16 Nov GSA’s Role in the Managed Quarantine Service
For the last 8 months, we have been helping the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to manage Quarantine facilities for entrants to the UK from red list countries utilising over 70 hotels. We received glowing accolades from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and other stakeholders, commending our outstanding work.
GSA were initially engaged on the 25th February, and deployed staff on the 27th. With 24 hours’ notice, we trained and deployed our resources. As countries were added to the red list, the number of quarantine hotels grew rapidly requiring GSA to recruit, train and deploy staff at speed in large numbers.
The original requirement was for 10 staff and 2 Senior Managers managing the contracts of other providers. In early March, the role of GSA operatives changed to that of ‘Liaison Officers’ representing the DHSC on the ground. Our revised responsibility included: coordinating the activity of providers in the quarantine facilities, ensuring that the welfare of vulnerable guests was managed, problem solving and stakeholder management. The role was challenging as guests within the facility had a very different profile to that of ordinary hotel guests, with many of them having medical and other vulnerabilities.
GSA also deployed a team conducting thematic inspections of the hotels at the request of the DHSC to identify good and bad practice to allow for continuous improvement, and we also trained key hotel staff and contractors in safeguarding of vulnerable guests.
On 19 August GSA deployed to the airports to help manage the arrivals in the UK as a result of the emergency evacuation from Afghanistan. This was to prove even more challenging. Details of this can be found HERE.
The role of GSA was critical to the success of the quarantine programme which contributed to the UK being protected from COVID variants of concern. GSA scaled up to over 300 staff in a short period, with over 150 staff deployed daily at the peak.
In a note of thanks on the 22nd October, the Director in charge of the Managed Quarantine Service commended GSA staff for their professionalism, dedication and experience.
We were further praised for our empathy in managing the safety of guests, while simultaneously handling complex issues that frequently arose throughout our deployment. We are very proud of the members of our team who helped protect the guests at a vulnerable period of their lives, and on an occasion intervened to save the lives of two guests. The dedication of the staff is reflective of the compassion that runs deep within GSA.
We at GSA are very proud of the role we played in assisting government in a critical programme and protecting vulnerable guests.