The Acute In Hours Visiting Service (AIHVS) provides routine home visits for patients on behalf of their GP practice in East and North Hertfordshire. Joe Choy shares with us his experience as an AIHVS Driver previously and as an Operations Support Coordinator for all of HUC.

“I started at HUC nine years as an AIHVS Driver in Hertfordshire and now my main job is Operations Support Coordinator. It’s been a long but rewarding journey and I am glad to be contributing to the organisation’s success in my own way,” Joe tells us.
AIHVS Drivers are responsible to drive the clinicians to the patients’ homes, community bases or care homes. “When patients can’t make it to their GPs, we take the service to them,” is how he summarises the job.

Joe Choy

On an AIHVS shift, Joe’s regular day begins with checking the vehicle and making note of any problems and potential damages, on what is called a Drivers’ sheet. He ensures that the vehicle is fully stocked with medicines and that it has the necessary equipment required for Clinicians during the visit.

Once on the move, the Clinicians are in touch with our AIHVS Coordinators back at the contact centre, who take the initial referrals from the practi

ces we serve. The Clinicians can read the patient history and any notes while they are on en route so they are fully prepared once they arrive.

In contrast, the IUC Support Coordinator role is mostly office-based, focusing on resolving issues raised via the shift reports, working on our fleet, where his experience as a Driver comes in handy as he’s dealing with insurance issues and repairs.

“I go through all the Drivers sheets, make an action log with any issues raised and get the wheels in motion – pun intended,” he winks, “for working through those tasks. The problems vary in nature, it could be something related to a vehicle requiring a new tyre or an insurance issue,” he adds.

He also works with the Medicines Management team members so that if any Drivers out on the road are available to deliver medicines to a base for them, he can arrange that.

Joe Choy

Comparing the qualities required for the two roles, he says that to be an AIHVS Driver you really need a pleasant personality with a calm manner. “They must be a good team player, patient and professional, have a clean license and – most importantly – be a good driver who is aware of their surroundings,” he says. For his main role, on the other hand, “they should have a good understanding of HUC’s policy and procedures.”

Previously Joe often balanced both roles as an AIHVS Driver and an Operations Support Coordinator. But after he was hit by COVID-19 earlier this year, he had to limit his role to the latter. “My line manager and colleagues have been extremely supportive throughout my recovery and coming back to work,” he says.

When asked which role he prefers, he says, “I love both of them as I like meeting people and talking to them. But I enjoy the Operations Support Coordinator role more, only because it involves different aspects of problem solving. There’s such variety – and I’m learning new stuff every day. And, I’ve been able to improve my computer skills,” he adds, “as a Driver you’re mainly behind the wheel.”

“Working for AIHVS, our aim is to make a difference – when a patient can’t see a doctor, we get the doctor to him.. And patients are very grateful. So, it’s a great service to the community and at the end of the day, it is very fulfilling for us. We feel very valuable and there’s no better feeling than that.”

“I am very proud of all my achievements at HUC – however big or small. And I just like to get stuck in – when the pandemic first started, I sourced and fitted COVID-19 screens in all the cars myself – in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and West Essex.”

Joe Choy

But that isn’t enough for Joe – he helped distributing the collection for the foodbank, once a regular thing at the contact centre in Welwyn. He took all donations to the Trussell Trust in Hatfield, who made sure it reaches the right people in need. “During COVID-19, it was not possible for all colleagues who were previously involved with the HUC foodbank to continue as they worked from home now, so I stepped in and made sure it continued as that was a time of real hardship for many people out there.”

What he likes most about HUC is the people he works with. “I love working with the clinicians and my colleagues. At the end of the day we are helping the NHS and caring for people, and I really feel we are making such a difference,” he says. “I was also nominated for the Unsung Hero category of the Staff Awards earlier this year, it’s great to be recognised for all your efforts,” he concludes.