Sunday, 09 August 2020

Garden created for surgery staff as thank-you for efforts

Garden created for surgery staff as thank-you for efforts

A GARDEN has been created at a doctors’ surgery in Henley to thank staff for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Senior partners at the Hart Surgery, off York Road, wanted to provide a more relaxing and private area for them to take their breaks.

They spent a whole day clearing an overgrown piece of land to the rear of the surgery before laying artificial grass, a wooden screen made from railway sleepers and planting up beds around the area.

Two new benches and a table arrived earlier this month so that staff have somewhere to sit.

The benches have been engraved with one reading “The Hart Surgery grateful thanks to all our staff” and “The Hart Surgery for stepping up during the 2020 pandemic”.

Practice manager Sarah Moberley said: “The staff have been really working so hard during this covid period.

“We have some who had to self-isolate and had been putting in extra hours, and people have been coming more than normal. On top of that putting on all this PPE and getting all hot and bothered, but they have been absolutely amazing.

“The common room in the centre of the building has no windows and has been used as a storage room because we decluttered the consulting rooms.

“If it was a hot day and staff wanted to have lunch they were sitting next to the car park and a bit squashed.”

Dr Philip Unwin, the surgery’s former senior partner, drew up a plan and at first thought he could clear the area with his own digger but then realised it would have ripped out everything so decided to hire one, along with a skip.

Doctors, nurses, practice staff and its visiting paramedic Gareth Young brought in gardening tools and spent six hours clearing the area on a Saturday last month.

After levelling the ground they covered it with two tonnes of sand before laying the artificial grass and planting shrubs. Staff bought in pot plants as well as a tree.

Mrs Moberley added: “I think the garden is better than we expected and the staff are continually saying how grateful they are and it’s used all the time.

“Every coffee and every lunch break there are people here, socially distanced of course.

“It lets them know they are appreciated. We work so hard that it’s nice to get somewhere to have a proper break in a really nice environment. The staff feel very touched by the idea.”

Mrs Moberley said the garden came as complete surprise to them when they arrived for work on a Monday morning last month.

GP partner Dr Oliver Maunsell welcomed the garden.

During the pandemic staff had often been confined to their individual rooms for many hours at a time.

He explained: “Often we’ll be in a room for 12 or 13 hours and not see a single person because it was all pretty much all phone calls.

“You want people to feel valued and this is one the best ways to do that. I don’t think there are many surgeries that have put emphasis on creating something like this for their staff.

“We could have spent this on a million and one things we need but by doing this it sends a really positive message out to staff that we do care about them and want to look after them.”

The benches were engraved free of charge by Field & Hawken, of Reading.

The surgery says the garden is still a work in progress and hopes to install more plants in the future.

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