Responsive, reliable and now exceptional: The PPE Team

For nearly two years now, a small team of six has been delivering millions of pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) across five counties, helping keep thousands of Oxford Health's staff safe. Now they are crowned the team of December in our Exceptional People Awards.

Responsive, reliable and now exceptional: The PPE Team

Director of Finance Mike McEnaney presented the award to the team at their workplace, a warehouse in Cowley. He noted that the judging panel had been unanimous in their decision for the month – without exception every judge gave the PPE Team top scores.

“You run a slick operation, and not only that: when the Trust talks about quality improvement, you guys do it without talking about it. If a problem occurs, you come up with a solution, rather than getting frustrated. And when it comes to customer service, nothing is ever too much trouble for you.”

Indeed, their nomination stated:

The PPE team have to be one of the most responsive teams in the Trust, dealing with PPE emergencies as well as business as usual. Last Christmas Eve (2020) they had been asked to deliver visors to all wards at a very short notice; within two hours this had been done. 

Mike reflected on the early days of the pandemic when PPE was in the headlines and on the top of everyone’s agenda.

“Personal protective equipment was so important, rightly so. And then the topic sank – meaning that you have been doing a brilliant job.”

Now that having PPE readily available appears self-evident, it is easy to overlook just how important a role the team plays at the Trust. The award is a timely reminder of their contribution to safe and excellent care.

“Finally, I think I can safely say you enjoy the job!” Mike observed.

“Yes, we do enjoy a challenge, and this role throws lots on a regular basis!” laughed Stephen Finn, Senior PP Operations Manager.

Scale and scope of PPE task

In the cheerful, informal awards ceremony, the team had a chance to give some details about the scale of their operation. Stephen explained:

“We are a very small team set up to manage and deliver PPE to over 7,000 colleagues in five counties. “

Stephen Finn and Mike McEnaney

Senior PPE Operations Manager Stephen Finn and Director of Finance Mike McEnaney.

In addition to Stephen, the team are PPE Operations manager Tom Arnott and drivers Dave Pring, Wilson Moozhikunnel, Andy Shaw and Chris Thornett.

The PPE Team order on behalf of the Trust and process orders from over 200 teams. They deliver PPE four days a week, making runs twice a week to all major sites and hubs: Milton Keynes, Whiteleaf, Abingdon, Witney, Didcot, Wantage, Salisbury, Melksham, Keynsham, Warneford, Littlemore and Marlborough sites twice a week, to name a few sites.

The team has delivered millions of pieces of PPE and each of the three vans racks up 18,000 miles per year.

Among the many challenges they have faced are finding a place to operate from, moving warehouse from one location to another and developing the software system for stock control and ordering – plus the challenges not peculiar to just our team, for instance the recent fuel shortage or shortage of LFTs.

And even though the team enjoys a challenge and are famed for their customer service, teams across the Trust can make their task easier. Stephen says:

“What I need from our staff to help is to order regularly and accurately. If you have an emergency, give us as much notice as possible. And pick up your PPE from the hubs as soon as you can to help with space issues.”

Stephen also notes that the team are looking for more reserve drivers. If you know someone who would be interested, email .

The Exceptional People Team award is judged by a panel from the Trust’s executive team. The winning team receives a £100 gift voucher, a signed certificate and a glass trophy.

Highly Commended

Each month the judges also choose two Highly Commended teams. In December they are the Carers Assessment Team and North Oxon Adult Mental Health Team.

Carers team

The Carers Team are (from left) Sally Wells (Carers Assessor), Julie Dale (Carer Assessment Team Manager and Associate Head of Social Care), Hina Pancholi (Carers Assessor) and Suzanne Symeonoglou (Team Admin and Carers Assessor.)

The Carers Team were nominated by Julie Hooton, a carer who felt her first carer’s assessment with the team had been a life-changing step to her. She wrote:

“They work with team spirit and enthusiasm, keeping the morale and resilience of carers high enough to sustain the demands of caring for someone with complex needs. They carry out carer’s assessments with remarkable sensitivity and compassion; my first was a life changing step. They have kept going throughout the pandemic when situations have often become more difficult, and they are always willing to do whatever it takes to keep a lifeline of hope in place for effective solutions and care.”

“Such a boost!”

Team administrator and carers assessor Suzanne Symeonoglou shared the team’s delight on being acknowledged:

“Thank you for this amazing news. I’ve shared it with the team, and it is such a boost! To receive this accolade is truly appreciated. It is such a privilege and pleasure to make a difference to carers’ lives. We see the incredible personal expense that people go to in order to care for someone who is needing additional or specialist care, treatment, support and encouragement. If we can support carers on their own mental health and wellbeing, then it is an achievement for us. It is truly a pleasure to help them on the journey of recovery.”

North Oxon Adult Mental Health Team

The North Oxon Adult Mental Health team were nominated by nurse consultant and Trust’ lead on suicide prevention Karen Lascelles. She wrote:

“ This team absolutely exemplifies the Trust values of being well led, caring, safe and excellent, illustrated to me by their longstanding commitment to doing all they can, and learning all they can, to help their patients through unbearable psychological pain and suicidal crises. But more than that the team embodies true compassion – compassionate leadership and compassionate care to patients and each other, with a palpable value of nurturing self-compassion within all.”

Nominate now for January 2022

epa logoGive someone special or a top team an even happier start to the new year: nominate them for Exceptional People Awards! Closing date for January submissions is January 24.

However, nominations are accepted at any time, so if you miss a certain month’s deadline, your nomination will simply roll into the following month.  Find the nomination forms and rules here.

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Published: 23 December 2021