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All the latest from the Trust | April 2022

Intro from the chair

Peter Scott

Hello and welcome to our newsletter for foundation trust members and the wider community.

Some of our highlights from the last month feature below.

I was pleased to hear that we hit the target for ensuring that all patients who have been waiting more than 104 weeks for their treatment had been seen. Well done to all staff who worked hard to make sure this happened.

This month, the Trust is launching Listening into Action (LiA) – a new and different concept about making things happen. Small changes can make big differences and we want to listen and empower staff at all levels to take action and improve their working lives. Watch this space.

It is good to see that Covid-19 rates nationally are dropping and that we have been able to reinstate visiting at our sites. Please continue to follow the infection prevention measures that are in place.

Congratulations to Professor Matt Phillips who has played a leading role in developing national guidance to support the understanding of HIV and the law. 

Thank you for your support and please do not hesitate to get in touch with any thoughts, comments or suggestions for next time.

Peter Scott

Elective recovery

The Trust has hit the target for ensuring that all patients who have been waiting more than 104 weeks for their treatment had been seen.  In relation to patients waiting more than 52 weeks, we are well ahead of our plan - we planned to reduce the number of people waiting to 1,792 and have actually achieved 998. The total number of patients waiting is also below target at 31,977 (our target was 32,550).  There’s been a lot of work by the teams to make this happen so thank you to everyone for this real concerted effort to reduce the waiting times for our patients. 

Unfortunately, we have not been as successful for people waiting for cancer treatment. The 62 week waits are currently at 232 patients against a target of 112. Cancer recovery will be our key focus the year ahead. 

Update on visiting 

Visiting restrictions are being eased as the country learns to live with COVID-19.

All inpatients can now have up to two visitors for one hour each day across all of our hospital sites.

In order to ensure the safety of our staff, patients and visitors, there will still be infection prevention measures in place, including suspending of visiting in any areas that have an outbreak.

In our multi bed bays, to prevent overcrowding, each bed will be allocated a dedicated timeslot for their visitors. This will be managed on each ward and patients will be encouraged to share their timeslot with family members where they are able. 

Infection prevention measures in place include:

  • Suspending visiting in outbreak areas (wards in outbreak will be noted on our main location pages CIC  / WCH  / other locations).
  • Asking visitors not to attend if they are showing any symptoms of COVID-19 or feeling unwell.
  • As with arrangements prior to the pandemic, children under 5 are discouraged from attending where possible.
  • Lateral flow tests are no longer  required for visitors.
  • On your way in, please also use the hand sanitisers found at every entrance.

This advice covers visiting to all our adult inpatient units at the Cumberland Infirmary, West Cumberland Hospital and all of our community hospitals. 

Visiting guidance to maternity and paediatrics has not changed. 

  • birthing partners are able to visit maternity units
  • parents or legal guardians are able to visit in the children’s unit
  • Please also consider other ways of keeping in touch with your family and friends, such as phone calls and video calls on tablets. 

All patients in our hospitals have access to our free wifi so they can keep in touch with family and friends. 

Attending outpatient appointments

In keeping with NHS England recommendations in outpatients, diagnostic settings and the emergency department, patients may be accompanied by one close family contact, or somebody important to the patient, to support the patient with complex/difficult decision making

Partners of pregnant women across north Cumbria are now able to attend all antenatal scans taking place at West Cumberland Hospital, The Cumberland Infirmary and Penrith Birthing Centre. The latest guidance is on our maternity pages.

You should not visit any of our locations under any circumstance if you're unwell, especially if you have a high temperature or a new, persistent cough.  We ask for your help in respecting these rules.

Professor Phillips leads on national guidance on HIV and the law

NCIC’s Associate Medical Director, Professor Matt Phillips, has played a leading role in developing national guidance to support the understanding of HIV and the law. 

The guidance, ‘British HIV Association Position Statement on HIV and the Law’, supports both clinicians and people living with HIV by clarifying some of the issues where the law overlaps with clinical practice, thereby working to reduce undue concern and stigma.

Mr Phillips said: “I’m really proud to have been the chair for this writing group of national experts from the third sector, the legal academic sector and healthcare. It may not be known that people living with HIV can be prosecuted in the UK when the virus is transmitted unintentionally. This can leave people living with HIV with questions about risks in relation to criminal prosecution and practitioners unclear of the right advice to give.   

“While the issue of transmission is clearer – if someone’s viral load is undetectable then the virus is not transmittable – people living with HIV remain at risk of allegations of criminal transmission, and sometimes prosecution.

“This work has significance in north Cumbria too- it is useful anywhere where clinicians might be advising people living with HIV about transmission. That occurs in general practices, antenatal work, on acute wards etc - not just in specialised services.

“I’m delighted to be part of this work, as I was in 2013 for the last iteration. It is an area I have contributed to over the majority of my professional career- it’s wonderful to contribute to work that really furthers the cause of the people we serve and I’m really chuffed to showcase that north Cumbria is a place that contributes to national work.”

