Maryport Victoria hospital has stood proudly on Ewanrigg road in the town since at least the early 1900s.

maryport hospital.jpgIt has seen many changes in its history however what hasn’t changed is the friendliness of staff and the dedication to their patients.

The hospital is now a hub of activity for the town and the surrounding area and hosts more than 30 different service or procedures.

The day unit:

On the ground floor what was the old ward is now a day unit with the ability to deliver a wide range of infusions and clinic rooms for a wide range of other nurse-led procedures.

Alison Bibby 1a.JPGAlison Bibby is the senior lead nurse for the day unit. She said:

“The day unit delivers such a diverse amount of nursing interventions, we are so busy – we deliver care between 7.30am and 8pm seven days a week.

“One day I sat down with one of the nursing team, and we reflected on her day. She had provided eight  very different types of nursing intervention throughout her day to include…a blood transfusion, administration of an intravenous antibiotics, blood test, compression bandaging, a variety of wound dressings to include a diabetic foot ulcer, a specialist ultrasound and two different types of catheter care.”

The unit delivers such a broad spectrum of care now that it is quite unique.

Alison added:

“We deliver so much care to the people of Maryport and surrounding areas that we couldn’t before; we didn’t have the space or the nursing expertise. We have worked hard to upskill our team and this is ongoing as we continue to develop new pathways of care in order that we can provide an increasing number of nurse-led interventions to people closer to home – which reduces the need for them to travel typically to the Cumberland Infirmary or West Cumberland Hospital.”

One patient who has benefitted from having care closer to home is 33 year old David Bridgewood who lives in Maryport. He has been coming to the day unit daily for treatment following the removal of an abscess and a partial foot amputation.

David Bridgewood 2.JPGHe said:

“The staff here are very pleasant and I really do feel that for me they have gone above and beyond to support me. These guys see me every day and the fact that I can come here in my own town is absolutely brilliant. If I had to go to Carlisle or Whitehaven it would have been terrible and the stress would have meant the whole process would be so much more difficult.

“I know the team here just think they are doing their job but for me they are so appreciated and I sometimes bring them a box of sweets just to say thank you. Whenever I get a patient experience questionnaire I always give them ten out of ten.”

Claire Faulder, Carol Amos and Rose Southward - Healthcare assistants.JPGAlison explained how services across the Trust have worked collaboratively to upskill the nursing team:

“We have worked with Julie Kennedy, Senior haematology nurse based at WCH to help her deliver clinics and so learning new skills ‘on the job’. This has enabled us to accept some of her patients to our caseload for their treatments helping to relieve some of the pressures on her service. She now visits us once a month to further promote our collaborative working and she will provide ongoing training for staff on a variety of haematology related interventions now offered in the Day Unit.

Ashton Briscoe RGN.JPG“The COVID pandemic gave us an opportunity to further develop the skills of the staff. We worked directly and quickly with specialist teams and with support from our learning collaborative the team achieved competencies in new interventions to help support increased numbers of patients closer to home. It helped ensure that acute nursing staff could be redeployed to wards but some patients who had previously received treatment as day cases at either the Cumberland infirmary or West Cumberland hospital could now be supported in Maryport.

“Our teams never stood down during COVID; in fact we stood up and delivered far more care than we ever did before, our workload increased significantly. We aren’t looking back either, we want to deliver more care to more people”

Mr Martin Colder from near Cockermouth was also keen to sing the praises of the staff at the day unit. He said:

"I go to Maryport Cottage Hospital every six weeks for treatment. I used to travel to Carlisle or Whitehaven for my treatment where it could take an hour each way and parking was difficult. I live just outside Cockermouth so Maryport is very convenient and easily accessible. Parking is very easy and really close to the hospital.

“The Day Care Unit is spacious and comfortable with plenty of room for someone to accompany a patient during their treatment. The nursing staff are welcoming and friendly and in these challenging times they do everything they can to make you feel at ease. “They take time to have a chat with you which helps to pass time during your treatment, coffee, tea and biscuits are always available.

“I think it’s a real benefit for people who live in the Maryport and Cockermouth areas to have a facility like this on their doorstep.”

Gillian Telford also wrote to the nursing staff to say thank you for their treatment of her mother. Her letter said:

“My mother first attended the clinic at Victoria Cottage hospital for the treatment of a leg ulcer. The care my mother has received has been exemplary. The nurses who have dealt with her have shown her the utmost respect kindness and care as well as first class treatment.

“They have on occasion alerted us to other medical issues which have meant that we were able to seek out other medical attention when it was needed. There is no doubt that the staff of the clinic are well trained, knowledgeable and diligent in their approach of caring for patients.”

The hospital went through a complete transformation in 2019. The former ward was renovated into an infusion suite, ambulatory care assessment room and dedicated clinic rooms. While the building looks the same from the outside it is a modern clinical environment inside.

Maryport hospital ambulatory unit.jpgAlison added:

“It’s a lovely space we have here and I know that it puts patients right at ease when they see how new and modern it is on the inside compared to the building outside which has barely changed in 100 years. While we support many patients from Maryport and the surrounding areas we do also have patents that come from further afield – because we have first class modern facilities.”

