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Key work starts at The Northumbria to boost patient experience… and get ambulances back on the road faster

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust today announced the start of works at The Northumbria hospital to improve both patient experience and operational efficiency. The move, part of the trust’s winter preparations, comes as a result of listening to what both the public and front line staff have said.

The Northumbria hospital is the region’s largest A&E department and since opening has seen an ever increasing number of patients needing its services. This has meant that ambulances have sometimes struggled to hand over patients within 15 minutes (the national target). These modifications follow on from measures taken last year which have already helped boost performance:

  • Clinical advice lines for paramedics to call ahead and speak to consultants and senior triage staff on arrival,
  • Ensuring ambulance crews are aware of when patients could be taken directly to urgent care centres at Wansbeck, Hexham and North Tyneside hospitals,
  • Providing direct access for paramedics to admit patients directly to certain departments within The Northumbria.

Listening to residents and staff

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We take public and staff feedback very seriously and we’re always willing to try new ways of doing things if it means we provide a better level of service.

“We’ve listened, and then acted on what we’ve been told.”

The modifications – primarily affecting the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) patient arrival bays – will start almost immediately. The aims: to improve patient privacy and dignity on arrival and to enable ambulances (and their highly trained crews) to get back out on the road; where they can do the most good.

“It is an exciting time at The Northumbria,” continued Dr Rushmer. “We are adding eight patient arrival bays to our existing ones and now are taking a big step forward in terms of patient privacy and dignity. Moreover, turning around ambulances faster is obviously everyone’s best interest.

“We won’t be resting on our laurels though – we fully expect this winter to be hard and are determined to be ready for it.”

Golden seal of approval for breastfeeding in Northumberland

Support to encourage women in Northumberland to breastfeed has been given a prestigious national award.

Help and advice provided to families in the community across the county has been given the Unicef Baby Friendly Gold Award – the first award nationally for support provided outside of hospitals.

The gold award – the highest level available – endorses the care women, babies and families receive from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in relation to infant feeding before and following the birth of a baby.  

This includes advice from health visitors, nursery nurses and breastfeeding support workers who provide intensive support to women from just after they have given birth until, at least, the baby is six weeks old.

These are complemented by breastfeeding support volunteers who provide support over the telephone, and help to run groups in the community and on social media, the latter having proved extremely popular with around 500 members sharing their experiences of, and top tips for, breastfeeding.

A dedicated website provides information about local groups and events and a range of resources. 

The baby friendly accreditation is designed to provide parents with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their baby and to feed their baby in ways which will support optimum health and development.

Debbie Wade, midwife/health visitor infant feeding co-ordinator at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We are delighted to be the first trust in the country to receive this prestigious award for the support we provide in the community.

“The simple fact is that breast milk is best for baby and breastfeeding and being breastfed have major health benefits for women and babies. It reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer for women and reduces the risk of gastroenteritis, ear and chest infections in babies and has a life-long effect on the health of their heart.

“In Northumberland we’re passionate about doing all we can to encourage women to breastfeed, giving them the practical and emotional support they need to feel able, confident and comfortable to breastfeed.

“The support we give is having a real impact on women with 17 per cent more women breastfeeding at six weeks after they’re given birth, and beyond, when they receive this type of additional support.

“We’re extremely pleased with the many positive comments from women about the support we give and this award will act as a springboard for us to continue our efforts to increase the number of women breastfeeding yet further.”

Councillor Veronica Jones, cabinet member with responsibility for public health, said; “Northumberland County Council is delighted to support Northumbria Healthcare and its breastfeeding service which has gained a UNICEF Gold Award.

“This award demonstrates the dedication and high level of service the breastfeeding peer support network offers mothers and their children throughout their breastfeeding journey.

“As a council we are fully committed to giving children the best start in life and have been investing in additional support for breastfeeding through our 0-19 public health services. There is strong evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child and we are proud to be a breastfeeding-friendly council in which all staff and council users are welcomed and encouraged to breastfeed in a comfortable environment.”

For further information about breastfeeding friendly locations across Northumberland, download the free Feed Finder App and for information throughout pregnancy and beyond, download the Baby Buddy App. 

Northumbria marches towards ‘smokefree’ status

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is marching towards becoming ‘smokefree’ from the end of next March.

As part of its commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of its staff, patients and visitors, smoking will not be permitted in any of the trust’s hospitals, community sites or grounds across Northumberland and North Tyneside from 31 March 2018.

The step will help protect people from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke and by providing support to help smokers quit, play a part in reducing the number of people who smoke and the serious illnesses associated with smoking.

Despite declines in smoking prevalence over recent decades, 17.2% of adults in the North East still smoke and tobacco use remains the single largest cause of health inequalities and premature death.

200 deaths every day in England are as a result of smoking-related illnesses and, for every death caused by smoking, approximately 20 smokers are suffering from smoking-related disease.

The pledge is supported by the directors of public health in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Judith Stonebridge, public health consultant at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to take this opportunity to remind residents in Northumberland and North Tyneside of our intention to go ‘smokefree’ from 31 March 2018.

“With less than six months to go, it’s important that all our patients, visitors and staff are aware of our plans and the support that is available to smokers to help them to quit.

“We have, as one of this area’s largest employers and the country’s leading trusts, an important regional role to help reduce the number of smokers and, in turn, the serious illnesses related to smoking.

