"Put off work experience"

About: East Surrey Hospital

(as the patient),

My 17 year old son is studying Health and Social Care at college. He recently sent an application form in to apply for general work experience on the wards at East Surrey.

He spoke with someone in the hospital by phone regarding this and I was shocked to hear them tell him that they had shredded his application form. He was told he needed to specify a ward, or he could give negative feedback on the form if he didn't like working on that ward. He was also told they were very busy - in other words don't waste my time!

This is a shocking way to treat students.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

I am sorry that your son and yourself have been left with a negative impression of the service we provide for work experience students.

As a Trust we recognise the positive contribution made by those who come to us for work experience. We look on this as part of our wider role to encourage those who are studying for a career in the healthcare environment or who are unsure what career they wish to pursue to choose to work in the NHS. Of course we also hope that having had a good experience they may later choose Surrey and Sussex Healthcare as the place to come and work. Last year we were able to match 87 Work experience applicants with placements in the Trust.

Not all areas of the Trust are suitable for work experience and within the HR team we have staff who process applications and match enquirers with departments that are able to support a placement. We do indeed have very busy wards and our staff will draw this to applicants attention when they enquire so that they are aware of the nature of the services that we provide, as we do find that some applicants do not appreciate the environment that they will be working in.

A member of our team does recall conversations with an applicant where an application was shredded however this was with the agreement of the applicant as they were interested in working on a mental health ward. As SASH do not provide MH services our operator advised the applicant of the type of services we provide and pointed them in the direction of a nearby mental health Trust. Information was also given on the busy nature of our ward areas this was not to imply that we are ‘too busy’ but as above to emphasise the environment they would be placed in The applicant was asked whether they wished to continue with their application or if their form should be shredded. Shredding applications is standard practise once an applicant has withdrawn. This applicant rang later and was told that the application had indeed been shredded.

If your son is still seeking a placement I hope this response will give you some encouragement that we are interested in matching students with suitable placements and we would be delighted to receive an application from your son. If you wish to discuss this further please contact Clare James on 01737 768511 extension 2800.

Yvonne Parker

Director of HR

Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust