Collaborating with our partners across the North East

Over the last few months, I’ve been focusing on the local, regional and national partnerships that are fundamental to our work and the care we provide to our patients. As an outstanding organisation, we need to realise the potential that these partnerships can bring, not just for our benefit, but very much to support our wider population and the rest of the health economy.

As one of the largest employers in the North East and one of the biggest and best NHS organisations in the UK, it’s especially important that we understand the scope, breadth and depth of the challenges and opportunities that we face in Newcastle. We have a responsibility to support the health of the local population and indeed to go beyond that and contribute to the health, wealth and wellbeing of our city.

Working together as the three major institutions in Newcastle; the City Council, University and our Trust have made a commitment to explore new approaches to caring for our ageing population. Joining up services for frail older people might be one area where we can seize the opportunity to provide a different and more effective response. Next week, as partners, we will welcome Prof Joseph Coughlin from Massachusetts Institute of Technology to the city to support our shared approach to becoming a truly age friendly city. That’s a very clear illustration of the different ways of working that we have the opportunity to seize.

And it’s not just in service delivery where we can contribute. We can procure more of our supplies from local businesses, we can work with local industry to create innovations to help people to live in their homes longer and more safely and we can be an exemplar employer in Newcastle. These are all equally important ways that we can contribute to the health, wealth and wellbeing of our local population.

At another level, specialised commissioning is also moving at speed as NHS England has announced plans for the integration of specialised commissioning with local health and care systems. This is a further area of partnership working that requires our focus.The move will see national commissioners and local systems working together to plan and develop place-based services. This creates huge opportunities for those of us working in specialist services to build on our successes and strengths and work differently to consolidate our networks and reach. We are already seeing this approach in pathology services, where we are working across our integrated care system to provide and support services regionally and helping smaller units to develop their services.

It is an exciting time and will require all of us to work differently and think of new ways to contribute and collaborate with colleagues.

I have written to our senior staff to invite them to our next leadership congress which will take place on Tuesday 5 March. ‘Newcastle – one great city leading across our partnerships’ will be an exceptional opportunity to hear from Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council and Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University about their leadership journeys and wisdom on working in this new and exciting environment.

There are a limited number of places available for other interested staff, so please contact Michelle Cruickshanks: [email protected] if you would like to be considered. I am very much looking forward to this event and hope that many of you can join me.

Flourish #LetsMove

Our #LetsMove challenge for January is drawing to a close, but participants still have one last weekend to maximise your team steps. It has been wonderful to see the excitement and enthusiasm that you have shared on Twitter, Instagram and as I’ve chatted to you out and about. Moving more in a biting cold January is tough, and you have risen magnificently to the challenge. I hope that you have felt the benefits encouraging each other to move more and although the challenge is coming to an end, I am sure many of you will continue to stay active.

February’s theme is #LetsTalk which links closely with National Time to Talk day on Thursday 7 February and in our busy lives and work it can be really difficult to make the time to talk about the important things. Talking about our mental health isn’t always easy, but it’s a great way to break down stereotypes, improve relationships and bring us together.

Our Flourish at Newcastle Hospitals website has more information and you can also download resources at the Time To Talk Day 2019 website. We have selfie frames, pledge cards and teabags to help teams to take part and I know that there is lots planned across the Trust including:

  • Thursday 7 February – ‘Great Renal Bake-off’ renal seminar room, Freeman – 2pm to 4pm.
  • Thursday 7 February – Falls and Syncope Service will hold ‘Time to Talk over Tea and Cakes’ in their department at the RVI – midday to 1pm.
  • Thursday 7 February – Integrated Laboratory Medicine will hold #LetsTake10 break in seminar room 2 from 3pm to 4pm.
  • Friday 15 February – ‘Pat and Chat’. Have a cuppa with Poppy the Springer Spaniel and Trust Chaplain Katie Watson – Hospital Chapel, Freeman – 2.30pm to 4pm.

If your team doesn’t have a plan to take part, why not take the initiative and plan something yourself. If you would like some help or support please contact: [email protected] or you can talk to your flourish health and wellbeing champion: [email protected]

LGBT History Month

February is LGBT History month, and I am delighted that our LGBT staff network members have arranged a number of sessions to raise awareness. Our staff networks – groups run by staff, for staff – help to celebrate the diversity of our workforce and promote equality for all. We currently have a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Network, a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network and a Disability Network and these are open to anyone with a passion for promoting equality and diversity. If you have any ideas or suggestions our staff networks would love to hear from you.

LGBT history month gives us an opportunity to reflect on what each of us individually can do to truly ensure our workplace and our provision of care is effortlessly inclusive to everyone and reflects the diversity in our local communities. I hope you will join me in celebrating this
important event.

A number of events have been arranged including ‘Count your Losses’ and ‘A day in the life of a Hospital Chaplain’. Each session is designed to give an insight into the challenges people face and show participants a different perspective. You will also see the rainbow flag flying at both the Freeman and RVI during the month.

Staff can book onto any of the sessions by emailing the LGBT staff network at: [email protected]

Showcasing our services

Roy Lilley is an independent health commentator, policy analyst, writer and broadcaster. His regular eLetter is delivered to 300,000 inboxes throughout the NHS. Roy is also the founder of the NHS Fab stuff a social movement for sharing health and social care ideas. Roy will be visiting us on Thursday 19 February to see some of our wonderful services. There will also be an opportunity to hear Roy speak about the academy and his thoughts on the NHS.

You are very welcome to join us for our services showcase (from 10.30am – 11.30am) and for Roy’s conversation from 11.30am, which will both be held in the Education Centre at the RVI.

Celebrating our services is very important, and we are looking at holding further events on each of our sites and in the community to learn from each other and take pride in our achievements.

Visiting the Mortuary Team

A very emotional yet inspiring visit this morning to meet our dedicated mortuary team. What a privilege to hear about the care and attention they are so proud to provide.

I had an emotional and equally inspiring visit to the mortuary team at the RVI last week. I was privileged to hear about the care and attention they are so proud to provide. It’s no surprise at all to hear that the Mortuary Operations Manager, Jeff Potts is a finalist for the ‘Team Leader of the Year’ award in the Unsung Hero Awards.
This visit had a real impact on me and that feeling of care and attention stayed with me. I want to say a personal thank you to everyone working across our services who support bereaved family members and friends. You are very much appreciated.

Help us to vaccinate 75% of our staff

Flu is starting to circulate in the North East and in our hospitals, and sadly we are seeing previously healthy patients being admitted to our critical care units.

I’m delighted to see that all of our high risk areas have exceed the 75% target for flu vaccinations, to protect our most vulnerable patients from the flu.

However, we are very close to achieving the national target of vaccinating 75% of all frontline staff and we only require 284 more members of frontline staff to get their jab to achieve this.

Please protect yourself and your patients. You can still get your vaccine via a Peer Vaccinator (full list of vaccinators and their locations can be found on the Intranet) or you can email occupational health today: [email protected] to book an appointment – protect yourself, your family and our patients.

Award winners

This week, data from the CQC’s National Maternity 2018 survey showed that mums and babies get the very best care in the country at Newcastle’s RVI – top for confidence, trust, dignity & respect – so proud of our amazing maternity team!

You can read the results from the survey here

Congratulations to Jackie Rees, Nurse Consultant – Continence, who has been shortlisted in the British Journal of Nursing Awards 2019 for Continence Nurse of the Year.

Newcastle Hospitals has been shortlisted for Employer of the Year Award for its Project Choice programme in the Movement to Work Social Mobility Awards 2019.