Trust board welcomes ‘innovation, fantastic performance and big strides in winter planning’
The board of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust today welcomed a series of reports detailing how its staff are continuing to provide high-quality care, alongside providing assurance on how they are preparing for winter.
Winter planning – preparation and planning
Winter is never very far away from people’s minds in the NHS and – while each season provides unique challenges – it is important to learn the lessons of previous years. Although the winter places a significant extra demand on services and staff, the trust is determined that residents in Northumberland and North Tyneside continue to receive the best possible care.
Helen Ray, chief operating officer at Northumbria Healthcare and operational lead for winter planning, said:
“Last winter our staff moved heaven and earth to ensure our patients got the care they deserve in some exceptionally hard conditions. Obviously, we hope to be less impacted this year – not least by the weather – but we aren’t taking it for granted.
“We were hit hard by both flu and norovirus so for 2018/19 we are taking what we learned and re-doubling our infection control efforts. Equally, we are putting in place robust mechanisms for handling surges in demand – for instance by re-configuring wards at our major sites.
“Perhaps most notably – from a public point of view – are the changes we’ve made to the A&E at The Northumbria (Cramlington) which has had us regularly competing to the very best in England and which we hope will enable us to ensure rapid treatment for those most in need.”
A caring environment
Patient experience remains a major priority for the trust and its most recent score of 98% ‘good’ or higher placed it among the best in the country. However, among the response from friends and family of patients it was acknowledged there remained more to do.
Annie Laverty, chief experience officer at Northumbria Healthcare, said:
“How patients are treated matters almost as much as the (medical) treatment they receive. Needless to say, we are delighted that patients rate us so highly but we are determined to get to the stage where their friends and families feel the same way – or better.
“Evidence consistently shows that if patients are shown compassion, treated with dignity and approached with respect their outcomes dramatically improve. This is only reinforced when their loved ones feel the same.
“Not only is it the right thing to do morally – it’s also the right thing to do clinically.”
Scaling up innovative care
Northumbria Healthcare’s HIP QIP programme – long recognised as setting the gold standard in hip fracture care – has now ‘scaled up’ to include six trusts nationally. The programme centres on the use of local anaesthetic nerve blocks but also includes features such as quicker access to surgery, early rehabilitation and specially appointed nutritional assistants to improve recovery times and –ultimately -reduce mortality rates.
It has the aim – now very close to fruition – of saving 100 lives.
Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at the trust, said:
“To scale up to six very diverse trusts is a huge achievement and a true testament to the determination of our clinicians to keep pushing for ever better outcomes for their patients.
“I know the team have big plans to take this project even further and cannot wait to see how far they get. I imagine saving 100 lives will only be the beginning.”
Summarising, chief executive Jim Mackey said:
“I am exceptionally proud of the efforts made each and every day by all of our staff. Their commitment to providing high-quality care – no matter what’s thrown at them – is inspiring.
“It is great to also see our trust supporting other NHS organisations across the country to improve the quality of the care they provide. This work is proving to save lives and the more collaboration across hospitals that can take place the better.
“There’s work still to do – most notably around cancer care – but we are well on our way.”
Elliot Nichols – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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