“Going ‘smokefree’ will mean a much more pleasant, and above all, safer environment for everyone who uses, or works in, our services and bring about improvements in health. It also sends a clear message to our communities of the need for people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.”

Since launching the plans in March, the trust has been engaging with staff and setting up training to ensure that they act as ‘smokefree’ ambassadors and every opportunity is used to promote stopping smoking to patients. The trust has also held ‘smokefree’ roadshows across its hospital sites to raise awareness and as a result of this work some staff have already taken the opportunity to access support to help them stop smoking.

A key part of the trust’s work in the run-up to going ‘smokefree’ is providing stop smoking support to pregnant women in order to help give every child the best start in life, given smoking during pregnancy is associated with a range of negative health outcomes for mother and baby. Currently 16.7% of pregnant women in the North East are reported to be smokers when they give birth.

Liz Morgan, interim director of public health at Northumberland County Council, said: “The harmful effects of smoking are well documented and about half of all long-term smokers will die prematurely. There is no place for smoking in the NHS so I’m delighted that Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is taking this progressive step by becoming ‘smokefree’.”

Wendy Burke, director of public health at North Tyneside Council, said: “I am in full support of the trust’s comprehensive plans to become truly tobacco free, not only focussing on smokefree grounds but also supporting staff, patients and visitors to address nicotine dependency across the organisation.

“I look forward to the continued partnership between the council, trust and clinical commissioning group as we work together to promote a smokefree North Tyneside and improve health and wellbeing for the population.”

If you live in Northumberland, contact Northumberland NHS Stop Smoking Service on 01670 813135 or visit for information on stopping smoking.

People living in North Tyneside can call 0191 643 7171 or visit for details of community pharmacies and GP surgeries which provide stop smoking services.

Palliative Care Northumbria recognised with national award

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s palliative and end of life care service has been recognised with a national award.

Palliative Care Northumbria won the team category of the Kate Granger Awards for Compassionate Care at the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2017 in Manchester.

The service, which supports patients and their families in Northumberland and North Tyneside, was recognised for creatively and innovatively leading change to improve patient outcomes.

The award judges noted that staff go out of their way to provide compassionate care and praised the fantastic feedback received from patients and their families about the service.

Dr Eleanor Grogan, head of Northumbria’s Palliative Care service, said: “This award is a testament to the fantastic commitment and dedication shown by staff across the service and we feel proud and honoured to be recognised in this way.”

The service bring together a range of specialist palliative care teams into an integrated service, to provide patients with seamless care in the right place, at the right time and in the right location. Support is provided at home, in hospitals including specialist palliative care units, in care homes, and day hospices.

The service includes a range of palliative care professionals, including an innovative partnership with Marie Curie – Marie Curie @ Northumbria; and a range of Macmillan health and social care professionals.

The Kate Granger Awards for Compassionate Care are given to individuals, teams and organisations who demonstrate outstanding care for their patients.

The awards were set up by Dr Granger, who worked tirelessly to raise awareness around compassion in the NHS through her #hellomynameis social media campaign which is supported by Northumbria Healthcare.

Northumbria shares emergency care story to celebrate golden anniversary

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is this week sharing its unique emergency care story to help celebrate 50 years of emergency medicine nationally.

The trust, widely seen as being at the forefront of emergency care in the NHS, is looking back on its developments and the key milestones which led to the transformation of urgent and emergency care and opening of The Northumbria hospital in 2015.

In less than 20 years, Northumbria Healthcare has gone from appointing its first specialist consultant in emergency medicine to having the country’s first hospital dedicated to emergency care.

Recognised as leading the way nationally, Northumbria’s team of 24 specialists provide seven-day consultant-led emergency care across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

With senior clinical decision-making 24/7 and round-the-clock access to diagnostics, patients who are seriously ill or injured benefit from improved outcomes and experience. 

The trust is sharing its story online and encouraging people in Northumberland and North Tyneside to follow Northumbria on social media.

From 9-13 October, The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is marking the 50 anniversary of the inception of emergency medicine.

Dr James McFetrich, consultant in emergency medicine and associate head of service of emergency care at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We’re delighted to help mark 50 years of emergency medicine nationally and take this opportunity to celebrate the great progress we’ve made here in Northumbria.

“From taking on our first specialist emergency care consultant in 1997 to embarking on a new era of emergency care led seven days a week by consultants in 2015, it’s remarkable what we have achieved in less than two decades.  

“Our position now at the cutting edge of the NHS is testament to our clinicians who had the vision to transform emergency care and bring about significant improvements in the treatment we provide to our patients who are seriously ill or injured.

“As we look back, we also look forward and continue our efforts to further improve the care we provide and make sure our patients have the best possible experience, and ensure we remain at the forefront.

“While the focus is on emergency care, we must also acknowledge the challenges it faces, especially over winter, and must all play our part in using services wisely to ensure that emergency services are kept free for those who need them most.”

Dr Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “We’re so grateful to Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust for their support. The specialty has come a long way in 50 years and the Trust’s emergency care hospital will be at the forefront of the next 50.”

Health secretary visits Hexham hospital

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Hexham General Hospital last week to hear about work to further improve patient safety and quality of care.

Mr Hunt met staff and learnt about the range of initiatives in place as part of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s continuous focus on quality improvement and openness and transparency.

Known as the ‘Northumbria Way’, the trust places great emphasis on listening to the views of patients and staff and creating a culture which encourages the reporting of all incidents. As a result, the trust is seen as one of the most open and transparent organisations in the whole NHS.

Mr Hunt held a question and answer session with staff and also met Northumbria’s ‘freedom to speak up guardian’ Kirsty Dickson – an independent role set up nationally to support staff at NHS trusts to raise genuine concerns safely and freely – and chairman Alan Richardson.

The visit was part of a tour of trusts in the North East, where Mr Hunt talked about the need to have the right number of doctors and nurses to improve patient care. He also outlined the need for transparency, openness and sharing of information and best practice between trusts across the country.

Mr Hunt was accompanied by Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHS Improvement, who is to return to Northumbria Healthcare as its chief executive in November, and Dr Mike Durkin, who recently retired from his role as National Director of Patient Safety at NHS Improvement.

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt said: “It was fantastic to meet staff at Hexham General Hospital and hear about the innovative work taking place to improve patient safety and care. In particular, the Northumbria Way initiative is an outstanding example of openness and transparency, that has enabled the trust to create a culture that others can learn from.”

Alan Richardson, chairman of Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State for Health to Hexham General Hospital to meet members of our staff.

“In all that we do we are committed to improving patient safety and the quality of the care we deliver and we were extremely pleased to be able to share with him what we are doing, such as our work to raise awareness, and timely treatment, of sepsis.

“We are extremely proud of the culture we have embedded over many years to ensure our staff feel confident and supported to raise concerns, with Kirsty’s appointment as ‘freedom to speak up guardian’ only strengthening this over the last year.”

24-hour urgent care to return to Northumberland

Urgent care centres in Northumberland are to reopen overnight from next month, health leaders have announced.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s urgent care centres at Hexham and Wansbeck general hospitals will return to 24-hour opening from Monday 30 October.

The news, which has been welcomed by MPs in Northumberland, brings to an end the temporary arrangements which saw revised opening hours of 8am to midnight in place since December 2016.

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Like the rest of the NHS, we are once again preparing for an extremely busy time this winter and fully endorse the NHS recommendation to call 111 before visiting any of our urgent care centres or our emergency department.

Calling 111, which is free and available 24/7, is the best way to get the treatment you need in the quickest way and will also include access to urgent GP appointments this winter. 

“It is vital that The Northumbria hospital in Cramlington is kept free for serious emergencies only and we have worked hard to re-open our urgent care centres overnight for conditions which are not life-threatening but need an urgent response. We hope this news will be welcomed by patients.”

Northumbria NHS ‘heroes’ celebrated at awards

Dedicated NHS ‘heroes’ have been celebrated for their commitment to deliver high quality patient care in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospital and community health services in the areas, held its 2017 Building a Caring Future staff awards on Friday 8 September.

This year – despite increasing demand on services – has been yet another successful one for Northumbria with the trust once again being recognised for delivering high standards of care and a top quality patient experience.

The sponsored annual awards, held for the fifth time this year, attracted more than 220 nominations with 12 awards presented on the night.

The categories, which included patients first, safe and high quality care and respect and compassion, represent the breadth and quality of services provided by the trust.

David Evans, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, presented the awards.

He said: “It is with a great sense of pride that I present this year’s staff awards and celebrate the fantastic efforts of our dedicated staff.

“To hear the many examples of our staff going above and beyond to provide the best care for our patients in a variety of settings across Northumberland and North Tyneside is immensely humbling.

“In these challenging times for the NHS, it is so important that we take time to reflect and pay tribute to our wonderful staff.

“I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate colleagues, all the nominees and all the winners. I’d also like to thank all the sponsors for their generous support – without it, this event would not have happened.”

The award winners are as follows:

Patients first award – Melanie Jewitt

The first award of the evening was presented to Melanie Jewitt, an activities and wellbeing co-ordinator at Hexham General Hospital, for ‘going out of her way’ to organise events to keep patients’ spirits up.

Safe and high quality care award – Anna Robinson

Pharmacist Anna Robinson was the recipient of this award. Described as a ‘great ambassador’ for the profession, she works as part of the ‘vanguard’ team which helps ensures patients are taking the most appropriate medicines in hospital and the community.

Innovation and quality improvement award – respiratory services team

This award was given to the respiratory services team for setting up a ‘hospital at home’ service which enables patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) experiencing sudden worsening symptoms to have specialist care, traditionally delivered in hospital, at home.

Partnership working award – bed management team

The team which ensures that patients who need to be admitted to one of the trust’s hospitals are cared for in the most appropriate place was the winner of the partnership working award. Liaising closely with teams across the trust and other organisations such as councils, GPs, and the ambulance service, the team plays a key role in patient flow.

Everyone’s contribution counts – emergency preparedness team

This award went to the emergency preparedness team which supports teams across the trust to be prepared and respond to a range of disruptions and emergencies.

Personal development – Rebecca Morton

Rebecca Morton’s ‘desire for further learning’ led to her winning the personal development award. Rebecca, who works as an administration assistant at Berwick Infirmary, has completed a foundation degree and is now studying for a BA honours degree. She was involved in setting up Berwick Bookers which helps to enable local people have their appointments locally.

Volunteer of the year award – Belinda Basford

This award went to Belinda Basford who supports patients recovering from the effects of alcohol. Having overcome problems of her own, Belinda uses her experiences to put patients at ease with a few kind words and gives them the time they need to talk.

Respect and compassion award – Philomena Hollinghurst

Specialist nurse practitioner Philomena Hollinghurst won this award for her work helping elderly patients in the frailty assessment service at The Northumbria hospital. Described as a ‘vital cog’ in the team, she always treats patients with respect and demonstrates positivity and compassion in all that she does. 

Unsung hero – Nicky Asbury

This award was given to the late Nicky Asbury, consultant clinical psychologist, who was the founder member of the cancer health psychology team. Nicky, who died last year following a brief illness, was an ‘exceptional person’ and ‘natural leader’ and was dedicated to improving the emotional support provided to patients who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Rosemary Stephenson nurse, midwife or nursing assistant of the year award – Jan Meechan

Specialist HIV nurse Jan Meechan was the recipient of this award – in honour of the trust’s former director of nursing. Jan provides care in clinics and in people’s own homes for this potentially vulnerable group of patients, supporting them to manage their condition and empowering them to live well. 

Inspiring wellbeing – Roy Young

Roy Young won the inspiring wellbeing award for setting up, leading and encouraging a staff running group at County Hall, Morpeth. The group has led to improved fitness and wellbeing, weight loss and reduced stress.

Chief executive making a difference award – Paul Brayson

The final award of the evening was presented to Paul Brayson for many years’ work in estates leading new hospital builds. This has helped Northumbria Healthcare to be at the forefront of the NHS, most notably with the country’s first hospital dedicated to emergency care – The Northumbria – which opened in 2015.

The awards were the last presented by David Evans before he retires in the autumn. Jim Mackey, currently on secondment as chief executive of NHS Improvement, will return as chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare in November.

The main sponsor for the event was Proton Partners International which is due to open a cancer centre in Northumberland next summer, known as The Rutherford Cancer Centre North East. There were 12 others sponsors.  

Northumbria to deliver North East immunisation programme

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is to deliver immunisations to children and young people in schools across the North East, in partnership with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.

Specialist nurses from the trusts will deliver the national immunisation programme in more than 600 schools in Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland from October.

Drawing on many years’ experience providing the service in Northumberland and North Tyneside, Northumbria Healthcare was awarded the contract to deliver the service across the North East for children aged four to 18.

Northumbria nurses will carry out the service in Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle with South Tyneside trust covering schools in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

The national immunisation programme aims to give children the best protection against a range of infections and diseases, ensuring that they are protected from infancy, through their teenage years and on to adulthood.

It includes the annual flu vaccination for children in reception and years one to four, the HPV vaccine for girls aged 12-13 to protect against cervical cancer and the ‘three in one’ teenage booster for diphtheria, tetanus and polio. Every year it will involve over 100,000 children and young people.

The team will work in partnership with Public Health England, schools (including state, independent and special schools) and pupil referral units as well as home-educated children and traveller families, GPs, the 0-19 community services and looked-after children’s teams to deliver the service.

‘Catch up’ clinics will be held for those children who are absent from school when the vaccinations were delivered.

Dr Jonny Cardwell, consultant paediatrician and business unit director for child health at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The national immunisation programme is a vital part of safeguarding the long-term health of our population, ensuring children and young people across the North East are vaccinated against a range of infections and diseases.

“For many years we have delivered this service in Northumberland and North Tyneside and we are delighted that we can use that experience to roll this service out across the region, in partnership with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, to benefit children and young people further afield.

“We fully appreciate that having a vaccination can be a stressful experience for young people, particularly young children, and our teams of specialist nurses are highly-trained in this area to ensure that it is as stress-free as possible.

“Parents and carers of children and young people will be receiving the information about the vaccination from their school over the next few weeks.”

Irene Stables, divisional director – community services at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re delighted that our experienced and committed teams of healthcare professionals will continue to provide this important public health service for children and young people across Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

“Working together with our colleagues in Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, it’s an exciting opportunity for us to maintain and increase immunisation rates across the North East.”

Professor Chris Gray, medical director at NHS England Cumbria and the North East, said: “The single best way to help protect children, and the rest of the family, is to get them vaccinated. Flu especially can be much more dangerous for children than many parents realise, and when children get flu, they tend to spread it around the whole family.

“It’s great news that children in these schools across the North East are to benefit from the care that specialist nurses deliver as part of the national immunisation programme.

“Happy, healthy children are much more likely to achieve their full potential, and where better to start than in school.”

Northumbria partnership with Tanzania in running for national award

A longstanding international partnership with a North East health trust and a hospital in Tanzania has been shortlisted for a national award for transforming healthcare.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is in the running for a Health Service Journal (HSJ) award for making a difference to health outcomes in Tanzania.

For almost 20 years, the trust has worked in partnership with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania to provide training and support to teams.

This has led to the introduction of new services such as laparoscopic (key-hole) surgery, the country’s first dedicated burns unit and an outreach ultrasound service for rural areas which have revolutionised patient care.

Overall, the partnership has trained more than 4,000 healthcare professionals which has included developing Tanzania’s only BSc physiotherapy course, an accredited short course in ultrasound and setting up an exchange programme which has seen more than 50 medical students learn valuable skills by carrying out placements in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

Northumbria Healthcare is at the forefront of work and is recognised across the NHS for developing international links. Volunteer teams from the trust give up their time to visit Tanzania, supported by Northumbria’s Bright charity.

