Our hospitals at the heart of innovation

I recently had an inspiring morning visiting the Joint Research Office (JRO) which is based at Regent Point, the JRO is a partnership between the Trust and Newcastle University and it exists to support the outstanding research that we carry out.

I recently had an inspiring morning visiting the Joint Research Office (JRO) which is based at Regent

Point, the JRO is a partnership between the Trust and Newcastle University and it exists to support the outstanding research that we carry out. The team there put together this short video to explain more about their work – I’d encourage everyone to watch it – especially to hear about an amazing young man called Ollie whose life was saved by research carried out right here in the city: Watch the video here

Learning about the innovative work that is being carried out in the Trust by doctors, nurses and allied health professionals is like taking a journey into the future. Here in Newcastle we are carrying out academic, clinical and translational research which is having an impact on patient’s lives now, and which also has the potential to transform the way the NHS will work later in our lifetimes.

I’ve been astounded by the strength and breadth of research being carried out in Newcastle, and by the passion of those leading it. I’ve been particularly pleased to see the #MakeSpaceForResearch campaign becoming established to encourage more nurses and AHP’s to get involved.

There is no doubt that we’ve developed a track record of delivering high quality studies. However with the NHS Long Term plan, the Industrial Strategy and the life sciences agenda and we have a unique opportunity to further develop our ambition, infrastructure and capability in this area. To be the best, we have to compete with the best. We have to be externally facing, benchmark against others, utilise excellent ideas in selective ways and be part of and lead networks. This is necessary nationally and also internationally too.

This is a good time to be thinking about Newcastle Hospitals at the heart of innovation. We are about to publish our 5 year strategy, where research and innovation sit centre stage. There is no doubt in my mind – and the evidence is strong – that embedding research across the Trust leads not only to better patient care, but also creates a virtuous circle improving workforce education, recruitment and retention.

There is no doubt that research is a vital part of what makes us Outstanding, and we are fortunate to have so many enthusiastic patients who are keen to volunteer to take part in research with us. Ultimately all of our efforts are for their benefit.

However – there is a “rub”. The paradox of being a doubly Outstanding organisation, whilst seeing the healthcare gap between North and South continue to widen is also relevant when we think about the future potential of our research capability. Our strong foundation will increasingly make a positive difference to the overall health inequalities in the region through preventing illness and also in partnering with emerging enterprises to make an economic impact. There is an inextricable link between ‘Health, Wealth and Wellbeing’ and an important report, which was launched here in Newcastle late last year, sets this out pretty starkly. You can read the report ‘Health for Wealth – Building a Healthier Northern Powerhouse for UK Productivity’ from the Northern Health Science Alliance here

As a major employer and purchaser of health related goods and provisions, there are many things we can do to contribute to a stronger economy. To this end we have appointed our new Director of Business and Enterprise, Dr Victoria McFarlane Reid. Vicky will join us in late September, and brings a strong commercial research background.

Working together in the city, with our partners at Newcastle and Northumbria Universities, and with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Trust who also have a strong research ethos – we have the opportunity to become a truly research focussed city. We are perfectly positioned to seize that ambition, small enough to facilitate close multidisciplinary team working yet big enough to make a national and international impact.

We are at an exciting moment in time, with a changing context and new opportunities to truly become the best if we continue to position ourselves for 2020 and beyond.

At a recent workshop led by our Chairman Professor Sir John Burn, the Board of Directors committed to strengthen our research partnership even further and have commissioned some work to develop this approach. I will keep you updated as this progresses.

A note about flu

It’s the middle of summer, but our flu team is already thinking about the winter and our flu season. Our flu strains can often be seen first in Australia, and sadly this year has seen a particularly severe flu season over there, with significantly more cases, hospital admissions and also sadly many additional deaths. However, the flu vaccine is offering protection against the circulating strains. It will be more important than ever for us to maximise our flu preparations so that we can effectively protect our patients, our families and ourselves.


I’m delighted to see that over 4000 members of staff have registered to attend the training and drop in sessions about paperlite so far. Please do take the time to book your place. You can find all of the relevant information on the intranet.

#FlourishAt NewcastleHospitals

Thank you to everyone who attended the Pride breakfast and march on 20th July. It was wonderful to see so many people taking part and bringing so much colour to the city. It’s also been wonderful to see everyone signing their pledges and wearing their rainbow badges. Twitter has been awash with some really lovely pictures and pledges and I’ve been very proud to see our inclusiveness being demonstrated so clearly.

There’s lots that we can do to support people even more. I know that the HR team are supporting work to embed LGBT inclusion across all employee policies for example. By having dedicated transgender resources available to all staff and replacing all gendered pronouns with neutral pronouns we continue to demonstrate our commitment to respecting and celebrating the identities of our LGBT and non-binary employees.

