How My Positive Mental Attitude Helped Me Through A Year On The Servicing Frontline Of The Covid-19 Pandemic In The UK

Last year we wanted to give our care home customers peace of mind during uncertain times and wrote to them detailing all the measures we were taking to keep both our ‘key worker’ colleagues and their communities safe as our Hcsuk Servicing team continued to support them and keep them compliant by carrying out their essential LOLER testing, servicing, maintenance and essential equipment repairs in their care homes during the pandemic

In our latest article we hear Phil’s story, our amazing Field Service Engineer, and his experience of working throughout COVID, and how adopting the ‘First Man In’ philosophy of one of his heroes, Ant Middleton, helped to keep him positive and focused.

In early January 2020, mainstream media news started reporting a new and quite literally deadly epidemic that had taken hold in the Far Eastern city of Wuhan-China and was steadily starting to take a grip further afield. I remember thinking to myself back then ‘there’s no way this is gonna spread all the way over to us here in the UK!… It’ll sort itself out surely’

Well just HOW wrong was I?

Within a matter of weeks, isolated cases had started cropping up here in the UK and Europe and my original thoughts were, well at least the care homes should be a safe enough environment to be working in due to the residents already living in a separate environment to the general population, so if I just follow the guidelines set out, myself and my client base should be just fine!!!! Again just HOW wrong was

Lockdown 1 kicked off March 23rd and Covid-19 was now officially designated as a Pandemic and PPE was scarce. However I was issued with my ‘battle dress’, masks, eye protection, portable hand sanitisers, virucidal sprays and surface wipes as I was required to decontaminate any equipment I was servicing in my daily routines.

Back then there were no Lateral Flow tests to help establish if I was safe to go into the homes and from MY perspective it felt like I was going into a daily battle against an invisible enemy, which was pretty unnerving to say the least.

By Easter, with cases of Covid-19 in care homes spreading rapidly, I thought ‘well this is now SO close to home, it’s REALLY getting serious now’! The availability and supply of PPE was a major issue, along with the mad rushes of knee jerk panic buying in supermarkets for lots of tinned foods and TOILET ROLLS. Things were starting to get messy!

I saw all over the local mainstream media news that one of the most respected care homes in our area, and one of OUR biggest clients – had tragically lost around 15 of their residents to Covid-19 over Easter weekend.

This freaked me out, that first of all I’m having to go into these homes and could easily contract Covid-19 myself…or even worse, actually be potentially taking it INTO any of my company’s clients’ homes! I was now officially twitching that this was well and truly in MY backyard now and I needed to get my head around it all and quickly!

I needed to adopt a positive mental attitude to help me cope with continuing to carry out my job so I adopted the ‘First Man In’ ‘Phil’-osophy of Ant Middleton – who I hold in very high esteem for his never-failing service in our country’s Elite SBS forces, and formerly of the big hit TV series ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins‘. (These days he is known as a motivational expert and author of 3 books based on his experiences and what helped him stay alive in the most extreme situations anyone could be faced with) to just be positive and fight it head-on day-by-day and that I’d be fine!

And it’s worked well for me in dealing with all those daily servicing battles since, be that working inside the homes or outside, for safety purposes, depending on each care home policy’s and requirements.

When the first lockdown ended, some people went running out thinking that’s it, we’re free… and went out and just spread it ALL back around again. Seeing those crowded beaches and streets with a lack of social distancing and/or masks, ultimately contributed to putting us back into full-on lockdown 2 – with the hopes of getting Covid-19 back under control by Xmas-which was not meant to be sadly.

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I continued working throughout the pandemic as our care home customers still needed to keep their equipment L.O.L.E.R. compliant and which I fulfilled either by servicing portable equipment outside of the homes or if not- risk assessed as to their necessity for use, and acted on accordingly.

Work began on developing a number of potential vaccines, trials followed

and eventually, production, and the very first Covid-19 vaccine was administered on 8th December 2020 which started the rollout of the 1st Pfizer vaccine following MHRA approval.

Covid-19 tests also became available too, which was a big step in the right direction for the safety of residents, care staff and necessary visitors alike and, for the first time in a long while, started to help put my mind more at ease knowing that regular testing was and still is being performed. . Lateral Flow tests have become part and parcel of my daily servicing routine when needed now and as well and its giving me a personal reassurance that first of all, I’m testing (and always have done) negative for Covid-19 before I enter a home therefore I’m safe and more importantly I’m not putting any residents or carers in any potential risks from it either, which IS reassuring all round I’m pretty sure on that score.

In early 2021, the vaccines were in full rollout among the country’s care homes and the most vulnerable and I WAS quite surprised that my servicing duties as a key worker, didn’t constitute my job being classed as ‘frontline’ services like the care staff and therefore a priority for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine early on in its rollout along with care staff.

But I have now finally had my call up by my age category for my 1st vaccine and was given the Oxford AZ jab which was done painlessly a couple of weeks ago now with the only minimal side affects. My 2nd Jab is also booked for early June so roll on most of the population having been inoculated, and for us all to hopefully get back to some kind-of normality again in the near future…

Fingers and toes ALL crossed, onwards and upwards as the say, and just BRING on the sunshine and the open roads of summer!


If you would like to know more about Hcsuk’s Servicing division, and how we can work as a trusted partner with you to provide you with a single-source solution for all of your LOLER inspections, servicing, decontamination and maintenance requirements from our caring and committed Servicing team, please get in touch today.

But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what other servicing customers say about us:

“Everything you do for us is certainly more than useful. We wouldn’t be able to give the care we do, to the services users without the support from you and Phil”.

Neil Blake


To Phil & Rachel, Thank you to you both for coming to the rescue. We are relieved that chair could be revived and we can enjoy some socially distancing fresh air together. Phil – you are no.1 in our eyes, nothing is too much trouble and you check everything to such a high standard. Thank you both!

Lesley Rawlinson




I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for an excellent service we received when we had our hoist, hoist slings and weight chair scales serviced. The gentleman who came was very polite and friendly with a professional manner. The reason we choose HCSuk is that we have always received excellent service from you and always received a friendly response when we contact any member of your team.

Colleen Joyce



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Customer Testimonials

“We’ve built a strong working relationship with Hcsuk over many years, having used them to source, install and service our medical training equipment. We have always found the team very professional, helpful, and well-organised. We’d like to give a particular shout out to Phil, the technician / engineer who has been the consistent friendly face visiting our business to inspect and test our mobility hoists every 6 months. Thank you for all your support and advice.”

P. B. (Care Manager), Blue Bird Care Ltd

You are part of a great company, if we can help you grow by contracting you out to our sites its good for you, but it’s great for us because your service is fantastic, very efficient, everyone within Hcsuk is super helpful in answering queries and every time we’ve had an issue, Hcsuk has always been there to solve the problem almost immediately, which is fantastic.

Leicestershire County Council

Truly exceptional levels of customer service, the best I have experienced for many years. Very helpful staff made follow up calls to ask how the equipment was performing and supplied extra user instructions to supplement the manufacturers manual. I would not hesitate to order from this company again.

Savills Estate Agents

We would just like to pass on our thanks for all of your help with our orders and would be pleased if you would also pass on our thanks to the manufacturers for being so accommodating in meeting our requirements. We have found everyone very helpful.

Lincs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Since I set up the account for Hcsuk over 18 months ago I have found them to be an excellent advocate of our products. They have been willing to learn about the technical and servicing elements to our hoists and the sales staff have really taken on board and proactively promoted our range where possible. I feel that as a company Hcsuk have got the desire and right people in place for growing in this competitive industry. They seem to push themselves to go that little bit further and offer that little bit more to stand out from the rest. May our relationship continue going from strength to strength.

Joerns Healthcare

As a care home manager I have used Hcsuk for my supplies for the last 20 years in two homes. I have always found them to be helpful and reliable. Their products are of the highest standards, they are able to source anything. The delivery service is prompt and regular so I do not have to keep large amounts of stock. They supply extra services such as servicing and repairs which are done efficiently, and training in COSHH. The reps are pleasant and helpful bringing new products to my attention but are never ”pushy”. Aftercare is good, any problems soon sorted. I would recommend them highly and would not think of using anyone else.

Littleover Nursing Home

HPC have supplied Hcsuk (Health Care Services Ltd) for well over a decade now and we would consider them to be a high quality and professional business run in an organised and progressive manor. We do not rank our customers or have a preferred customer status but if we were to introduce such a scheme I can confirm that Hcsuk would easily make such a grade.

HPC Healthline

As a manufacturer we look for key values in a distributor some of these include honesty, reliability, commitment and reputation. Hcsuk carry all of these and many more. With a twenty plus year working relationship we now place Jo and the team at the top of our distributor list. I have no hesitation in recommending Hcsuk to any prospective manufacturer or customer and wish Jo and the team all the best for the future.

Cleenol Group Ltd

It is brilliant that we are able to ring Health Care Services and that you will go the extra mile to get us the stock we need as soon as possible.

Rykneld View Nursing Home

Just to say a huge thankyou to you and your fantastic team, and I mean that from the Heart. I have never before experienced such a person centred company.