Prof Richard Walker, consultant physician and director of research at Northumbria Healthcare, has been involved in the partnership since its inception in 1999.

He said: “This award nomination is the culmination of almost 20 years’ partnership working with KCMC and we are delighted that this has been recognised nationally.

“We have overcome immense challenges along the way and it would not have been possible without the continued dedication of our staff who have given up their own time to support their colleagues in Tanzania.

“Everything we have managed to achieve – from the introduction of laparoscopic surgery to improving training for physiotherapists – has had a major impact on health outcomes and enhanced the lives of patients and their families and we look forward to the awards being announced.”

Dr Gileard Masenga, executive director at KCMC, said: “Our hearts are full of joy at KCMC to learn that our work with Northumbria Healthcare has been recognised in this way.

“This strong partnership has greatly improved health services for the north of Tanzania and we look forward to continuing our close working partnership for many years to come.”

Setting up laparoscopic surgery in Tanzania – a type of procedure which is common-place in the UK – has reduced patients’ length of stay in hospital, resulting in less overcrowding on wards and decreased the risk of infection.

The dedicated burns unit means people, often mothers and young children, can receive life-saving care, in an area of the country where people cook on open fires.

The multi award-winning partnership was the focus of a behind-the-scenes documentary last year, premiered at the Global Health Film Festival in London, which followed the team as they performed Tanzania’s first laparoscopic day-case operation – where the patient has the procedure and goes home the same day.

Northumbria Healthcare is shortlisted in the international partnership award category. The HSJ awards recognise, celebrate and promote the finest achievements in the NHS and will be held in London on 22 November.

Palliative care service shortlisted for a national award

A palliative and end of life care service in Northumberland and North Tyneside has been shortlisted for a national award. 

Palliative Care Northumbria has been selected as a finalist in the team award category of the Kate Granger Awards for Compassionate Care.

The service, which is delivered by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, supports patients and their families at home, in hospitals including specialist palliative care units, in care homes, and day hospices.

Dr Eleanor Grogan, head of Northumbria’s Palliative Care service, said: “We are very proud to be shortlisted for this award which celebrates teams who have made a fantastic difference to patient care.

“This recognition is a testament to the dedication of all the staff across our palliative care service who are passionate about providing high quality care and support to patients and their families.”

The service bring together a range of specialist palliative care teams into an integrated service, to provide patients with seamless care in the right place, at the right time and in the right location.

Staff include specialist palliative care nurses, a palliative care modern matron, palliative care consultants, occupational therapists, social workers, information specialists and nursing assistants.

The service includes an innovative partnership with Marie Curie – Marie Curie @ Northumbria – and a range of Macmillan Cancer Support funded healthcare professionals, social workers and occupational therapists.

The Kate Granger Awards for Compassionate Care are given to individuals, teams and organisations who demonstrate outstanding care for their patients.

The awards were set up by Dr Granger, who worked tirelessly to raise awareness around compassion in the NHS through her #hellomynameis social media campaign which is supported by Northumbria Healthcare.

The Kate Granger Awards will be presented at the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2017 in Manchester in September.

Northumbria urges people to talk about organ donation

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging people in Northumberland and North Tyneside to talk to their families about organ donation as part of their end of life care wishes.

To mark Organ Donation Week which runs until Sunday 10 September, the trust is urging people to tell their families they want to become donors to ensure more life-saving transplants can take place.

Figures released by NHS Blood and Transplant this week show 275 people in the North East have died waiting for an organ transplant over the past 10 years.

This means that hundreds of life-saving transplants are being missed every year because families do not know what their relative wanted. Left to make the decision for someone they love, families often decide it is safer to say no.

The reluctance to talk about the issue is contributing to a deadly shortage of organs. In the North East, there are currently 264 people waiting for a transplant. They will only receive that life-changing call if people make sure their families know they want to be a donor.

In 2016/17, 20 families of patients at Northumbria Healthcare consented to organ donation – the most at the trust in any year.

Tracey Carrott, specialist nurse in organ donation at NHS Blood and Transplant, based at Northumbria Healthcare, said that while this shows there is a greater awareness of organ donation, there is still more that can be done.

Tracey said: “To have 20 families consenting to organ donation last year is excellent and when you consider each donation has the potential to save up to nine lives – it brings home the scale of this. When you think that we had one family consenting to organ donation in 2010, it really does show how far we’ve come in the last seven years.

“Whereas nowadays many people are more aware of their relatives’ end of life care wishes, there are still many families who do not have that conversation and simply do not know what to do when that time comes.

“While we’ve made great strides in this area in recent years, we’re pleased to support this year’s Organ Donation Week and encourage people to make their family aware of their views.”

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in the North East waiting for transplants.

“We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.

“This Organ Donation Week, tell your family you want to save lives. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference. It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.

“If you want to save lives, don’t leave it too late to talk to your family. In the North East there are more than 920,000 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register. However if you want to be a donor, your family’s support is still needed for donation to go ahead.

“If you are unsure about donation, please ask yourselves as a family; what would you do if one of you needed a transplant?  Would you accept a life-saving organ? If you’d take an organ, shouldn’t you be prepared to donate?”

