Our future is digital

Over the last 20 years technology has allowed us to go from having a landline to make calls, to carrying a high spec minicomputer in our pockets. We can manage our diaries, communicate with multiple friends and family simultaneously, keep track of our money, watch on demand TV and many, many more things, and we rarely think twice about it (well, unless it stops working.)

We demand ease, convenience and information from our service providers. We expect to be able to have digital access to our records – whether that’s for our electricity meter reading or our online shopping – and we expect that to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In another ten years, can we even begin to imagine what the device in our pockets and in our lives will be like – or indeed if it will even be in our pocket?

Information technology has become a firmly embedded extension of our lives, and yet in healthcare we are yet to fully harness the transformative potential of patient facing Apps, Artificial Intelligence and using our data and technology to improve how we deliver care.

The potential to improve health and care through digital solutions is huge, and we are about to take both a small step and giant leap into the future as we roll-out electronic patient records this weekend.
I want to acknowledge the huge amount of hard work that has brought us to this point – the joint effort across our clinical and operations teams combined with our digital experts has truly shown what is possible.

Our Paperlite programme has already brought us huge benefits for patient safety and effectiveness – through eObs and our digital transfer of care documentation – and I know that our voice recognition technology and our move to electronic pathways will be equally worthwhile.

Of course we also need to be mindful that we all have an important role to play in protecting
patient and personal data and I’d ask you all to make sure you are up-to-date with the Information Governance training and if unsure, just ask. There is plenty of support available through the transition period.

This change will digitise about 98% of our clinical pathways – and putting in place the right infrastructure is a vital step – but the potential of digitally enabled care is only limited by our imaginations. It’s important to remember that patients with chronic diseases spend less than 0.1% of their time with a medical professional, whereas virtual assistants are potentially with them all the time.

As we move forward we will be looking at how we can play a leading role in safely developing and implementing digital support. Some of the questions we are now asking are:

How can we support people with virtual coaching, or intuitive advice on the spot?
Could we harness the potential of data and artificial intelligence to predict health emergencies and treat them proactively?

Could an intelligent system nudge us towards making healthier food or exercise choices and impact our all-round wellbeing?

Could sensors monitoring biomarkers or self-care help people to live in their homes ‘independently’ for longer?

This isn’t science fiction – it’s technology that is being developed today, and we and the City are well placed to be at the forefront of this innovation. The National Innovation Centres for Data and for Ageing are both based in Newcastle, and our universities are at the forefront of citizen focussed digital research and developments.

If we successfully join this capability with initiatives such as the Great North Care Record our potential is far reaching – we now have the opportunity to explore this together.

Did you know…?

As part of going paperlite, over 4000 PCs clinical workstations, laptops and bedside devices have been provided and over 8360 staff have been fully trained!

Annual Nursing, Midwifery & AHP Conference – World of

Congratulations to Sarah Stephen, Highly Specialist Speech & Language Therapist, who was one of our winners in the Rising Star Award category

Opportunities: Together Towards Tomorrow

It was a great pleasure to attend our nursing, midwifery and AHP conference on Wednesday and especially to present the NMAHP Achievement Awards & Clinical Leaders Awards to such worthy winners.

I know how valuable staff found the event, and it was great to see so much enthusiasm, pride and engagement from the wide range colleagues who attended.

Professor Brian Dolan OBE was a compelling keynote speaker who captured the mood of the event well with his inspiring words. I know that many of you will be going back to your teams with ideas to continue to enhance our services and our support to our patients.

Congratulations to the team who facilitated such an important event.


Living Our Values – I’d like to invite you to join me for our next Flourish event ‘Living our Values’ which will now take place on Tuesday 12 November. I’d very much like you to come along to help us think about our Flourish approach so far and how we can develop it in line with our new values.

I’ll be sharing my thoughts about our flourish programme and how we create an environment where people can bring the very best of themselves to work. We’ll also be hearing from staff about work they are doing to support their teams to flourish and to live our values everyday.

This is another opportunity to be able to influence this important ‘cornerstone’ programme, and I do hope that each team in the Trust will be represented. The event will take place at the Great North Museum from 2pm – 4pm (refreshments from 1.30pm). If you would like to attend please email [email protected]

Leadership Congress – Our next Leadership Congress entitled ‘Leadership for Improvement’ will also be held on Wednesday 27 November at the Great North Museum from 4-6.30pm. We are delighted to be joined by Susan Hannah, Senior Director for Europe Region and Strategic Partners – at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), who will be giving an international perspective on quality improvement. You can learn more about the IHI here 

Other speakers will be confirmed nearer the time. Our Leadership Congress is for leaders and aspiring leaders at all levels in the Trust to consider the big issues that face us today.
To attend please email [email protected]


Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to get their flu jab.

