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All the latest from the Trust | May 2023

Intro from the Chair

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

May has been a busy month with three bank holidays and I hope you enjoyed spending time with your friends and family as well as marking the Coronation of King Charles III.

It is great to see that waiting list times are coming down and we continue to make good progress in this area.

Looking ahead to the summer, we have elections to the Governors Council and will be looking for nominations for 21 places on the council. We’re keen to have more people on board who want to actively get involved – so please consider if you could put yourself forward for election. 

Steven Morgan


No patients waiting over 78 weeks

Latest figures published by NHS England show that at the end of March 2023, there were no patients waiting over 78 weeks for a planned procedure or operation for the first time since the pandemic began. We also had less people waiting 52 weeks. It’s good news for our patients that despite the pressures we continue to face, we achieved what we set out to do which was to make sure nobody was waiting as long as 78 weeks for a procedure by the end of March. We still have a lot of work to do to reduce the number of people waiting 52 weeks but we are confident that we are on the right track to get patients the care they need more quickly while maintaining quality and safety standards.

Nursing workforce boost

Boosting our nursing work force.pngThrough a combination of new approaches including international recruitment and a ‘grow your own’ scheme our nursing vacancy rate is the lowest it has ever been in north Cumbria. Our grow your own scheme has seen us appointing hundreds of people locally and supporting them to develop and train while they work. As a result, our nursing vacancy rate has dropped to 6.4% which is almost half the national average. Read more on our public website including stories from our staff and information about routes into nursing.

Spotlight on our Emergency Departments

The Emergency Department teams at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital are the front door of our acute hospitals and often the first contact for our patients. The teams see a wide range of patients and they spend a lot of time making sure patients are kept safe and receive the care or treatment they need as soon as possible. Emergency medicine is a specialty in its own right and the teams’ ultimate goal is to keep the space in the Emergency Department for what the teams do best. To get a clearer understanding of what the ED team is dealing with on a daily basis, we followed Emma Farrow and the team for a day at CIC.

West Cumberland Development progress update

WCH build.jpgIt’s been a whole year since the first brick was laid for the second phase of the £40m West Cumberland Hospital development in Whitehaven. A lot has happened in those 12 months.

Find out more about how the walls were made off site and delivered straight to the hospital using a special trailer, how many cranes were needed to put the building up, the effect of the fire and the services that will make the move to the new building once complete.

Making memories in May

It’s been a busy month at the Trust. Not only have we celebrated the Coronation but we also marked International Day of the Midwife and International Day of the Nurse. We are so proud of the extra effort our staff made for making the Coronation a day to remember for patients. Many of our wards were decorated by our amazing staff and every patient in hospital on Coronation weekend received free bedside TV and an afternoon tea. Matron Kevin Harrow was privileged to be in the Queen Victoria grandstand outside Buckingham Palace and had a fantastic (but wet!) view of all of the action. Find out more in the Governor column from staff governor Jessie McCarron about how patients celebrated the coronation.

Maternal Mental Health Service secures funding

A maternal mental health service in north Cumbria – introduced to improve the minds of expectant and new parents - has reached its first anniversary and is set to continue.

Whether you’re planning, expecting or caring for a new baby, there is often an expectation that you will feel happy and joyful. However, it can be a challenging time and parents can experience a range of emotional, psychological or mental health difficulties. Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, which started at the beginning of May, seeks to raise awareness of these difficulties and the range of support available.

Sometimes unexpected events occur during pregnancy and childbirth. For this reason, the Maternal Mental Health Service, aims to help those who have had a traumatic experience related to pregnancy and childbirth; perinatal loss and those who have a fear, anxiety, or phobia associated with pregnancy, childbirth, hospital or medical procedures.

Heart Centre progress

The work to extend and renovate the Heart Centre at CIC is progressing well. We expect the scaffolding to be taken down by the end of May and the walk way will be reinstated. Once complete, the extension will mean a much improved patient experience and will decrease waiting times for patients to be treated. All patients across north Cumbria who need emergency treatment for a severe heart attack or who need specialist cardiac treatment are supported by The Heart Centre. There are more than 2,000 procedures (both planned and emergency) carried out each year there. The treatments include coronary angiography, in which x-ray is used to obtain images of the heart arteries and percutaneous coronary intervention – a procedure that can be used to unblock a blood vessel and implant a stent to keep the artery open. The whole project is due to complete later this year.

New meeting schedule for NCIC board and committees

A new meeting schedule for the NCIC board and committees is now fully operational. You can find all the information you need, including all the new dates on our website.

Awareness events

This month our experts have covered a number of awareness weeks and months. We started May by marking World Hand Hygiene Day, Heart Failure Awareness Week, Dying Matters Week, Insulin Safety Week and Dementia Action Week.

Dates for the diary

  • The next Governor’s Council meeting takes place on June 1 at People First on Milbourne Street, Carlisle from 1.30pm. Members can come along and listen to their Governors reviewing the performance of the Board of Directors and represent their communities in the governance of the Trust. If you would like to attend or have any queries please contact 01228 936230 or email
  • Governor elections will take place over the summer. The election process will commence in July and conclude in September. Nominations will be open for 21 places on the Governor’s Council, so if you’re interested in helping shape the future of healthcare in north Cumbria, then please put yourself forward.
  • Save the date: Our annual members meeting will take place in early November The Governors Council will be confirming arrangements for the meeting at their meeting on 1 June 2023. 

Member and Governor update

This month’s column comes from Jessie McCarron who is a staff governor. Jessie has worked for the Trust for eight years as a domestic assistant at West Cumberland Hospital. Earlier this year, she has changed jobs and is now the activity co-ordinator on Ward 4 at West Cumberland Hospital which support patients with dementia.

Jessie says, “I’ve just started my new job in March and it’s a brand new role. One of the things I’ve done is set up the breakfast club where patients come to the dining room to meet up, watch TV and have breakfast. It gives patients a reason to get up and dressed and mix with each other in a supportive environment. I’ve also used the room to organise activities and crafting and in the run up to the coronation, I brought in my sewing machine and we made aprons. One of our patients had been a seamstress and took to it straight away. I came in for the day of the coronation and we made pom poms, crown decorations, and afternoon tea, everyone really enjoyed it.

“I became a staff governor because it’s important that staff have a voice. When I first came in I didn’t know anything about governors, but it’s important to for us to know what is going on and have our say. Everyone knows me and I like to tell people about things they might not know about like support they can access. I also put up information in the hospital to tell people what’s going on. I’d like more staff to be governors, so think about putting yourself forward in the summer and I’m happy for anyone to contact me to find out more.”

Governor questions

Jacqueline Nicol asked what happens if you can’t find a parking space at the Cumberland Infirmary? Do you have to still pay to park? She was enquiring after a patient paid £1 to get out of the car park after failing to find a space.

Stephen Prince, Associate Director of Estates & Facilities, said: “There is an 11 minute grace period whereby you can exit without paying to allow for this scenario. At busy times some do exceed this grace period – I think most press the intercom and ask to be let out for free which Mitie do allow. Sometimes they also deploy a member of the staff to the exit barrier to help manage this situation.”

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

If you have any concerns or comments please contact your governors on the email below. We are here to raise any concerns on your behalf.  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: 

Keep right up to date

You can keep right up to date with our news on our public website or follow us on Facebook, linked in or twitter @ncicnhs. On our website you can also see a full version of NCIC news with images included.


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