You can read the full guidance on the British HIV Association’s website

Listening Into Action

The Trust is part of Listening into Action (LiA) – a new and different concept about making things happen.  It starts with a Pulse check for all staff to check how they are feeling and to share ideas.

One hundred leaders, across all levels, are then engaged in groups of 10 to make changes that matter to them and which link back directly to what staff have said.  Some changes will be big and others small but all will make a difference and all will have been developed and driven by staff.

We will be listening to staff and empowering leaders at all levels to take action, with the full backing of the Trust.

If we give this 100 per cent, we will make NCIC a place where people want to work, with a kind, honest and compassionate culture, where action speaks louder than words.

You can find out more about LiA here and watch our special video.

‚Äč‚ÄčThanks to nurses and midwives

International Day of the Midwife and International Day of the Nurse take place next month. We are asking patients and the local community to share their messages of thanks.

The two days celebrate the commitment and dedication of midwives and nurses around the world. The events take place on May 5 and May 12.

Have you had a positive nursing experience? Or have you, or a family member, had great care when you had a baby in one of hospitals? Would you like to share your story? If so then please contact

Results of outpatient survey

Forty-seven responses were received to our outpatient survey. The results showed that 13 people found the booking process easy and 12 difficult. Thirty-six people said they were not given an option to choose the location of their appointment when booking.

Most respondents said the location was convenient and nine said they would recommend the booking system to friends and family.

The friendly staff and promptness of getting an appointment were plus points but the wait times were unacceptable to some.

Larger rooms for appointments were also suggested. The full results have been shared with the outpatient services improvement programme and will be used to shape their work.

Keep up to date with our latest news

You can keep right up to date with the latest news from the Trust on our public website and on our social media channels, Twitter and Facebook.

Member and Governor update 

Lead Governor update

We understand from National headlines how much stress our NHS is under. Our NCIC staff are working under very challenging conditions to provide the best service they can to our community. Despite the very real achievements in removing and reducing waiting times for long waiters, the impact on our patients should not be under-estimated. Unfortunately it will take time to reduce our waiting times to pre-pandemic levels and there will continue to be unavoidable cancellations. You should receive information on how to manage your condition while you wait and an idea of how long the wait will be. Please contact your governors about your experiences of waiting/cancellations; be reassured the Trust is working as hard as it can to deal with the backlog.

Stroke Prevention Programme

The Copeland Stroke Prevention Group plans to start the programme again. Trying to ensure that as many people as possible are checked for atrial fibrillation and high blood pressure which can then lead to your GP prescribing medication and advice to reduce your risk of strokes. One way is to ensure that these checks form part of any visits to your GPs or hospital. Remember the key, as always is a healthy lifestyle and reducing alcohol intake and smoking.

Car parking

This continues to be an issue at our hospital car parks.

Please respect disabled parking places, this is a particular issue at CIC. Disabled people often need that extra space to get out of their vehicle as well as the nearest assess to the hospital.

WCH continues to have an issue with broken machines and penalties. Though there is a plan to provide pay as you exit machine as at CIC this is unlikely to happen until the Phase 2 building work has been completed. I will be meeting with the manager to ensure that issues raised about unfair penalties are addressed. Though car parking at WCH is a private company, they have to adhere to NHS Car Parking guidance.

As a reminder Free parking is provided for the following categories:

  • Disabled People
  • Frequent outpatient attenders (at least 3 times within a month, for an overall period of at least 3 months).
  • Parents of sick children staying overnight. (7.30-8am to a maximum of 2 vehicles.)
  • Staff working night shifts (7.30-8).
  • As well as voluntary categories which are expected to be offered by all Trusts. (see website)

Opportunities to meet your governors

We will be trialling opportunities for members to meet governors next month.  In the first instance, Governors will be at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital on Friday 27th May between 1pm and 4pm.   We will be in the Atrium (CIC) and by the coffee shop (WCH).  Come and meet your governors; this is your opportunity to provide feedback on NCIC services and receive updates on Trust services. 

We are keen to reach out to other areas too, so please email us at and let us know when and where you would like to engage with your governors so we can consider this for the future.

Carole Woodman, Lead Governor 

Governors questions 

This month, governors asked a number of questions.

William Miskelly asked what arrangements are in in our Trust to make services accessible for patients who communicate using British Sign Language.

We can confirm that pre-arranged language interpreters, including BSL, can be arranged, via the Patient Experience Team. This information is also on our website.

Jacqueline Nicol asked a question about signage at A&E after a patient tried to access A&E from the atrium to find it said no entry.

Thank you to Jaqueline for raising this. We are now looking at how signage and access might be improved.

Carole Woodman asked if the Trust knows how many people have dropped off our waiting lists because they have gone private or given up? A response to this will be provided in due course.

Become a member

Anyone living in Cumbria over the age of 14 can become a member, you can choose how much or how little you want to be involved – join today

Concerns or comments

More information on the members of the Governors’ Council and their role can be found on our website. If you have any comments or suggestions please contact us via the email below:

Carole Woodman
Lead Governor

Until next monththank you