Newcastle Pride

It has been an unseasonably wet week in Newcastle, but that didn’t dent the spirits of the large team from Newcastle Hospitals who proudly and loudly marched in the Northern Pride parade last Saturday.

It is a source of genuine joy that so many people are motivated to support our LGBTQ+ colleagues and members of our community in this way. This support is still very much needed. Even within the last months I have received correspondence from people who are unhappy with our visible support for the LGBTQ+ community and other minoritized groups and I know that personal discrimination and judgement continues to be a reality for many.

Marching as part of the Pride Festival is a positive statement that we welcome everyone into our services and will support them, hopefully challenging the very real health inequalities that exist.

Martin Wilson, our Chief Operating Officer, began the day with 70 colleagues from across the Trust at the Blue Light Breakfast at the Civic Centre which was held jointly with North East Ambulance Service, Northumbria Police and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service. All these teams then joined the Pride Parade, with thousands of others, through the city.

Martin said: “Thanks to our staff Pride Network we had a fantastic day with staff and their families coming along to celebrate our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion not just for the staff and patients of Newcastle Hospitals, but also to demonstrate that there is no place for bullying, harassment or bigotry in Newcastle or the wider north east.

“It was our biggest ever staff turn out for Pride and it was great that the Lord Lieutenant, the Lord Mayor, Police and Crime Commissioner, Leader of the local councils came along to pay tribute for the work that all our staff and partners in the emergency services do for the people of the north east.”

Caroline Docking, our Assistant Chief Executive, spent the day in the health and wellbeing tent at the Northern Pride festival with colleagues from our integrated sexual health team from New Croft Centre as well as the school health team, learning disability sexual health team, health visitors, breast screening service and our staff recruitment team. These teams have become an important regular feature of the festival as they are able to offer advice and support.

The sexual health team provided direct access to testing for a range of sexually transmitted infections over the two festival days supporting over 100 visitors. Sexually transmitted infections are something that we don’t talk about enough, and often embarrassment or lack of access to information stops people from getting help to stay safe so Pride is a great place to raise awareness.

Did you know that DIY testing is available for our staff through a free and confidential service. This is through a home testing kit, and after you have returned your pack, the results will be sent to you via a discrete text message in 5 – 10 days. You can find out more about this and request a test on our website or by phoning the New Croft Centre on 0191 229 2999.

Caroline said: “This is the second year that I’ve spent the day volunteering with the fantastic Sexual Health Service at Northern Pride and it’s a privilege to be able to be a small part of the team for the day – they are always so warm and welcoming! It’s a great opportunity for me to hear from the team and I had some fascinating conversations with them, and with those using the service. I learned so much from them and hope I was able to be useful.”

Recently, Newcastle Council told us that they were required to put the sexual health services contract in Newcastle out to competitive tender, and the team are now aware that from 1 October 2023 the service will be delivered by a new provider. This is a very difficult situation for the whole team with lots of questions still to be answered about the detail of this change.

We are very disappointed that these teams will be moving to a new employer and have committed to working closely with the council and the new provider to support staff and patients through this transition.

I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight my thanks to the whole team for their hard work and the significant impact they have had for their patients and our wider communities over many years.

Our CQC Inspection

Our CQC comprehensive inspection is still ongoing and this week we have been joined by a number of inspectors who have looked at core services including maternity, children’s services, assessment suite and a number of different speciality wards.

They have also undertaken a well led inspection interviewing members of the executive team, non-executive directors and other specialists.

I’m grateful to the many staff were able to take part in focus groups, and two further focus groups will take place next week for matrons and BAME staff.

I would also encourage everyone to complete the CQC staff survey which can be accessed here. It is really important that as many people as possible share their views through the focus groups and questionnaire so that your experiences can be taken into account.

We know that the themes which have been explored by the CQC include medicines management; record keeping and how we use our electronic patient record. As well as this they have looked at how staff feel about working in the organisation and how well supported people feel.

While we may get some high-level feedback in the coming days, it will take some time for the reporting processes to be finalised.

I know this inspection has placed extra demands on staff at a time when we are already very stretched responding to patient demand and ongoing industrial action. I am, as ever, very humbled by the efforts that everyone has shown in helping our inspectors to understand how we work. Thank you all.

National Cancer Patient Experience Survey

The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2022 is an annual survey designed to monitor progress on cancer care across the NHS. It provides information to drive local quality improvements; to assist commissioners and providers of cancer care; and to inform the work of the various charities and stakeholder groups supporting cancer patients.

This year the results for Newcastle Hospitals are very positive, with 19 questions being above the results we would expect – a fantastic result which helps our patients have confidence in the care we provide.

These include:

  • 91% of patients said they were always treated with respect and dignity while in hospital
  • 91% said the administration of their care was very good or good
  • 86% said that hospital staff always did what they could to help the patient control pain

All credit to our fantastic cancer teams across the trust and everyone who contributes to our cancer pathways in whatever way.

Learning and sharing event

Our Learning and Sharing events, hosted by Newcastle Improvement, are an opportunity to hear from colleagues who have made improvements across the Trust. If you missed our last event you can watch it here.

Awards and Achievements

Congratulations to Newcastle Health Visitor Caitlin McCord who has been awarded a Queen’s Nurse Initiative Award. Caitlin was awarded the Dora Roylance Memorial Prize – an academic prize dedicated to outstanding students who have completed their SCPHN Health Visitor programme at a university in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.