Steph Langshaw, a Shift Manager at the Luton and Bedfordshire contact centre, tells us about her experience in managing the service during her shifts and the responsibilities in her current role.

Steph joined HUC eight years ago as an NHS 111 Call Handler [Health Advisor if internal] in Hertfordshire. Four years later, she became a Shift Manager and continues in that role at the Luton and Bedfordshire contact centre. As she manages the service during her shift including any issues not just in the NHS 111 contact centre but in the Out of Hours service as well., Her previous role working as part of a team of Health Advisors gives her the knowledge and experience to handle situations and support the team.

Every day has new things in store she says, and that’s something that keeps her going. “No two days are the same. I can’t say what my day is going is to be like tomorrow or next week– I like the unknowns and thinking on my feet,” says Steph.

“Broadly, my job is to support the contact centre colleagues so they can do their job. This is anything to do with concrete questions about calls, shift fill and other issues. Individual performance and other line managerial issues are dealt with by the Team Leaders and Contact Centre Managers. Mostly, I ensure that the call handlers are doing all right on the shift as there can also be a situation which a call handler might be tackling for the first time and they would want to discuss it – so I’m there for that,” explains Steph, who also worked as a Team Leader for a few months last year. “I also oversee a lot of tasks in the Out of Hours service.”

As a Shift Manager, collaboration is at the heart of what she does. “We have to ensure that there are enough colleagues working for the day and evenings, especially with short notice absence. And then, there is co-ordination between Drivers and Receptionists, GPs and Nurses and Service Advisors as well. So, it really covers most aspects of the service,” she explains.

“Because I have a call handling background, it has massively helped me as a Shift Manager in terms of experience, as I am able to offer that extra support since I know their role well and get where they’re coming from.”

When asked which of the roles she prefers more — the Call Handler or the Shift Manager, Steph says, “I don’t think the role is very different in terms of working for high quality patient care. But having said that, the Shift Manager role is more supervisory, so you do miss going on the regular day-to-day calls. I do miss speaking to the patients directly sometimes.”

What Steph enjoys the most about HUC is the variety of a day’s work.
“Our colleagues have a challenging job and I’m proud of being able to support them. Over the last year, everyone’s worked so hard – it’s incredible.”

Her fondest memory of working at HUC is winning in the Staff Awards in 2019, where she was winner of the Outstanding Achievement category. “When you get an award, you feel appreciated for your work. It’s a recognition and you feel great because when you come to work, and do your job, you don’t expect anything but for someone to turn around and say ‘you really deserve this’ or ‘you’ve done really well’, it’s an amazing feeling. That award was special as one of my colleagues nominated me,” she says.

“It’s great that the nominations this year are not just limited to a couple of months — you can make so many more nominations,” she quips. “You can nominate someone right away when you notice that someone really deserves it. And, I think it means more to be nominated by your colleagues that you’re working with – they see you every day, so they know how you you’ve done or stood out in a situation or circumstance.”

About her colleagues and HUC, she says, “Everyone here is so friendly and helpful and I think they have a real passion for helping people. I am very proud to work for HUC. It is an excellent organisation and the service we provide to our patients is amazing. What makes me really happy is hearing patients give good feedback,” she says.