Clinical coders turn litter pickers at hospital site
A group of NHS staff have launched their own clean-up crew at the Northumberland hospital where they work – and hope their actions remind staff and visitors not to drop litter.
Anyone who works at or has attended the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) at Cramlington in the past six weeks or so may have seen some litter-pickers out and about on the site.
Those taking part are Lisa Hanson, Kelly Rutherford, Lindsey Green, Patricia Wasley, Lesley Playle and Sharon Smith, pictured above, who work in Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s clinical coding team – and are tidying up the grounds off their own backs.
The initiative was launched by Lisa, who joined a litter-picking group in her hometown of Seghill earlier this year, and decided to start collecting rubbish on her walk to work. This led her to notice the litter on the NSECH site, particularly masks – unsurprising given the massive increase in use since the pandemic hit.
“Instead of moaning about it, I thought, why not do something about it?” she said. “The first time I went out on my lunchbreak, it was just me, then a couple of the girls joined me on the second day and then I contacted the Estates team and they provided equipment for us all as part of World Earth Day on April 22.
“Once we got out and started picking, we realised how much there was. We’ve been doing it for a number of weeks now and it’s clear that it’s staff who are dropping litter, not just the public, so I hope this makes them more aware of what they’re doing.
“Everyone’s really enjoying it. It sounds strange but from a mental-health perspective, it feels like you’re doing something useful and taking a break in the fresh air feels good as well.
“We’ve had a lot of people thanking us as well, which is nice and quite a surprise.”
The team’s manager, Steven Henderson, added: “They all just get on with it and do in their own time, on lunchbreaks, so I’m definitely proud of them.”
Clinical coders extract often complex information about a patient’s stay in hospital, from various different sources, and create a summary of everything that’s relevant in a coded format, which is internationally standardised.
This information is used to generate Trust income and for clinical audit, consultant appraisal/revalidation, clinical governance, performance management and data quality.
Ben O’Connell, media and communications officer
Benjamin.O’Connell@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk or 07833 046680.