Hampton Grange Nursing Home

What I like about working with Health Care Services is the relationship we have built up and the personal service. The homes report that you always deliver on time, the quality is consistently good and the prices competitive. Your team members are always willing to go that extra mile for us and if ever we have an issue there is always someone there to save the day.

Eastgate Care

Thanks to Jo for going over and above to get us our items in time for our special event at Buddleia House – it was very much appreciated. A massive thankyou for your continued assistance as a supplier to ourselves.

Buddleia House

We have always received excellent services from everyone at HCS at our 2 care homes, especially Lee, Jo and Phil. Always professional with a quick response time. Nothing ever seems too much trouble. Recently I had to use them personally for equipment to enable my mothers discharge from hospital. I had a response within the hour for prices and delivery came straight from the manufacturer to speed up delivery. Phil arrived at the same time to put the equipment together for us! I can’t thank them enough for putting our minds at ease and for the continued support from a personal and professional perspective. I’d recommend them to anyone requiring care equipment and its nice to support local businesses. Especially when they do such a good job!!

Orla House

I contacted HCSUK trying to find a hoist that could be operated unaided by the client. I had become very disheartened, no-one was really helpful until I spoke to Donna at HCSUK.

Donna was incredibly understanding, her professionalism raised my spirits again. Everything Donna said she would do she did, including arranging for me to speak to Andrew the salesman who like Donna was incredibly helpful, happy to bring two machines to demonstrate.

I can’t recommend them highly enough. They are good people.

Penelope C

I spoke to Lee Atterbury 2 weeks ago, when I was despairing about the prospect of finding any equipment to help my husband in the bathroom. I had tried all the popular brands, but none were right for his needs.

When I spoke to Lee he understood what I was saying and set about trying to find what we need. He was so patient and understanding and gave me the confidence to explore outside the box.

I spoke to Lee today and was able to tell him that we, hopefully, have found the solution. I am sorry that it was not a product you sell, though you may in the future, but will certainly look first to HCS for other products.

Thank you so much to Lee for first class customer service.

Christine G, Sheffield

VAT Relief Information

Conditions for VAT relief for disabled people

Some of the products which can be purchased from the Hcsuk website are available for an eligible person to purchase without paying VAT on them. HM Revenue and Customs sets out the conditions when equipment for disabled people might be free of VAT and how to claim exemption from paying VAT on these products.

Products a can only be exempt from VAT when all the following conditions are met:

  1. The customer is eligible to purchase supplies at the zero rate
  2. The goods are for the personal or domestic use of the customer
  3. The goods and services are eligible to be supplied at the zero rate

A more detailed explanation of each of these conditions is given below, but you should visit the HM Revenue and Customs Website to fully understand the conditions

The product must be being purchased for someone who is chronically ill or disabled.

A person is ‘chronically sick or disabled’ if he/she is a person:

It does not include a frail elderly person who is otherwise able-bodied or any person who is only temporarily disabled or incapacitated, such as with a broken limb.

‘personal or domestic’ use means that the supply must be made available specifically for the use of an eligible individual.

You don’t have to physically buy the goods in person. If your parent, guardian or wife or husband buys the goods and services for you, then you won’t be charged VAT.

What counts as personal or domestic use?

Personal or domestic use means that the goods or services are supplied for your own private use, rather than for business purposes. Also, the goods or services must be just for your own use – not for use by anyone else, or chronically sick or disabled people in general. However, if you and your partner are both chronically sick or disabled and you buy goods or services for both of you to use, then you won’t have to pay VAT.

Products which are offered for sale on this website which qualify for VAT relief to be claimed for an eligible person.

The products which can be bought without paying VAT are:

Only the products on our site carrying the VAT exemption price (the smaller price marked ex VAT) are eligible to be purchased this way and you must tick the box on the basket page indicating that you wish to claim VAT exemption on the items in your basket that are eligible for VAT relief.

How to claim

On the my basket page of this website a link to the online declaration form is provided if the basket contains a product that qualifies for VAT relief. You must tick the box to state you wish to claim VAT relief on the eligible product and complete in full the reason by which you are ‘chronically sick or disabled’ and name and address of the claimant. If possible the person making the claim should complete this form, but a family member, carer or medical professional may complete the form on the claimants behalf. To submit the claim and receive the VAT relief, click the ‘Submit VAT Relief Claim’ button before proceeding to the checkout.

Please note that all orders submitted with a VAT relief claim form completed are checked before the order is processed.

It is necessary to complete a separate claim form each time a qualifying product is purchased from Hcsuk.


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