Turning our lives upside down to help

I know that the word ‘unprecedented’ is being over-used at the moment, but it’s an appropriate one to

describe the scale and pace of the changes that we are all living through. None of us know how long this will continue and we are all trying to come to terms with this ‘new normal’.

The things that we take for granted have been shaken and everyone will be finding their own way to cope, making new routines and finding new ways to connect with family
and friends.

This week, I’ve been hearing more about how staff have transformed their working practices to support our efforts to tackle COVID-19, and most importantly to support their colleagues.

I’ve seen more wards transformed from their usual specialties into additional respiratory wards, staff learning new skills and working with new colleagues, the launch of major recruitment campaigns and no end of large and small acts of kindness.

I’d like to highlight theatre nursing staff this week who are a large part of the nursing and AHP workforce in the Trust.

They are adapting and learning new skills so that they can be among the first to provide support in intensive care. Many members of the team have had to change their shift patterns and work in new environments – all things which are difficult even under normal circumstances – but their willingness to embrace and tackle this challenge has been remarkable.

They have been turning their lives upside down to help – and doing it willingly and with a smile. I also

want to continue to recognise colleagues who are continuing to provide ‘non-covid’ clinical and corporate services. Babies are still being born, new mums are still being supported to breastfeed, patients with cancer, on dialysis or being supported by a range of other services continue to be cared for and treated and children and their families are still being looked after through our Great North Children’s Hospital every day. In every directorate and specialty an incredible amount of hard work means that we are not letting these unusual circumstances stop us from providing outstanding care.

Staff are making sacrifices everyday. I want you to know that you are appreciated – by me, by our patients, and by the public who continue to send their thanks and good wishes.
Tragically, this illness will continue to take many more lives and it’s likely that all of us will be touched by sadness as the pandemic progresses. Caring for each other and working as a team is so important through what will, inevitably, be an incredibly difficult time.

I continue to be overwhelmed by the brave and professional response that I have seen from every part of Newcastle Hospitals.

Thank you for everything that you are doing to contribute to our team effort.

Donate to our NHS Charity

We have been stunned by the generosity of the local community with their generous gifts and donations for you, our staff.

We are encouraging people to continue to show their support for you and our patients by donating, giving gifts in kind or sharing their support on social media.

Our charity fund to support both staff and patients in light of the coronavirus situation had reached close to £2,500 in the first day which is testament to the gratitude that our patients and the public have for your tireless efforts.

We are mindful that this is a huge team effort and all NHS staff – from doctors and nurses on the frontline of COVID-19, to colleagues across a whole range of services and departments including IT, cleaning, catering, estates, porters, pharmacy, administrative services, community nurses and domiciliary services – are working tirelessly to support the Coronavirus response.

You are welcome to share this information with anyone who might like to support us:

  • How to show your support
    If you would like to give a ‘gift in kind’ please email.
  • To donate online to visit Just Giving here.

Send your messages of support on Facebook and Twitter @NewcastleHosps with the hashtags #nhsheroes #nhsthankyou

Sir Bobby Robson Foundation 12th anniversary

Congratulations to everyone at the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation as it celebrates its 12th anniversary. The Foundation has now raised over £13.5million to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer. At the heart of the Foundation is the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Freeman Hospital, which in partnership with the Trust offers patients access to early drug trials and potential new treatments.

In Memory of Professor Kate Gould

With deep regret I would like to inform you that Professor Kate Gould passed away last Friday (27 March) following a long-standing illness.

Kate was a Consultant Microbiologist at Newcastle since September 1988. During this time she also held the position of Clinical Director of Laboratory Services 2002-2006 and Director of Infection Prevention and Control 2006-2008. In 2013 she became the Lead Public Health Microbiologist for Public Health England, during this time she held an Honorary Consultant Microbiologist position within the Trust.

Professor Gould will be deeply missed by all who knew her. Cards or messages of condolence can be passed to medical staffing who will pass them to her family.

Free Spirits Nursery

Ofsted have rated the Free Spirits Nursery at the Freeman Hospital ‘outstanding’ for the second time after visiting earlier this year. Huge congratulations to all of the nursery staff who work exceptionally hard to provide high quality, safe childcare.

Thank you to all of the staff at the nursery who taking care of children still attending nursery at this time.

International Transgender Day of Visibility

On Tuesday we raised the Trans flag at the Freeman and RVI to recognise Trans Day of Visibility. At Newcastle Hospitals we understand and respect that there can be differences between assigned sex and gender identity and expression and we value the unique contribution of all staff, patients and visitors including those who identify outside of the gender binary.

We aim to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for people to be who they are, irrespective of their gender identity and seek to provide a supportive environment for people who are considering, undergoing or who have undergone transition. Many staff have their pronouns displayed on their email signature, it’s easy to do and is a very simple and effective way to show your visible support.

Staff support

The Occupational Health Service and the Psychology in Healthcare Team are offering brief, time limited telephone support sessions for staff to help them consider coping skills and self-care in order to manage their wellbeing.

If you would like to speak to someone: call 0191 282 4800 or email nuth.ohscounselling@nhs.net include your name, date of birth and preferred contact number.

The team will contact you to offer a suitable time for an appointment as soon as possible.

We are grateful to colleagues who are helping to support staff by delivering this service.

Quit smoking for COVID

If you smoke, quitting is one of the best ways you can reduce your risk from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Smoking affects the immune system in the airways, lung tissue and throughout the body. This reduces your natural protection against infections, like coronavirus. Healthworks are offering NHS staff a free 12 week programme of stop smoking support.

This includes a tailor-made programme and treatment options (Nicotine Replacement
Therapy and other aids) available by email, telephone and post.

Simply email admin.healthworks@nhs.net with your full name, gender and contact telephone number and state a convenient time for them to call you.