Pilots and cabin crew have come together to deliver a first-class service to NHS staff in Sussex by opening Project Wingman lounges at the Royal Sussex County (RSCH) and the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH).
Project Wingman was started at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to enable furloughed, grounded or redundant airline staff to support frontline NHS workers. The airline volunteers are all trained to communicate in stressful situations and their lounges provide a space for NHS staff to unwind and decompress.
Staff are invited to drop in before, during or after a shift to have a chat and cup of tea and be looked after by uniformed aircrew who understand and empathise with the challenges of working in a stressful environment.
Hundreds of staff have already benefitted from the lounge at the Princess Royal Hospital since the beginning of February and a further 29 airline staff are now based at the newly opened lounge in the Macmillan Horizon Centre in Brighton.
Laura Symons, Project Wingman Team Leader for Brighton said:
“Having been a volunteer at Worthing Hospital since the end of last year, I am now proud to lead a team of nearly 30 volunteers at our local hospital in Brighton. Macmillan Cancer have loaned us the fabulous Horizon lounge complete with sea views, conveniently located by the Oncology and A&E departments.”
Sarah Skelton who is the implementation lead for Brighton added:
“The venue is superb – new, light and airy with a fully fitted kitchen – just the right spot for taking care of the staff during their break and hopefully helping them to re-charge before going back on the wards.”
Thomas Kwest is a Secretary based at Sussex Cancer Centre, he said:
“I had a delightful lunch break on Wednesday with Wingman volunteers. A coffee and marvellous informal talk with these very thoughtful people who added a touch of airways glamour to my day!”
Lana Rogers, who is a Matron at Sussex Cancer Centre, said:
“I often get called away when I’m on my break so it’s nice to come down and have a proper break uninterrupted and away from the busy work environment.”