Professional Support

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E-learning opportunities


In addition to the excellent  clinical training  being provided in the Trust in response to COVID-19, there is a range of e-learning opportunities including a host of the latest COVID-19  packages continuously being updated nationally from Health Education England (HEE) in your Electronic Staff Record (ESR) . 

 ESR will also provide you with access to a full range of other clinical and non- clinical national and local e-learning opportunities available to you  24/7  for you to access at a time that suits you.   

ESR e-learning is another recorded learning event, providing you with evidence of your continuing CPD, useful for revalidation and appraisal personal development  discussion. Instructions on how to access and navigate ESR learning and view some other topical e-learning opportunities are detailed in this Elearning document.       

For any support required regarding this e-learning, please email the Learning and Development inbox  


IT Guide for Working from home


Service Desk Access

If your matter is urgent and directly related to COVID-19 preparation please email the following address:

Otherwise, please either send us an email, log a call on the Service portal or leave a voicemail (only if your query is urgent) and we will respond as soon as we can.

In any communications to us, please ensure that you include a current contact number, mobile if possible, and the incident number if already logged.

Options for Accessing IT

1. Access to NHS Mail and Microsoft Teams anywhere, anytime, from any device (including personal devices)

  • Please note, Microsoft Teams can be used to share files whilst they are being worked on; advice and guidance can be found here and here. To set up Microsoft Teams for your Service please raise a request via the Service Portal.

2. Clinical staff: Remote access is available for Citrix Desktop from any internet connection using a personal computer. Details on how to register and configure access are available here.

3. Remote IT Access: Access to all Trust systems can be obtained on a Trust computer using VPN. Further details are available here.

  • Please note that first time set up of VPN system needs to occur within the Trust’s network onsite, and, if your password expires you will need to re-set it from the Trust’s network - please reset your password as soon as you receive a reminder, to avoid any problems.

The increase in remote working via option 3 is currently placing significant pressure on the Trust’s network. Our team have been working hard to increase capacity and we will continue to do so. Please only use this option if absolutely necessary; you will continue to find slow speeds when interacting with PST files in Outlook 2010 due to the age of this technology; please use the NHSMail web portal in the first instance.


Diverting Phones

Please note, the automatic diversion of Trust phone numbers to external numbers, for example, mobiles, is strongly discouraged due to the limited number of external telephone lines available. Overuse of automatic diversion to external numbers will compromise the Trust’s telephone system meaning priority calls will be blocked.  Where possible and practical please share your direct contact details e.g personal mobiles with your colleagues to maintain communications during this period.  

If diverts are already in place please can you make arrangements for these to be cancelled using ##9.

Voicemail - USEFUL TIP

You can dial the Voice Mail number from any phone but if you do so the system will ask you for your ‘mail box’ number before it asks for the pass code. Your mail box number is simply your 5-digit extension number. Dial 39000 (or 439000 if dialling externally). Ignore the automated prompts and press the star (*) key twice then enter your own voice mail box number.

Download voicemail guide

External Links

Please be aware that external content is not monitored by IM&T

Staff blog: My remote working coping strategy

20 Tips for Working From Home (PC Mag)

How to Work From Home During Coronavirus (PC World)

How to Look After Your Mental Health (BBC Health)

Working From Home Advice (ars TECHNICA)

Working From Home and Correct Posture (WIRED)

The reason Zoom calls drain your energy (BBC)


Video Conferencing Tips

  • Circulate an agenda in advance. Allot time to each item and keep to schedule.

  • Allow time for people to fumble the log-in. Send clear instructions in advance.

  • If there are slides or documents, circulate them in advance.  Don't rely on being able to display them 'live'

  • If people are working from home, use headsets with microphones where possible to eliminate background noise

  • The meeting chair should ask people to introduce themselves, and it's polite to re-introduce yourself before you speak. 

  • An icebreaker is a good idea.  Ask people what they had for breakfast, or send a picture of where they are.

  • Keep people engaged by asking for opinions. 

  • Prevent people talking over each other, make specific time for questions.

  • Make sure people understand which bit of the meeting they are to contribute to and how. Help them to get their documents lined up.

  • Keep minutes and action items, circulate them and follow through.  Don't assume people know what they are doing next.

  • Video conferencing needs rock-solid wifi.  Have a standby, if it drops out. 

  • If you are using a webcam, ensure that there is a good level of lighting, (too dark and your colleagues will not be able to see you, too much brightness can distort an image) You should also be aware of your surroundings i.e objects in the background or other members of your household.

  • Sit still, it uses less bandwidth.


Anxiety, Stress and Mindfullness

AnxietyUK sugests practising the "Apple" technique to deal with anxiety and worries

  • Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
  • Pause: Don't react as you normally do. Don't react at all. Pause and breathe.
  • Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don't believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
  • Let Go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don't have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
  • Explore:Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else - on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else - mindfully with your full attention.




Cyber Security Awareness – Are you cyber fit?

As we adapt to new ways of working we need to ensure we continue to take the security of our data and systems seriously. Cyber criminals think they can use the current situation to exploit weaknesses in our home networks, and get our people, who are busy and up against it, to click links to websites which will put malware onto our computers.

The NHS has issued guidance on keeping safe and secure whilst working from home.