Rehabilitation and therapy:

The atmosphere in Maryport hospital is extremely friendly and it is clear that while there are different services there, they are all working together for their patients. Along the corridor on the ground floor – past the patient gym - is the therapy and rehabilitation team.

There we meet Eve Richard who is the Maryport and Cockermouth Integrated Care community lead and Stuart Nicholson the therapy lead.

Eve Richards.pngEve said:

“I manage the district nursing and rehab services and we deliver care to people’s homes. We support people to get out of hospital early in a timely way and we also prevent people from going into hospital and help people lead independent lives in the community and be in charge of their own health needs. So it is a really rewarding piece of work and I work with some fantastic people and some fantastic teams.”

stuart nicholson 1a.JPGStuart added:

“Previously a lot of the therapy team’s time was taken up planning discharges from the hospital but now we are able to deliver loads more support for people in their own homes. We work with patients to help make sure they don’t need to go into hospital and also support people once they have left hospital to help maintain and regain independence.”

A key part of what the therapy and rehabilitation teams deliver is end of life care. As they have more capacity to deliver care in people’s home they are now able to support more people with this extremely delicate service than they previously could.

Eve explained how this is coordinated:

“When we get a referral for someone who is in hospital and they are approaching end of life and their wish is to be at home., we  pull out all the stops to get them there as safely and carefully as possible. So we coordinate the discharge with our colleagues at the main hospital and arrange whatever equipment they require to make sure they are comfortable and safe to be in their own home. We also involve the family to try and help if they want to be involved in delivering some of that support. Our district nurses provide care around what medication they may need and also keep them as comfortable as possible to allow them to have a dignified and well respected end of life care in the community.”

Stuart added:

“We have also been able to increase the amount of home care practitioners. They are a vital part of our workforce who deliver medical needs to patients with support from senior medical professionals. They also work closely with district nurses and carers to make sure that patients have everything they need for ongoing care in their home. Working together in this way we are able to help those patients who are at their end of life and would like to pass away in the comfort of their own home to die with dignity. ”

The therapy team also provide a number of clinics from the hospital including falls prevention, healthy aging and rehabilitation.

The integrated care community hub (ICC hub):

Just next door is the Integrated Care Community (ICC) Hub which is a single point of access for all the nursing and therapy teams across Maryport and Cockermouth as well as the Maryport Day Unit.

M&P ICC Hub  6.JPGCourtney Curr is the senior hub coordinator. She said:

“We coordinate the community team referrals and allocate district nursing schedules, we also help coordinate rapid responses for patients who require it – say perhaps someone has fallen and needs help quickly. This means that the clinical teams are able to spend more time with patients rather than needing to be in the office to take referrals and queries.  

“We have a great team and are supported by the professional of the day if we need specialist clinical advice to understand how we are able to best support a request. We field about 100 calls every single day.”

Swabbing team:

Also in the hub is the covid swabbing team. This team delivers covid swabs for care homes, nursing homes and residential home across the north of the county. They also support patients who are scheduled for a procedure.

Zoe James  2.JPGZoe James is the swabbing team administration apprentice and she explained:

“If there is a suspected covid outbreak in a care home, for example, then we go and take swabs from the whole premises so we can monitor the situation and support the home to put in the best protection measures. We also swab patients who are going into hospital for a procedure. We undertake their swab a couple of days before to ensure that they don’t have covid and are well enough for their procedure.

“We support that for the hospitals in north Cumbria as well as for Cumbrian patients who are having a procedure in other hospitals such as those in the north east. While those hospitals do provide a swabbing service it is better for the patient to not travel all that way for a swab that can be done here.”

District nurses and home care practitioners:

Upstairs are the home care practitioners and the district nursing team. All of the home care practitioners have left for their rounds but we managed to catch up with senior community nurse Lorraine Sowerby.

Lorraine Sowerby 1a.JPGLorraine said:

“We deliver lots of different services to people in their own homes such as complex wound care to palliative care and end of life care. We also do preventative work like our stocking clinic which help prevent leg ulcers.

“We are a really friendly team but we are small – only around 11 of us to cover the whole area of Maryport and Cockermouth. The whole Maryport hospital family are really supportive of each other and we all help each other when we need to.

“Something that has developed in response to the pandemic is agile working – we are now able to update our notes either at the patient’s home or in the car. It means we don’t have to wait and do it all when we get back to the base. It’s much better and more timely.”

And it doesn’t stop there! Also delivered in the hospital are the

  • Outpatient MSK physiotherapy
  • Midwives
  • Health visitors
  • Podiatry
  • Diagnostic ultrasound
  • Physical activity on referral services
  • Health Psychology
  • Cumbria Medical services
    • Minor surgery
    • Ophthalmology
    • Dermatology

So you can really see that the hospital is certainly a hub of activity with hundreds of patients being supported through all the different teams, with each team supporting each other to deliver high quality care every time.