A message from or Janice Greenhill, Chief Operating Officer

Welcome to HUC: a place where your skills and talent can make a real difference to people’s lives.

We each play a part in improving outcomes for patients. There is a real sense of teamwork and community at HUC. Everyone is working towards the same goal and that helps to create a supportive and inclusive working environment.

You’ll be part of a not-for-profit organisation that is ready to do things differently to improve outcomes for our patients. It’s work that you can be proud to be part of.

It’s a great place to work: a place where people work well together and are incredibly supportive. We can offer you a rewarding career with structured progression and plenty of opportunities for learning and development. And as an integral part of the NHS family, changing and saving people’s lives, you’ll be proud to tell people what you do.

Fantastic patient care is front and centre of what we do, and how we do it. This means that those who choose to be part of our team can be confident that the values that motivate them will be shared and respected.

Whatever your experience or background, HUC is a place where you will have the opportunity to make a positive difference to people’s lives. But it’s also a dynamic organisation that will encourage you to embrace new ways of working if it means even better outcomes for patients.

Work environment

HUC is a place where excellent people can excel. It’s an ideal destination for those who are motivated and inspired by helping others and who relish the freedom to do things differently.

You can make a real difference to patients from anywhere within HUC and our non-clinical teams are always in need of more support. This could be an NHS 111 Call Handler (comprehensive training provided), a Receptionist or a Driving role within our healthcare services. We also have opportunities to work within our support services, which include our finance, IT, administration, communications and HR functions.

We are an organisation that will equip and enable talented people to do their jobs even better. Whatever stage you are at in your career and in your life, whether you’re working with us full-time or part-time, you can play a vital part.

Training and development

We want to support you through every stage of your career. Whatever your aspirations, HUC Academy can provide you with the training and development you need to succeed.

We offer a wide range of qualifications and courses, including: Mental Health First Aid, Resilience, Conflict Resolution, Incident De Briefing, Minor Illness, Pharmacology, Non-Medical Prescribing and Infection Control Lead Training.
Find out more

Role profile - a day in the life of an NHS 111 Call Handler, Erin Barrett

Ever wondered what it takes to answer an NHS 111 call? Erin Barrett, Call Handler in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s NHS 111 service, tells us more about her role.
As an NHS 111 Call Handler no two days are the same. And just like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to deal with when you answer a call. But Erin Barrett, NHS 111 Call Handler at HUC’s Peterborough contact centre, enjoys the challenge. “Calls can be so varied,” she says, “from a stubbed toe, a dislocated shoulder or a sore throat to something quite serious including somebody having chest pains or a stroke.”

“It’s a common misconception that we just follow a script,” Erin continues. “So, when we first answer the call, we take down details of demographics – name, phone number and GP. And then we go through a list of questions based on an algorithm called NHS Pathways, our in-built tool which rules out conditions while assessing patients, to determine the next steps and action to be taken. And I think that’s why patients often think we just read something off a screen. But there’s a lot more involved,” says Erin. “The process we follow is a ‘ruling out’ system, where we follow a list of questions, to narrow down to the best possible advice. But while on a call, we also have to be reading the room constantly, keeping track of the background noises, like what could be going on there, what’s their breathing like, could there be a safeguarding concern where this person is not safe, is there something that’s perhaps not obvious to this person who may be in distress? So, taking note of all the extra information is something we are trained in thoroughly. Simultaneously, we have to be thinking of how to deal with the situation and build a rapport to the patient. Alertness is crucial,” she elaborates.

“The training process is quite rigorous, and you actually go through four weeks’ really intense training before you take a live call. You also need to pass an exam to make sure you’re where you need to be when you first take a call. And even then, there is lots of support available, including debriefers who are around if you have had a difficult call and just need some advice.”

There are many different roles in an NHS 111 contact centre, from Call Handlers – or Health Advisors – who are comprehensively trained but not clinical, to paramedics and nurses we can transfer a patient to if required all the way up to senior healthcare professionals including GPs if required.
Erin started her career at HUC as a Health Advisor five years ago, having been a pub landlady before. Since then, she has continuously progressed within the organisation but still does shifts as a Health Advisor. “I’ve been a coach, a trainer, a shift manager – there are plenty of options for career progression. “

When she first joined, Erin was sceptical about what the contact centre atmosphere would be like. But it’s nothing like what she expected. “I joined here with some pre-conceived notions that people will be loud, have their own groups etc., but I was absolutely wrong. Everyone here gets along with each other, they are friendly and helpful to one another – team spirit is the word,” Erin says. And she epitomises that herself as she was recently elected to represent her contact centre in the company’s Staff Forum.

With her solid experience as a Health Advisor, Erin shares her thoughts on the qualities others should possess who are thinking about applying. “Call handlers must be confident people, who are happy to make decisions and have good attention to detail. They should be willing to learn and have strong decision-making skills,” she says.

One call stands out to her that she is most proud of. “I remember a call from a to-be father that his partner was in labour and her mother was driving them to a hospital. I had to advise to pull over to start the assessment. While the car pulled into a Tesco’s car park and an ambulance was dispatched, I had the help of a clinical advisor, who was a midwife, with me talking me through how to help. The baby was crowning, so we asked the mother to be to lay on her left side. Everyone on the phone was in panic as she could feel the baby coming. The ambulance arrived in time and took over. It was a very challenging call dealing with a high stress situation as anything could have happened with the birth. I’m proud that I was able to help the situation and get the right help, in a short time and help prevent any complications during the birth.”

“No doubt the pay is good, but the job is amazing. The feeling that you’ve helped somebody today is very rewarding. I don’t make a big difference but little differences to many lives – very small and very often. You can’t help everybody, but I’m going to do my best,” Erin concludes.

Patient feedback

"The person I spoke to at HUC was extremely helpful and understanding. I had no idea what to do and she pointed me in exactly the right direction. Without NHS 111 advising an immediate appointment with my GP or urgent care unit I would probably have waited for a normal GP appointment, which would have been too late for the necessary medication to be started."