NHS Blood and Transplant surveys show more than 80% of people support organ donation but only around 49% of people have ever talked about it. Research shows that women are 30% more likely to start a conversation about organ donation than men.

Families who agree to donate say it helps with their grief and that they feel enormous sense of pride at knowing their relative gave others the chance of a new beginning.

NHS Blood and Transplant wants everyone in the North East to be able to save lives through organ donation and not be prevented from doing so because they have not told a relative their decision.

For more information about organ donation, visit

‘Outstanding’ hospital to host nursing and midwifery open event

Registered nurses and midwives interested in a career with one of the North East’s ‘outstanding’ NHS foundation trusts are being invited to meet staff at a recruitment open event at The Northumbria hospital.

The wide range of nursing and midwifery opportunities available at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will be showcased on Saturday 16 September from 9am until 11am, with senior nurses and midwives on hand to chat about careers.

Earlier this year, Northumbria Healthcare was rated as the best NHS employer in England for providing equal opportunities to staff for career progression and promotion, according to results of the 2016 NHS Staff Survey, with 95 per cent of staff praising the opportunities available.

A range of nursing and midwifery roles are available, not only at The Northumbria – the UK’s first purpose-built hospital dedicated to emergency care – but across the trust in general and community hospitals and in the community in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

These cover a wide range of specialities including:

·         acute medicine

·         acute elderly care and rehabilitation

·         child and adolescent mental health

·         children’s nursing

·         community nursing

·         critical care

·         emergency department (A&E)

·         midwifery

·         oncology

·         orthopaedics

·         palliative care

·         respiratory medicine

·         stroke

·         surgery

As one of only a handful of trusts rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2016, Northumbria Healthcare is recognised nationally for delivering the highest standards of patient care in hospital and in the community with over 11,000 staff caring for patients.

The trust is keen to attract people at any stage of their nursing or midwifery career from newly-qualified to highly-experienced and offers opportunities for people to return to the profession.

All nurses and midwives are fully supported with newly-qualified staff benefitting from one of the most extensive ‘preceptorship’ programmes in the NHS during their first year.

Since opening in June 2015, The Northumbria has transformed emergency care in Northumberland and North Tyneside by having specialist consultant-led care seven day a week

At the forefront of the NHS, this model of care has not only resulted in fewer emergency admissions but also ensured patients spend less time in hospital and experience the best possible care with improved clinical outcomes.

Elaine Henderson, interim deputy director of nursing at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We’re really proud of the opportunities we offer to our nurses and midwives. As a hugely diverse trust caring for people in hospitals and in the community in both urban and rural areas, we can give people at any stage of their career a rewarding and varied role.

“We’re passionate about nurturing and developing our staff, supporting them every step of the way to progress and build a fulfilling career with us.

“We’d encourage any nurse or midwife who’s interested in joining us to come along to The Northumbria on Saturday 16 September to meet our team and find out about the opportunities we have available across our trust, and the support we provide to our staff.”

If you are a registered nurse or midwife and you would be interested in attending the event, please click here to register.

Tour of Britain – advice for patients and visitors

The Tour of Britain Stage 2 is coming to Northumberland on Monday 4 September 2017.

The race – which starts at Kielder Water and finishes in Blyth – will be passing close to a number of our sites.

Access will be maintained at all times and services will operate as normal however people wishing to access these sites should be aware of the following:

Rothbury Community Hospital: rolling road closures 11am-12.30pm.

Alnwick Infirmary: roads in the town centre will be closed 10.30am-3.30pm. Access to the hospital from the south is unaffected.

Morpeth NHS Centre/Whalton Unit: rolling road closures in the town centre 2pm-3.30pm.

Blyth Community Hospital: there will be a diversion 1pm-4.30pm with access via Regent Street/Wright Street and vehicular access to the rear of the hospital. There will be rolling road closures in other areas of the town 2.30pm-4pm.

These areas will be busy and we’re encouraging people attending either these sites for a planned appointment, minor injuries or visiting a loved one to allow extra time for their journey, consider using public transport and use alternative routes where appropriate.

For full route information including maps detailing the road closures and estimated arrival times of the race, plus information about events going on along the route, visit here

Information is also available on the organiser’s website, click here.

Outstanding service helping people regain their independence

The quality of a short-term care and support service in Berwick has been rated as Outstanding by the independent regulator of health and social care services in England.

North Locality Homecare (Berwick), provided by Northumberland County Council, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure the service meets quality and safety standards.

In a report published this week, the services have been rated as Outstanding.

The Berwick-based service provides short-term care and support to people in their own homes, often following a recent illness, hospital discharge or to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

It is part of the Short Term Support Service (STSS) which is managed in partnership with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Northumberland County Council leader, Peter Jackson said: “We welcome this report which highlights that the service is flexible and responsive to people’s individual needs and preferences, and staff are highly motivated and caring.”

The report praised the service’s joined up approach to providing holistic care that met people’s needs. Inspectors noted that people using the service and their families described it as ‘Excellent’, ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Exceptional’.

The report highlighted that:

·         People, relatives and health and social care professionals said staff were exceptional in enabling people to remain independent

·         People and relatives were extremely positive about the caring nature of staff

·         Staff used inclusive ways of involving people so they felt consulted, listened to and valued.