There have already been specific examples of COVID-19 related malicious cyber activity. If you are in any doubt, please delete any mildly suspicious links, even - if shared from within

Please do not download or install any software to your Trust computer without IM&T approval or instruction. If in any doubt, check with our IM&T Service Desk first; via

Colleagues are encourage to undertake the attached ‘cyber workout’; #becyberfit, #besafe


We know that many of you are experiencing issues changing your passwords when working remotely. We are going to help alleviate these problems by pushing back the expiry date of our network passwords to 365 days, rather than the current 90 days. Please continue to keep your network and NHSmail passwords different.

VPN Usage (remote working).

If you are using a Trust computer at home, please avoid using it for personal browsing and streaming services over the Trust’s VPN. Please use your personal devices for personal browsing – this type of use over Trust VPNs increases our security risks slows down our VPN speeds for all users.

Outlook 2010

PST files (outlook archive files) will cause Outlook 2010 to operate slowly over our VPNs. There is unfortunately no technical fix for this. If it is feasible, please disconnect your PST files and you will find this will speed up Outlook. Use of the NHS web portal is encouraged.

Video Conferencing

The Trust’s approved video conferencing tool is Microsoft Teams.  Use of other tools such as Zoom is discouraged. However, if it is imperative to use tools such as Zoom please ensure that you have the most up to date version installed (for Zoom, it is version 4.6.10 or above). Non approved products are known to have security vulnerabilities which are frequently exploited by cyber criminals.

Microsoft Teams

When your MS teams are set up they will have 'Private’ as opposed to ‘Public’ setting applied to the Team. Please do not change the setting to ‘Public’, as any documents you share will then be accessible to other NHS users. If you have any queries about MS Teams settings please contact the IM&T Service Desk -


Microsoft Teams

As more and more people get set up on Microsoft Teams, we are regularly faced with questions regarding Teams. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions and answers:


Q1.     How do I register with MS Teams and where can I get the App for my PC/Laptop 

Instructions and guidance on how to register and place the App on your PC/Laptop can be found in the TechNET (link below in Question 2) under the ‘How to Get Started’ User Guides.


Q2.      Are there a range of User Guidance notes to help me?

There are several Quick Guide User Instructions available on TechNet covering a wide range of user functions ranging from; How to get Started to Setting up Meetings.



Q3        What’s the difference between a Team and a Channel?


Team                   A Team name is assigned to a Clinical Service i.e. Surgery Care Group Team, Neurosurgery Team etc. Each Team has a minimum of 3 ‘Owners’. The Owners have a range of permissions to manage the Team e.g. create a Channel; Edit a Channel, add Members to an existing Channel etc. A Team is able to have up to 30 Private and 200 Public Channels.

Channel              The Channels cater for specialist fields within a Team and, like Teams, are given their own identity i.e. Neurosurgery Administration, Plastic Surgery Consultants etc. A Channel is created by the Owners of the Team. You can create Private Channels with restricted access to select members if required.

Chat                     If you want to talk to an individual or a group of people privately, you can also use the Chat feature, which offers an instant messaging service as well as video and audio call options.


Q4.       Why can’t I create a new Team?

IM&T has the responsibility of creating new Teams. A request for a Team is to be forwarded via the IT Service Helpdesk. In some cases, a Channel will need to be created rather than a new Team. (See Q3 above)


Q5.      As an ‘Owner’ of a Team why can’t I add somebody to a Private Channel when I have already added others?

To add a Member onto a Private Channel they need to be registered and set up as a Member within the main overarching ‘Team’.


Q6.      Can we still use Zoom and other communication mediums instead of MS Teams to discuss Clinical matters?

MS Teams has been recognised and agreed as the only communication medium to be used for Confidential, Clinical and Patient discussions and conferences.


Q7.      Why can’t I manage meetings using MS Teams?

The current version of MS Teams does not have the Calendar functionality, which unfortunately results in some restrictions in setting up meetings. To find out how to set up meetings, please see the “How to Set Up Meetings” guide on TechNET (see Q3).


Q8.      Can I add somebody externally to an MS Teams meeting?

You can add external people to an MS Teams meeting, either by inviting them to the meeting via Outlook or by sending them the meeting invite link. For full guidance on this, please see the “External Users” guide on TechNET (see Q3).


Q9.      Can I add an external person (either from another NHS Trust or external organisation) to a Team?

To get an external person added to a team, please log a call with the Service Desk stating the person’s email address and organisation. Please note, there may be delays with this depending on the organisation.


Q10.    I am having issues using Teams during Meetings i.e. being kicked out or screen locking up – why is this?

We are aware that some users are experiencing issues with MS Teams during conferencing, which are being closely monitored. If you are experiencing these issues, please try the following which may overcome the problem:

  1. Uninstalling and reinstalling MS Teams
  2. If using wireless internet, try hardwiring to a data port/router – or vice versa.
  3. Try using a smart device i.e. tablet or smartphone


If none of the above fix the issue, please contact the Service Desk.

We will be giving regular updates about new features in Teams as they become available, as well as putting up new guides on TechNET to help users. If you have any questions regarding MS Teams that have not been answered above or in the user guides, please contact the Service Desk.




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