Meet the Team… Switchboard & Helpdesk

9/7/21

2gether’s Switchboard & Helpdesk team are vital to assist with the smooth running of East Kent Hospitals. Find out a bit more about the team and what they do…

Members of the Switchboard & Helpdesk team  (l-r): Ashley Hopkins, Patricia Archer, Alan Phillips, Robin Grant

Team: Switchboard & Helpdesk
Department:  Facilities
Team members include: Lesley Tilley, Susann King, Patricia Archer, Alan Phillips, Robin Grant and Ashley Hopkins
Manager: Ray Bradford-Mathews

Tell us a bit about your role…
Lesley and Susann said: “Answering calls internally and externally for East Kent Hospitals and connecting them to the necessary department or person. To carry out the many clerical and administrative duties for the Switchboard which includes updating the Trust on-call rotas for all sites, answering emails, answering emergency calls and using the multitone system. The switchboard staff also deal with alarms for fire, gas, medical, boiler, pharmacy, intruder and then call out the relevant people to attend. We are also responsible for activating the Major Incident Protocol adhering to all the procedures and guidelines.”

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Ashley said: “The most rewarding thing about working as a Switchboard operator is knowing you have ability to make a massive difference. Whether that be giving somebody peace of mind about a relative that has been rushed into hospital, assisting grieving relatives, issuing help to somebody that did not have a great experience when they visited the site or successfully managing emergency calls. All of these singularly or as a collective makes this job worthwhile. Personally, if I know that I have managed to help at least one person in a shift, then I’d call that a successful day.”

What is the biggest challenge in your area of work?
“Transferring calls to departments and people constantly returning to the switchboard unanswered, therefore causing them distress.”

What would you like people to know about your area of the organisation?
Susann and Lesley said: “Although our job title is Switchboard Operator there are many aspects of our role that would not be considered normal responsibilities of simply a Switchboard Operator.

“The department faces an ever-growing challenge of meeting the demands of calls offered. Our calls in 2021 are on average up by 8.02% compared to 2019 (prior to covid).  For 2021 this equates to 67 thousand calls on average per month.”

Ashley said: “I think people need to have an understanding that we are not just a call centre. We are so much more than that. We are a team of people that work tirelessly to provide a service that not only are we as employees are proud of, but that internal and external callers are proud to ring knowing that they are going to get helped.”