Brampton extension 3 web.jpgBrampton hospital is steeped in history, and next year will celebrate its one hundred year anniversary.  It opened on 6th September 1923 as a memorial for those who gave their lives in the First World War but since then has adapted to changing health care needs now providing a range of health and care services to the local community.

There have been many extensions and renovations to the building to make sure it remains fit for purpose and most recently an extension was built to extend and bring the inpatient unit right up to date. The hospitals charity the Brampton League of Friends contributed significantly to the cost of that work.  As you go into the hospital the in-patient unit with 16 beds is through the security doors on your left.

The ward at Brampton has temporarily expanded from the normal 16 beds to 18 to offset the temporary closure of Penrith hospital while it undergoes renovations. In true Cumbrian spirit the staff have joined forces to help make sure patient care is the best it can be; some of the nursing, therapy and health care staff normally based at the inpatient unit in Penrith have been redeployed to Brampton hospital ward.

Lesley Little is the ward manager she explained more about the inpatient unit:

“The ward provides patients the extra support they need to help them get home. Often we have quiteLesley Little 3 landscape web.jpg complex discharge needs including social needs that need wide ranging support from different agencies.

“Having the Penrith staff come to the ward was good and while we had different ways of doing things we have been able to develop a good working environment that really does feel like a family.

“When the Penrith ward reopens and the staff return we will have vacancies so we are already out to advert for some therapy and nursing roles.

“I do enjoy my work and we have a great camaraderie at Brampton, there is a family atmosphere and people are really supportive of each other. That was very evident during covid – we had a number of staff off ill and everyone else really did roll up their sleeves and get stuck in, we were there for each other.”

Margaret Jean Nicol and Abigail Carrott are health care assistants working on the ward. They have both been re deployed from Penrith.

Margaret Jean Nicol 2 landscape web.jpgMargaret said: “I think there is a nice team here and we work well together. Obviously Penrith and Brampton did things differently but we have worked out what works well for everyone and its really good.”

Abigail said:

“We help with personal care of the patients as well as checking for pressure care, helping turn the patients so they don’t get pressure ulcers – for some patients that means checking every two hours. WeAbigail Carrott 3 landscape web.jpg also help at meal times and we get to know the patients, we sit and chat to them and we often can have a giggle with them, not all of them but some patients we can.”

Sophie Ross is a registered nurse based on the ward she told me how much she enjoyed working on the ward:

“The ward at Brampton is a lovely place to work especially as you have a little bit more time to spend with the patients. You get to give care that really is person centred and holistic. I like our small team and I think that we do a really good job. It’s nice that we are able to follow patients up – speak to the GP or the district nursing team or ward they have been transferred to.

“We are very influential in the care planning and I am confident that when people are discharged from here to go to where they call hoe that are going to be ok. I also really like to work with the families and get them involved in the ongoing care of their loved ones n that is much easier now we have been able to bring visiting back.”

Brampton ward staff 2 landscape web .jpg

As you go into the hospital the in-patient unit is on your left and a lot of people won’t realise the wide range of other services that are also delivered and based from the hospital. These are down the corridor on your right but before that Suzanne Mason is the friendly face that greets you as you come into the hospital most days. She describes herself as a bit of a jack of all trades and supports all the services that are run from the Suzanne Mason  3 landscape web.jpghospital.

She said:

“Most of my work is supporting the ward as ward clerk but I also direct people coming in for appointments, contact the estates teams if there are issuing that need fixing in the building, I orders supplies for the ward, uniforms and stationary and I support all services with room bookings. All that as well as answering the numerous calls that come into the reception every day.”

Frances Bendle 4 web landscape.jpg“We have an office base at Brampton hospital. This small team of two covers Brampton and also Longtown and Alston. We have around 110 patients on our case load at any one time. We provide ante natal care in clinic setting at Brampton Hospital providing support for mums to be in Brampton area

 “To get the best outcome for mums, babies and families we work with a range of services including the hospital consultants, Paediatricians, perinatal mental health, physiotherapy, social care, health visiting, and other specialist midwives.  Also working  with agencies such as Barnardo’s, substance abuse networks and other 3rd sector groups to ensure that all agencies work together to help get the support mechanisms in place to best help mum, baby and families.

