have been every in a position to achieve the event and studying alternatives they have been in search of, in addition to having fun with the expertise and pleasure of being a part of the biggest Commonwealth Video games ever held – held by all to be an excellent success. 

As we seize the teachings discovered from this Video games to switch to future occasions in addition to internally within the UKHSA, we’ve already famous and recorded that registrars ought to, the place attainable and related to their coaching, be an integral half in planning, preparation and response, as alternatives corresponding to these don’t come alongside fairly often.

Our because of the triumphant trio, Clare, Steve and David, in addition to Dr Alex Cockburn, an ST5 West Midlands registrar who labored on the Video games previous to Feb 2022 and laid glorious foundations for different registrars to comply with. We now hand over the baton to the State of Victoria, Australia for the 2026 Commonwealth Video games’.

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