Northumberland County Councillor Veronica Jones, cabinet member for Adult Wellbeing and Health, said: “We know that sometimes people need a short period of help to get them back on their feet and I am delighted to see that this service is helping people to regain their independence so they can continue to live safely in their own homes.”

North Locality Homecare registered manager Sue Davison said: “This service provides support to people in their own homes and it is particularly pleasing to see that staff are committed to providing dignified and compassionate care and support.”

Debbie Westhead, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in the North, said:

“We found the quality of care provided at North Locality Homecare (Berwick) in Northumberland to be outstanding. 

“It was impressive to see how person centred the service was. People’s individual needs were really taken care of and this bespoke service reflected the changes taking place in their lives, confidence and abilities.

“The feedback we received from people using the service, as well as their relatives was overwhelmingly positive. Healthcare professionals in partner organisations, also told us how impressed they were with the responsiveness of the service to people’s needs.

“All the staff should be very proud of the care they are providing and I hope other providers look to their example of what outstanding care should look like.”

‘Exceptional’ service helping people with learning disabilities

The quality of community learning disabilities services in Northumberland and North Tyneside have been rated as Outstanding by the independent regulator of health and social care services in England.

The community mental health services for people with learning disabilities in Northumberland and North Tyneside, delivered by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, were inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure services meet quality and safety standards.

In a report published this week, the services have been rated as Outstanding.

The report praised the services for their innovative approach and person-centred culture. Inspectors noted that one carer said the service they received was ‘exceptional’ and another told them she did not know where she would be without them.

The report highlighted that:

·         The services ensured that patients’ emotional and social needs were valued and listened to and their needs were catered for.

·         Patients and their families spoke consistently highly of the service and staff.

·         Patients were empowered to identify, understand, and manage their health needs.

·         Staff use creative ways to overcome obstacles and ensure that patients had accessible information.

Janet Harrison, clinical lead nurse for the learning disability community nursing service in Northumberland, said: “We are delighted with the findings of this CQC inspection report which highlights that staff offer care that is kind and promotes people’s dignity, and relationships between staff and service users and their families are strong, caring, and supportive.”

Clare Arnold, clinical manager for the community learning disabilities team in North Tyneside said: “This report is welcome recognition of the excellent care provided by our highly professional and dedicated staff on a daily basis and we would like to thank them for the commitment they show every day.”

Dr Paul Lelliott, the Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (and CQC lead for mental health), said: “It is clear Northumbria Healthcare’s community learning disabilities services are providing a safe, effective and caring service and CQC are pleased to be able to rate the quality of these services as Outstanding.  

“We saw an holistic approach to all elements of people’s care. It starts with the assessment and planning of people’s care right through delivery to the time when the patient is discharged or makes the transition to other services. We found that people’s individual needs were central to every decision made.

“It is clear that staff that were proud to work at the trust. They spoke highly about the management and culture at the trust and this was clearly reflected in the positive things that people told us about these services.”

The services are delivered by two separate teams which work slightly differently in each county.

In Northumberland the learning disability community nursing service operates under a partnership arrangement between Northumbria Healthcare and Northumberland County Council, to provide an integrated service to adults with a learning disability who live in Northumberland. The service is made up of registered learning disability nurses and support workers.

In North Tyneside the community learning disabilities service for adults and young people includes behaviour assessment and treatment services, forensic support and a primary care liaison nursing service. The trust delivers community learning disability nursing, psychology, speech, and language therapy and occupational therapy.

The community learning disabilities service was not included in the trust-wide CQC inspection which took place in November 2015 with Northumbria Healthcare overall being rated ‘outstanding’ in May 2016.

Work gets underway on proposed GP practice move to hospital

Work is set to start at Rothbury Community Hospital next week to prepare for the proposed relocation of the village’s GP practice.

Alterations are to take place on the ground floor of the hospital run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to develop new purpose-built consultation rooms for The Rothbury Practice.

The work does not affect outpatient and community services currently provided within the hospital and there is no change to other areas.

The proposed GP practice move – put forward due to an increase in patient numbers meaning the existing Market Place premises are now inadequate ­– follows engagement with practice patients in December 2015 and January 2016.

It will mean improved accessibility to the ground floor clinical rooms and benefit patients by having an improved environment in a modern, purpose-built facility, closer integration between GPs and other healthcare professionals and parking.

Final approvals continue to progress for the proposed relocation however the practice hopes to move to its new premises in mid-December.

Dr Georgina Morgan, who is one of four GP partners at The Rothbury Practice, said: “Since we engaged with our patients about our proposed move to the village’s community hospital 18 months ago, we have been progressing our plans and the start of work next week will come as no surprise to our patients.

“While we continue to provide high quality treatment in our current location, the simple fact is that due to our increased patient numbers we have outgrown the premises and our limited access to ground floor clinical rooms needs addressing.

“Relocating to purpose-built accommodation in the community hospital will mean we can deliver care in an improved environment while presenting opportunities for greater integration with other healthcare teams.

“Staff at the practice are very much looking forward to moving to our new home, hopefully in mid-December, and the benefits it will bring for our patients.”

Dr Jane Weatherstone, associate medical director primary and community care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Having Rothbury’s GP practice located within the village’s community hospital will be great news for patients in the area.

“Not only will they have purpose-built treatment rooms and clinical space, it will pave the way for greater integration between GPs and other healthcare staff including community nurses and physiotherapists.