“My job is really interesting I like getting to know the mothers and their families, following each through their pregnancy and meeting baby afterwards is what I enjoy.”

Down the corridor a little further is the Integrated Care Community (ICC) hub and ICC administration team.

The office is the base for the district nurses and community therapy and rehabilitation teams who provide care directly to people in their own homes. They work very closely together and liaise with lots of different teams and services to ensure that patients get the right care at the right time in the right place.

The work of the teams in the ICC are coordinated through the ICC administration hub.

Julie explained:

Julie Weaver 1 web.jpg“We are in charge of preparing the daily huddle, making sure all the referrals from GPs, hospitals, patients and other services are clear for the ICC leads to then triage.  Also preparing Multi-Disciplinary Team lists from various services, GPs, Adult Social Care, North West Ambulance Service, the Memory Matters service and such.  We arrange schedules and referrals for the district nursing team and therapy teams.”

Mellissa added:

“We answer around 100 calls a day and they can be referrals or people wantingMelissa Ratcliffe 2 cropped web.jpg advice and signposting for other services. We work closely with the acute teams at the Cumberland infirmary (CIC). Each day we get a list of patients from our patch from CIC who have been admitted so that we can inform the district nursing and Therapy team if that patient has been scheduled for a visit. Also if patients from our ICC are ready for discharge, we help arrange for the patient to be assessed by nursing and therapy teams in their own home. If they are able to stay at home, we help with ordering equipment and arranging schedules for support visits. So we are a key cog in the discharge process as well as being a coordination centre for all community care needs across the ICC.”

There are 6 people in the whole administration team mostly working on a Full and part time basis.

The ICC Community rehabilitation service, consists of Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, assistant practitioners and health care practitioners. They provide the therapy needs across the Brampton and Longtown ICC. This is a huge geographical areas covering right up to the Scottish border – Newcastleton and Bewcastle, and the boundary with Northumberland including Gilsland and Midgeholme as well as the towns of Brampton and Longtown.

The team work closely with the district nursing team to the benefit of the patient to ensure that they receive high quality joined up care.

They also work cross boundary with other ICC therapy and rehabilitation teams to assist each other when required, such as if there are staffing shortages or patient surges.

Yvonne Armstrong is a District nurse and she explained how they support patients in their own home:

“There is a community District nursing team in Longtown and in Brampton and we work together to support each other where the needs are. As you can image the patch has a huge mileage and we have some very complex care needs for some of our patients.

“We liaise with other hospitals in relation to patients who are being discharged – this is not just the Cumberland infirmary though, this week I have been speaking to Lancaster and Kendal hospitals where a patient from our area was being discharged and I even spoke to a hospital in India who was discharging a patient back to our area. We are a very small team and we do have vacancies there are currently about 14 of us covering the whole patch.

“I feel very privileged to look after people in their own homes, that’s where people want to be. You get to know their families too and you feel part of a team as well as part of the community. We have a very close working relationship with the GPs as well as the wider multi-disciplinary team (therapy and other nursing teams).

“We cover a wide range of care needs in particular diabetic care – which can be very complex for some patients, injections, taking blood samples dressing care and a large part of the work is palliative end of life care.

“We are very privileged to be able to support people to die in dignity the way they would like to and to support the families during that time by making sure we can do all we can to make it as respectful as we are able. Every patient and family are different and we always work together to make sure that the wishes are upheld as much as we can.”

The district nursing team are very keen to grown their own and also to support people to return to nursing. The university of Cumbria have a course called return to practice where former nursing staff can do just that.

Claire Telford is a student nurse undertaking return to practice training and she is doing her placement work with the Brampton District nursing team.

Claire decided to return to practice last year, she had been a nurse for 14 years before taking a step back from it to raise her family. Last year on her social media feeds she kept noticing an advert for people who’d had a career in nursing to return and brush up their skills through the university of Cumbria.

She said:

Claire Telford 3 landscape web.jpg“At first I was really nervous, I thought I’ll never be able to do it so much has changed. I thought that it would take years to be able to come back but it didn’t. it has taken 6 months a lot of online training, one essay and placements.  People told me it would be like riding a bike and honestly it was. It is so easy to get back into it I would encourage anyone who is considering to come back to nursing to just do it. It will be different for people depending on how long you have been a way but I am so excited about getting back into it properly – I qualify in a few weeks.

