THE Covid-19 pandemic could lead to major changes in the way staff work at Hampshire Hospitals, according to health chiefs.

More employees could continue to work from home, as the trust looks at how it can adapt in the light of its plan to build a new hospital serving the north and mid Hampshire area.

Director of people Catherine Hope-MacLellan said staff are already been asked on whether they are happy to work from home and if they have the support needed.

Speaking at a board of directors meeting, she continued: “Clearly this is a well-trodden path in lots of other industries, so we are looking at other industries benchmarking.”

Reiterating a comment from an expert Ms Hope-MacLellan added: “One thing you need to remember is you don’t want to build space for your admin staff in this new hospital as this is too expensive, you should be looking at how people can be working at home, so actually it is all coming together in a similar direction at one time.”

But this was met with some concern by other directors and chief medical officer the trust Dr Lara Alloway.

Dr Alloway said: “I’m just very mindful that we haven’t been doing all the normal things and the things we need to get back to. Although there are large numbers working from home now it maybe that needs to change just because we need to do things slightly differently that are requiring them to be in the hospitals.

“I think it will be a changing dynamic as we restore our services.”

And non-executive director Jos Creese added: “I think it is exactly the right thing to be doing and I think in every industry but particularly in health is seeing an almost revolutionary change in how health provision will occur in the future and indeed far from return to the norm.

“In terms of supporting who are working more flexibly and working from home, circumstances do change so I think we need to recognise while someone might say ‘I’m very happy working at home now’ it only takes a change in personal circumstances to create pressures at home or all sorts of other factors, that mean people require the ability to work in a slightly different way.

“So I think it is about flexible working not just home working.”

The trust has previously said that it is already planning changes, which could include a greater number of virtual appointments.

Speaking earlier this year chief executive Alex Whitfield said: “I think there will be a lot of things that will be different with the NHS after this. Some of them offer a real opportunity to change the way we work in a way that benefits patients and clinicians.”

She said some of the changes were already part of the trust’s long-term plan, but said the pandemic had forced them to come into effect more quickly.