“Having teams based on one site will facilitate improved partnership working between professionals and lead to further joined-up care for patients.

“We look forward to welcoming the practice, hopefully at the end of the year.”

In February 2017, The Rothbury Practice joined Northumbria Primary Care, a pioneering partnership between Northumbria Healthcare and local GPs to provide professional support services to primary care. Click here to view the practice’s website.

The proposed move of The Rothbury Practice predates and is not linked to the provision of inpatient services at the hospital, the future of which has been subject to a public consultation led by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group.  A final decision on the outcome of the public consultation is awaited.

Spacious new home for Wansbeck oncology unit officially opened

A new unit which is benefitting patients receiving treatment for cancer has been officially opened at Wansbeck General Hospital.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s oncology day unit, which provides chemotherapy and supportive treatments, has a spacious new home providing the best possible environment for patients.

With two large treatment areas each accommodating six chairs, the unit provides much more room for patients, improving their privacy and dignity while still enabling social interaction.

The whole unit has been completely refurbished and purpose-designed not to look like a traditional hospital setting with everything from the furniture to the décor chosen with patients in mind.

Around £50,000 which was raised by patients past and present and their families was donated to the trust’s Bright Charity to create the perfect surroundings.

The new unit was made possible thanks to space being made available at Wansbeck hospital due to the separation of emergency and planned and on-going care with the opening of The Northumbria hospital in June 2015.

The unit was officially opened by Chris Johnson, former unit manager who was instrumental in efforts to move to the new premises and improve the environment for patients. Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery was also in attendance.

Chris, who retired at the end of last year, said: “I was truly honoured to return to Wansbeck hospital and officially open the new oncology unit.

“It was always our dream to provide treatment to our patients in a unit like this and it’s truly fantastic to have an environment where everything has been the designed specifically to improve their experiences.

“While we received positive feedback about the care we delivered in the former unit, we always acknowledged that the facilities could be enhanced and our patients would benefit from more space and everyone is so pleased with the end result.”

Ian said: “It is excellent to see Northumbria Healthcare continually invest in services at Wansbeck hospital and put the space freed up by the opening of The Northumbria hospital to good use.

“We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and it’s great news for patients and their families that this new unit is here.

“It’s clearly evident that so much thought has gone into creating the perfect environment from the treatment chairs to the pictures on the wall and it all makes such a huge difference to patients.

“I’d like to commend and congratulate everybody involved.”

Alongside the treatment space on the oncology unit, there is a reception area with tea and coffee making facilities and separate rooms to enable private consultations and other services such as cancer psychology and complementary therapies to take place.

Gillian Thorne, oncology nurse specialist and manager of the unit at Wansbeck hospital, said: “We’re delighted to be in our new unit and the surroundings are absolutely superb.

“It’s much more spacious than the former unit and means our patients have greater privacy when they’re receiving treatment which is so important.

“It has also given us the opportunity to provide dedicated areas for our psychology service and complementary therapies which all help to improve patients’ experiences.

“I’d like to thank every member of the team who have worked so hard to bring our dream to a reality and patients past and present and their families who have fund-raised and enabled us to now have this wonderful space.

“We’ve been blown away by the comments we’ve received with patients saying we’ve created a welcoming environment and really appreciate the little touches.”

The unit is one of five nurse-led facilities run by the trust ensuring patients receive treatment for cancer closer to home.

One of the rooms on the Wansbeck unit is dedicated to the cancer psychology service which is for patients and carers who are experiencing some form of psychological or emotional issue in relation to cancer, and has been furnished and decorated specifically with this purpose in mind.

While accessible from the unit, it is also separate from it, providing patients with a therapeutic space that is away from where they might have received medical treatment. The space is also used to hold the various patient groups the team run. 

Another side room is to be used for complementary therapies, which help alleviate the symptoms related to cancer and chemotherapy.

Other support services such as benefit and legal advice also make use of the oncology unit to provide a holistic service to patients.

Trust supports Northern PRIDE

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust was proud to have taken part in this year’s Northern Pride event.

Northern Pride took place on Newcastle Town Moor from 21 to 23 July and a range of trust services, including the integrated Sexual Health Service, North Tyneside Talking Therapies, and the Integrated Wellbeing Service, supported the event with stalls and information.

Ann Stringer, executive director of human resources and operational development, at Northumbria Healthcare said: “As a trust we are committed to promoting equality and celebrating difference and I was delighted that we were able to engage with so many people from the diverse LGBT community by participating in Pride again this year.”

In the last year, the trust has promoted equality and diversity in a range of ways including building a community role models network for people who identify as lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) or Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) to help improve access to healthcare and promote positive roles, and raising awareness of the Equality and Diversity support available for staff.

Patrick Price, general manager and trust equality and diversity lead and Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) champion said: “In addition to hosting our information stall at Pride we had staff in the Health Zone to provide information around sexual health, mental health and improving wellbeing and promoted our LGBT and BAME community role models programme in Northumberland at our Northumberland Community Culture stall.”

This year the trust was again placed in Stonewall’s 2017 Workplace Equality Index which lists the top 100 employers in the country. The trust first entered the top 100 in 2014.

The index takes into account organisations’ policy and practice, staff training, engagement and communication, data collection, supporting wellbeing of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and workplace equality. From 2016-2017 the Stonewall WEI will also assess organisations on transsexual specific issues.