Christmas message

Christmas has come round so quickly this year I can hardly believe it. I’m not sure that I’m as prepared as I would like to be, but I’m looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home with my family and good friends, and I’m being brave enough to tackle cooking a goose, which is a bit of a worry.

Christmas is a time for family and being with the people we love. Of course, working in the NHS means that it’s not always possible for all of us to have Christmas Day with our families as we need to also continue to care for patients and their families over the festive period.

Spending Christmas in hospital, or unwell at home, is not something that you ever forget, and I’m so

Lovely to start the day with breakfast with the chaplaincy team. An inspirational team – thank you for all you do for our patients & staff

grateful to everyone who will be at work supporting our patients to have the best Christmas that they can have. I know how much your care and compassion means to them and their families on a day when it’s especially hard to be unwell.

I wanted to say a special thank you to our Chaplains, who have such an important role to play in supporting staff, patients and families. I had breakfast on Thursday with them, and was really moved by their passion and dedication in trying to bring the spirit of Christmas and the festive season to our Newcastle Hospitals’ community.  Our Chaplains are there for all of us, everyday, so it was a pleasure to give them a pat on the back and share a bacon sandwich with them.

Whether you are working in our hospitals, supporting people in the community or spending time at home this year, I’d like to wish you the very best. I hope each and every one of us finds time at some point to relax and to have a very merry Christmas.

Flourish at Christmas

Last Friday was the culmination of our Flourish at Christmas campaign and we were utterly overwhelmed by the generous donations from all over the Trust. It was incredibly humbling to receive the selection boxes, toiletries, gifts and other essentials that staff have so kindly donated.

Cecelia McIntyre, senior sister in the transplant and retrieval service and Julia Lawton from Newcastle East Foodbank

Clinical and corporate teams delivered whole trolleys of gifts to the appeal and with the help of our transport partner 1NElogistics; we were able to collect from Regent Point, CAV, the RVI and the Freeman sites and deliver to the Trussell Trust Foodbank in Heaton. From there the parcels will be passed onto local people visiting the foodbank, and to other local foodbanks where there is need.

I know that some other teams had also collected for other foodbanks and charities and others had collected for animal charities, so overall we should be very proud that we have been able to give so much back to support local people in need. It was also lovely to hear about the pride that people took in collecting their donations, and how pleased everyone was to be involved – giving really is good for you!

Our flourish event – values
and behaviours

I wish I’d been able to be at our most recent flourish event which took place on Thursday 13 December, but I’m delighted to hear that it was very well attended. People who attended have told me that it was an energetic and positive event, with thoughtful discussions about some challenging issues.

The main focus of the discussion was led by Martin Wilson, our Chief Operating Officer, and focused on how we would like to articulate our values and also what behaviours we need to foster in the organisation to reach our ambitions.

We also thought about our approach to flourish over the next six months or so and agreed a number of flourish themes that we can explore together. You might not be surprised to hear that January’s theme will be ‘move more’ – something that all of us might need some encouragement to do to meet our New Year’s resolutions. I’ll include more about that (and about my New Year’s resolutions) in my next message.

Continuing Excellence Award  – Better Health at Work

I was delighted to hear that the Trust has been awarded the ‘Continuing Excellence’ award by North East Better Health at Work Awards, which recognises our progress in raising health awareness in the workplace and our work in supporting others to do the same.

A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone involved in supporting our submission and campaign, including Charlotte Dodson and Julie Fletcher for their continuous commitment.


Wonderful to meet Lady Elsie as we officially opened our complementary therapy suite with Trust Chairman Professor Sir John Burn and Professor Ruth Plummer

I have had the pleasure of two wonderful visits in the last couple of weeks. Firstly I was delighted to meet Lady Elsie Robson at the opening of our complementary therapies suite at the Freeman Hospital Northern Cancer Care Centre. It was great to talk to Lady Elsie about the comfort
Sir Bobby received from having complementary therapy, and what a pleasure it brought to her to be able to see the suite in use. I also met Shola Ameobi, a strong supporter of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Most moving though was the opportunity to talk to some of the patients who have benefited from our services, and who wanted to tell me about the truly amazing care they had received, and the difference that made to them through a very difficult time in their lives. One family member said that she just felt that staff  looked after her dad as if he were a member of their own family.
What more can you ask than that?

Fabulous to hear about exciting developments in apprenticeships, virtual reality, simulation and leadership during my visit to Education and Workforce Development

Earlier this week, I spent the morning with the Education and Workforce Development team at the RVI, and was hugely impressed by the scope, scale and quality of the training they facilitate and deliver to support our workforce.  From the highly technical and remarkably lifelike simulation training facilities to the equally important libraries, leadership and apprenticeship approaches (to name just a few elements) it was clear to see the pride and passion from all of the team members that I met. A truly multi-disciplinary approach that responds incredibly well to the ever changing needs of the organisation.




We are hearing very clear messages that flu is starting to circulate in the UK and I wanted to take a moment to applaud the significant improvement in vaccination rates in our high risk areas, and across the Trust generally.  It’s been wonderful to see the response to this challenge and we are moving closer to our 75% target to protect our patients.

For those of you who aren’t protected; the very best Christmas present you can give yourself, your family and your patients is to get your jab.  Please make arrangements today – all of the details continue to be on the Intranet.

Personal touch award winners

Our personal touch award winners for this quarter have been announced and they are:

Individual Winners

  • John Bowers-Lewis, Staff Nurse, Ward 37, ICCU, FH
  • Graham Jackson, Consultant Haematologist, NCCC, FH

Team winner

  • All Staff, Radiology, Dental Hospital

You can read more about the winners and all the Personal Touch Award nominees for each quarter here:

CQC focus groups

As you know, we are expecting the CQC to visit us in January.  They have arranged a number of focus groups for staff that will take place on Tuesday 8 January, you can find the full list here:

This is a great opportunity to let the CQC know what it’s like to work at Newcastle Hospitals and what you are proud of. Please try to make the time to attend and share your views.

Dame Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive