National Health Service Surge Preparation Comparison: 2020 and 2021

The past year and a half of surviving Covid-19 have been challenging for everyone both physically and mentally. The constant change, uncertainty, and trying to make sense of so much information has stretched many of us to our limits. It is precisely for this reason leaders must be certain when making decisions that are supported by data and reflect what staff actually care about. In 2020 and 2021 goShadow collaborated with the National Health Service (NHS) based in England to take a pulse on changes the Health Service made in response to the first and second Covid surges and conducted a series of debriefs with staff. Leaders at the Health Service used the debrief in 2020 to identify what changes staff thought were impactful and what they could have done differently in order to prepare for the inevitable second surge. The debrief in 2021 served to learn if changes from the first surge had any added value. 

Clinical and non-clinical employees were engaged with a survey developed through the NHS and goShadow collaboration. Debriefs were then carried out with staff through a phased approach.

Phase 1) Open forum discussions with individuals 

Phase 2) Open forum discussion with deployed or substantive teams

Phase 3) Employees were encouraged to share personal experiences with executive leadership and to share their feedback by themes of “Safety, Communication, and Support.” 

Phase 4) Employee comments during these sessions, together with survey responses analyzed using sentiment analysis and natural language processing were used to make comprehensive recommendations to leadership. 


2020 COVID-19 DEBRIEF 

  • 1,000+ employees completed the survey consisting of demographic questions, 3 scaled satisfaction questions, 12 open-ended questions, and 3 multiple response questions. 
  • Responses were categorized into three overarching themes of support, communication, and safety. Subthemes were carefully developed by thoroughly examining all responses. 
  • Several statistical correlations and analyses were performed to decipher the factors affecting employee satisfaction day to day. 
  • Provided senior leadership with clear employee identified improvement opportunities and next steps for implementation.

2021 COVID-19 DEBRIEF 

  • 495 employees completed the survey consisting of demographic questions, 4 scaled questions, 16 open-ended questions, and 4 multiple response questions.
  • 63 teams completed the survey consisting of demographic questions, 19 open-ended questions, and 2 multiple response questions. 
  • Responses were categorized into three overarching themes of support, communication, and safety. Subthemes were carefully developed by thoroughly examining all responses. 
  • Comprehensive reports were created for individual and team debriefs to determine employee satisfaction with the Trust’s response during the second surge of COVID-19 and develop a sustainable plan for next steps.


Examples of Suggestions made by Staff in 2021 and recommendations designed based on those suggestions:

Everyone in the healthcare industry should be familiar with the famous Peter Drucker quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” The leaders of the NHS recognize that creating a culture of open communication is not just about giving employees opportunities to be heard but for employees to actually see that their voices make a difference. To take it a step further, leaders must also not just set and forget any changes they implement, what’s helping your employees today may be hurting them tomorrow. Therefore the take-home message is to take ownership of your staff’s wellbeing, listen to what matters to them, make meaningful decisions, and remember to check in. 


Posted on

September 3, 2021

Back to Blog