“The university were so helpful any question I had they helped me with and at the Trust I have a mentor in Christine Magas.

“Don’t get me wrong it has been hard I’ve had to put the work to retrain and thing are different to how they were. Particularly the computer systems – everything was still handwritten when I left the digital age has made things much easier. The dressings have changed and people are much older and  have far more complex needs now

“I got a bursary but it isn’t enough to live off and I have had to work elsewhere to earn money but I am so pleased that I made the call after seeing that advert.

“There are opportunities for people to return to nursing no matter how long you have been away – one person in my cohort had been away for 25 years. There are also all disciplines of nursing, children, adult and learning disabilities.”

Gillian Clark is a home care practitioner again supporting people in their own home. She explained her role:

“We offer community based health care support and help those people who have been in hospital with their personal care, medications and other support to help patients get back on their feet and maintain their independence where possible. We generally work on our own but if required we do double up if a patient needs that level of support and we also support the therapy and district nurses on their visits if they needs us. I really enjoy my job it’s really varied and I get a sense of satisfaction in what I do.”

Brampton ICC 1 web.jpg

In the photo Gillian Clarke, Alison Rees, Yvonne Armstrong, Claire Telford, Christine Maggath.

At Brampton hospital there is a fully equipped gym for core physiotherapy services and there is also a specialist Musculo skeletal service held at the hospital too.

Clare Joenn is part of the NCMSK service who are a very specialist physiotherapy service supporting patients with osteoarthritis, spinal injuries and other joint injuries and issues. They work with the patients to understand the best action for their needs and to do this liaise with GPs and specialists in a range of services such as neurology, pain management, rheumatology and orthopaedics.

Clare Joenn close web.jpgThe team work with the patients to understand what their needs are and through a person centred approach together we decide the best action.

The team can refer into diagnostics such as MRI, CT scans to better understand conditions and then we take a very person centred approach. They take time to understand what the patient wants – pain management or a hip replacement for example.

Patients can have a range of options to manage their condition from, supplements, injections, weight loss, exercise all the way to a joint replacement operation. The team go through all options to see what is best for the patients.

There is a small team of 12 covering the whole of the north of Cumbria who will see around 70-80 new patients every week. They have bases in most community hospitals and in Carlisle that way they can bring our care closer to where people live.

At the end of the corridor there is an office base for the children’s speech and language therapy team. There I met Helen Phillips who is a Childrens speech and language therapist

Helen Phillips 4 web wide.jpgI am based in Brampton on a Monday and Tuesday and in Carlisle for the other days of the week. I am usually out and about visiting children in schools and nurseries but sometimes at home if their care is particularly complex.

“Having a base at Brampton Hospital is really helpful for accessing tests, materials, systems like Rio and printers and providing a friendly, flexible and consistent site for assessment and therapy – this is not always available in other places. We have a range of toys and games at Brampton which makes therapy fun for both child and therapist.

“Covid has meant that the services developed a long backlog like many other services. We have all worked exceptionally hard to manage this and our waiting list has reduced from 18 months to 6 months. It’s a great achievement but we have seen a large increase in the volume of therapy cases and because we weren’t able to deliver therapy directly for a long time we have found that the needs can be more complex and the children are often older.

“We support children with a wide range of conditions including language impairment speech disorders, selective mutism, and Autistic spectrum Condition (ASC) and can be involved for several years with some children who may have long term needs.

“Early intervention is best so speech and language skills develop as quickly as possible and lessen frustration. We work with children to help them build confidence and trust and very closely with parents, nursery and school staff as they need to continue and support the therapy after the weekly sessions.

“There are 10 therapists that cover East Cumbria from Aspatria to Alston and down to Kirkby Stephen and a similar number in West and South of the County. At present some of us have up to 100 children on our case load and the specialists who need to provide more intensive support should have around 50 children.

We do have vacancies in the teams but we are working at growing our own. We have an assistant who wants to train as an SLT and we hope she will want to come back to us.”

As well as the services already mentioned the following services also run from the hospital

  • Podiatry
  • Mental health services
  • Persistent Pain services
  • Diabetic eye screening
  • Core physiotherapy

News tags