Wessex Branch News

From Chris Lay

As has been the case with so much up and down the country, things have had to be postponed or cancelled.

The latest ‘casualties’ were our annual get-togethers at Stella’s Whiteparish Campsite for our summer social, as well as the Branch meeting at St Ann’s Hospital in Poole, where we have traditionally had fish ‘n’ chips post meeting at the hospital’s beach huts. Sadly, there was too much risk around social gatherings, not to mention the travelling involved.

We have also decided to shunt this year’s Salon Culinaire into the sidings. Not only was it proving difficult for staff to muster themselves from the super-human efforts they are all putting in within their day jobs, but The College had its own issues in trying to schedule our needs into its curriculum for the coming term, having not been on campus for a long period of time. However, there is a resolve from everyone that it will go ahead as soon as possible.

The above notwithstanding, absence makes the heart grow fonder and, in many ways, the Branch has ‘gelled’ in a way like never before. We have embraced ‘zoom-style’ meeting technology as if it has always been there and attendance at our virtual meetings has probably never been better or stronger from our Full members. The sharing of information, networking and the thirst for up-to-date knowledge is bringing people together like never before.

HCA membership is very good value, especially for networking and discovering that someone else has usually encountered what you are experiencing. At many of our get-togethers, ‘a problem shared’ very often results in ‘a problem halved’ (or solved).

We have been fortunate to have been ‘visited’ at our online meetings by National Officers and are grateful to both Craig and Janice for the time they have lent us.

Discussions at recent meetings have been around governance of the Association, COVID-related issues, including making wards into bubbles, trying to bring back dining rooms and staggering meal times, and updates from our NHSSC colleagues about multi-temp distribution contracts, mini competitions, split case pricing, and logistical issues around non-available products and different contract items coming on the same lorries.

Stay well, stay safe and keep smiling is the sign off from your colleagues in Wessex.

To add a touch of humour at Wessex’s expense. There’s a prize of a drink on me at next year’s Forum for the best entry for ‘what is distracting our National Secretary from facing front’?

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