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Healthcare leader heads to the frontline with community staff

Thursday, 10 July, 2014
Healthcare leader heads to the frontline with community staff

The chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has swapped the boardroom for the frontline in a series of visits with community nursing and social care teams.

Throughout January, chief executive Jim Mackey has been out and about shadowing community healthcare teams across Northumberland and North Tyneside to meet patients and staff and understand more about daily life on the frontline.

The Trust employs around 3,000 community based staff across one of the largest geographical areas in the country.  During the visits Jim has spent time in Bedlington with district nurses, as well as the ‘short term support team’ which is provided in partnership with Northumberland County Council to offer care and rehabilitation support for elderly people in their own homes.

Jim also visited health trainers from the Trust’s ‘weight management service’ and attended a ‘New Year, New You’ health improvement session in Ashington where staff work with families and young people to encourage a healthy balanced lifestyle.

During his final session in Blyth today, he went on a home visit with health visitor Jo-Anne Parry who is based at Blyth Health Centre. Health visitors are qualified nurses or midwives who have further specialist training in family and community health.

Carrying out regular health and development assessments from the ante-natal period to five years old, health visitors provide support for parents through working in partnership with other agencies such as children’s services, education, children’s centres and voluntary services.

Commenting on the visits, Jim said: “Our community teams do a truly fantastic job helping to care and support patients in their own homes.  I wanted to spend this important time on the frontline to understand exactly what their daily pressures are and where we can further improve services.

“I have seen first-hand many examples of exceptional care over the past few weeks and I would like to thank each and every one of our community staff for their continued hard work and dedication.

“My priority is to make sure all of our services, from the moment someone is admitted to one of our hospitals, to the point where they are ready to go home with the right care and support, are as streamlined and integrated as possible so that patients have real continuity in their care.

“I am immensely proud of both our hospital and community based teams, who always go the extra mile to put their patients first and make sure they are well looked after, even in the most challenging of circumstances like the weather we’ve seen recently.”

Health Visitor Area Lead for Blyth Valley Rachel Rispin said: “I think it is great that the chief executive has taken the time to come and shadow our work on the frontline and see how we care for families in their own homes and also some of the challenges we face on a daily basis.

“It shows how committed the organisation is to making sure community services, as well as hospital services, are the best possible quality to service users.”  

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust took over the management of community services across Northumberland and North Tyneside in April 2011.  In the Trust’s most recent patient satisfaction survey, over 97% of patients found district nursing staff friendly and welcoming with 98% feeling they were treated with dignity and respect.