It’s the very best way to protect our patients, out families and ourselves from this serious illness.

This week the vaccinators have been carrying on with clinics, have vaccinated over 100 staff overnight on our wards and also attended events like the NMAHP conference to give as much chance as possible for staff.

If you are arranging a team meeting or event, and would like a vaccinator to attend, please get in touch with the flu team who will be happy to come along – all details are on the home page of the intranet.

It’s now time for our brilliant team of peer vaccinators to start their important work out and about in their teams and workplaces. Peer vaccinators are a vital part of our approach, supporting and encouraging their colleagues to keep themselves well by having the jab, and by bringing it directly to wards and teams. They do a great job and I’m pleased that we can start this part of the campaign.

If you needed any more persuasion, remember that we are also donating jabs to developing countries for every flu jab that we give. Last year that was over 11,500 tetanus jabs! Please do your bit and make time to have your jab this week.

Staff Survey

It’s also the time of year for our staff survey. This is the one chance in the year where everyone who works here is able to share their views in confidence about what it’s like to be a member of the team.

I think the staff survey is a very important marker of how we’re doing, especially as staff experience is a very important indicator of the quality of our services. I personally always look at our survey results very carefully to see where we can improve, and where we need more focus.

Reminder emails have been sent to staff who haven’t yet completed the survey. It only took me about ten minutes to fill mine in, so please find the time if you can. If you are a manager or leader, can I ask you to make sure that everyone in your team has time to fill in their survey, and get their flu jab. Thank you so much for your support.

November – My Personal Health

Our health and wellbeing theme for flourish next month will be #MyPersonalHealth. Taking care of ourselves – particularly when we’re so busy working in an organisation dedicated to caring for others – can sometimes be overlooked.

So this month, we are covering a range of topics relating to personal health including sexual health, breast awareness and prostate and testicular cancer. Teams will also be on hand to offer advice and support through a number of personal health and staff wellbeing stands located in both our hospitals, Regent Point and the Molineux Centre.

It’s also Movember so if you are supporting this worthy cause by growing a moustache, hosting your own event to raise funds for men’s health, Moving for Movember (60km for the 60 men lost to suicide each hour across the world) or hosting a Mo-Ment in the workplace let us know as we would love to share your photographs throughout the month.

Governor Elections

In mid-November, we will be holding an election to our Trust’s Council of Governors. We have a number of vacancies, including those for staff governors in medical and dental, nursing and midwifery and volunteers.

Our governors play a really important role in our organisation and are routinely consulted on a variety of matters, including most recently the Trust strategy and branding. Being a governor is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the workings of an outstanding organisation and would enable you to represent the interests of your staff group at Council meetings.

To be eligible to vote and to stand for election, you first need to be a member of our Foundation Trust. Membership forms can be found here on the Trust website or are available on request from corporate services. If you are interesting in standing for election or want to know more about the role, please contact Fay Darville [email protected]


Lovely to welcome Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation to Newcastle Hospitals

We welcomed Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation earlier this week. He was keen to learn about our approach to same day emergency care and also about our joint working across the City with the community and voluntary sector and other partners.

It’s great that our clinical teams and our way of working in Newcastle continues to be recognised by so many national figures who acknowledge that we are setting the standard across the NHS in many areas.

Award and Achievements
Congratulations to our staff on the following awards and achievements:

Our eRostering team and staff won the ‘impacting clinical and performance targets’ category in the Allocate Software Awards, for their work in rolling out SafeCare – a real-time, patient-led staff monitoring and deployment tool, to ensure that the right staff are in the right place at the right time, ultimately enhancing patient care.

The Trust, in partnership with Clinithink, is also shortlisted for the Connecting Services and Information Award at this year’s HSJ Awards for their work in helping clinical research staff transform the way patients, who are potentially eligible to participate in clinical trials, are initially identified.
The finance team are finalists in two categories of the HFMA National Healthcare Finance Awards – ‘Team of the Year Award for Larger Teams’ and ‘Apprentice of the Year’ (a collective nomination for the finance apprentices) The awards celebrate excellence in finance departments across the four home nations, showcasing best practice and achievement in financial management and governance and the winners will be announced on 5 December.