I would love to see Newcastle Hospitals being recognised as being one of the top 100 employers in the national Stonewall index – and you can help us to achieve that by sharing your views in the annual Stonewall survey which measures our efforts to ensure inclusion.

The questionnaire is open to all staff (heterosexual as well as LGBT staff), is entirely voluntary and the information you provide is entirely anonymous. All responses will be logged and collated externally by Stonewall’s Workplace team, not the Trust. Once collected and analysed the Trust will receive anonymous feedback which will act as a benchmark to future activity. To participate please click on the link below and use the following four digit code which is unique to the Trust. The deadline for responses is 2 November 2019.

The link to the questionnaire: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/index-survey-2020

The Trust’s unique four digit code: 1941

The survey can be completed at work or at home.

Become a Green Impact Team

Our Flourish theme for August is all about delivering sustainable healthcare in Newcastle. Newcastle Hospitals recently became the first NHS Trust to declare a climate emergency – publicly acknowledging the climate crisis which threatens the health of populations all across the world including here in the North East.

To make changes in your area and get recognition at our #Shine end of year awards ceremony we’d love you to sign yourselves and colleagues up to become a Green Impact team.

Green Impact is a staff competition to engage different departments/teams in sustainability. There is an online workbook with different actions for teams to complete. The workbook is bespoke to Newcastle Hospitals, and is relevant for both clinical and non-clinical areas.

Contact the sustainability team for more information and for the link to the workbook: [email protected] Find out more about what sustainability means for us by visiting:

Great North Run & Great North 5k

The HR Medical and Dental staffing team have pulled together to run the Great North 5k

It’s great to see so many teams signing up to take part in the Great North 5k, like staff from the HR Medical and Dental staffing team who have pulled together to run the 5k. New staff member Katy Simmance has encouraged over half the team to sign up and said: “Some of us are planning to run and some may even be carried, but we will certainly encourage each other across the finish line.”

Over 120 people have already signed up for the event and even if you’ve never run – or walked – longer
distances this is a great way to get started. There are still a limited number of places available and you can get your ticket via the Benefits Everyone Website
https://www.benefitseveryone.co.uk/discounts-and-offers/great-north-run-5k-special-offer at the subsidised price of £10 (instead of the usual price of £22).

As you’ll be aware I’m taking part in the Great North Run this year, raising money for our very own Great North Children’s Hospital. I’m working hard to get as many sponsors as possible through my justgiving page.

I’ll be running with friends, family and GNCH mascot Fudge will also be running as part of the team – I’m sure we’ll have lots of support along the way. If you’re taking part too, I hope your training is going as well as Fudge’s seems to be, watch his training video here.

World transplant games

With only a few weeks to go, it’s great to see how the North East has stepped up its preparations for the World Transplant Games

With only a few weeks to go, it’s great to see how the North East has stepped up its preparations for the World Transplant Games, a wonderful event to celebrate the sporting achievements of transplant recipients from 60 countries across the world.

As well as a sporting event, the Games celebrate transplant recipients and also helps spread the important message about organ donation. As a key partner of the games, we are proud to help promote the importance of organ donation. We have been helping to capture some of our patients’ inspirational transplant stories which will be aired during the games, so keep an eye out for them in the local media.

Out and about

Beryl McNeil was awarded for her 25 year’s’ Volunteering at the Trust in various wards at the RVI

Last week, I had the privilege of opening and presenting certificates at the volunteer appreciation and recognition event. The event gave us the opportunity to recognise the valuable contribution our 300 volunteers make across the Trust as well as recognising those who have hit long service milestones.
Volunteers truly are the unsung heroes of the NHS and the wonderful job they do should never be taken for granted. It was lovely to meet our volunteers and the staff who work alongside them, hearing about the positive impact they have on patients and the teams they work with just reinforced how important volunteers are in helping make this Trust the remarkable place it is.

Congratulations to the ‘Rehab Ramblers’ who have completed their Three Peak Challenge

Awards and achievements

  • I was delighted to see that one of our shortlisted teams for the ‘Fundraiser of the Year’ in our annual Celebrating Excellence Awards, the ‘Rehab Ramblers’ completed their Three Peak challenge to raise money to buy rehab equipment for our neurosurgical ward at the RVI. The team have raised over £3500 so far and are hoping to buy a wheelchair with the money. Thank you to the team, what a fantastic achievement!


Alex Hemsley was awarded 2nd place in her category for Aquathlon at the Multisport World Championships in Spain
  • Flourish is all about challenging yourself to look after your well-being – both at work and at home- so I was pleased to receive an email from Advanced Specialist Physiotherapist, Alex Hemsley, telling me about her recent sporting achievement. Alex recently took part in the Multisport World Championships in Spain and came 2nd in her category for Aquathlon (swim run). Well done Alex and good luck with your future challenges!