All the latest from the Trust | January 2024

Intro from the Chair

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

January has been a busy month at NCIC. We have battled the weather – from ice and snow to gale force winds and rain. Our community teams have nevertheless battled on visiting and caring for patients and we thank them for going that extra mile.

Our new heart centre labs at the Cumberland Infirmary – which represent an investment of £3.4m – are now up and running and we hope to have an official event to mark their opening in the Spring. Meanwhile, plans for a new endoscopy unit – also at the Cumberland Infirmary – have now been submitted to Cumberland Council.

Our corporate strategy has been published. More details are below. We are keen for feedback so do get in touch if you have any thoughts or suggestions.

Steven Morgan


Inside the new Heart Centre 

control room 3 CIC heart centre.jpgWe are sharing a look inside the new Heart Centre at the Cumberland Infirmary. The new labs are an investment of £3.4m and have replaced the single lab with two new larger new labs meaning both emergency and planned procedures can be carried out at the same time. Patients are now being treated in the new labs and we hope to be fully operational - using both labs at the same time - by Spring.

Operational update 

Winter pressures were reflected in the latest data published by NHS England. Although locally the overall size of our waiting lists hasn’t fallen, there are fewer patients waiting more than 52 weeks and 65 weeks. More than 8,000 people started their treatment with us in November and more cancer patients received treatment within 62 days in November compared to October. We continue to do all that we can to reduce our waiting lists and we are encouraging patients to get in touch if their condition changes. We also ask that patients please let us know if they no longer need to be on our waiting list. Throughout December, we saw an increase in numbers of people coming through our emergency services with almost 10,500 people coming through our doors. We continue to encourage patients to consider using an Urgent Treatment Centre instead of A&E if their condition is not life-threatening. If you are not sure which service is right for you, please use who can advise.

In December and January, we put plans in place to manage the impact of the junior doctors industrial action. To maintain patient safety during this period, 18 elective procedures and 308 outpatients appointments were stood down. We are now working on making sure that anyone who had an appointment postponed are rescheduled as soon as possible.

Strategy document published 

Our Strategy thumbnail.pngOur new Trust strategy – one team delivering outstanding connected care - has been published. The strategy was agreed at Trust board earlier this month and has been developed taking into account previous feedback. 

To help us achieve our ambition, we have developed four strategic objectives focused on our patients, people, partners and pounds (financial and environmental sustainability). This will be underpinned by a number of supporting aims and delivered through three-phases which will help improve, integrate and grow care.

Feedback on the document can be submitted to:

New endoscopy unit at CIC 

Plans have now been submitted for the new Endoscopy unit at the Cumberland Infirmary. An artist’s impression shows the new state-of-the-art facility which will be housed in part of the current visitor’s car park. This has also given us the chance to improve and increase the car parking provision at CIC in the long term, and we will soon be submitting plans to re-provide the parking spaces that will be built on.

Women urged to take up cervical screening invite   

Julie Thomas no mask.jpgExperts at NCIC are urging those who have been invited for a smear test to book an appointment during Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
Cervical screenings, or smear tests, are known to save lives by detecting cancer early. Yet in the UK nearly a third of 25 -64 year olds failed to book their appointments when invited to last year.
In Cumbria the figures are better than the national average but 25 per cent of all women who are invited do not book their appointment.
Sister Julie Thomas, an oncology nurse specialist at NCIC, said: “Please do not defer your smear if it is due, attending your smear test could save your life.
“If you are not due your smear but you have developed any concerning symptoms then please make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible for examination.”

Cumbria Sexual Health Services are supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. To book an appointment contact 01228 608989.

Olympic ice stars raise cash for Special Care Baby Unit 

Stacey and David ice stars.jpegAn Olympic ice skating couple - whose baby was cared for in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle – are putting their skates on to raise cash for the ward. 

David and Stacey King, from Carlisle, had a hugely successful ice skating career which included national titles and appearances at two Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Sochi.

Following retirement from competitive skating, the couple started a family. However, complications arose when Stacey contracted sepsis while she was pregnant with her daughter, Darcey. As a result, Darcey was born 10-weeks early in 2020 during the middle of the covid pandemic.

David and Stacey are opening the prestigious Trophee D’Ecosse Challenger International competition at the Dumfries Icebowl and are giving their fee to SCBU, as well as hoping to raise awareness of the work that the staff do.

Funds will be donated to the North Cumbria Hospitals NHS Charity who have a fund specifically for SCBU. Find out more about raising funds for our charity, or like our North Cumbria NHS Hospitals charity page on Facebook.

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 we have marked Stroke Prevention Day and issued advice as to how to avoid pressure ulcers, signs and symptoms of prostate cancer and how to stay warm and well during the cold weather.

Be Involved: Become a member

Member and Governor update

This month’s governor column is from Mary Ann Hargreave. MaryAnn Hargreave.jpg

What makes me a governor and why do I do it?

In answer –

  • I have several decades of career healthcare experience which ranges from clinical/ Director of Nursing to independent sector UK wide not for profit hospitals and then commercial hospitals management and development followed by an organisation and management development role in a national setting with both the NHS and with one of the Big 5 international consultancies. 
  • Consequently I am continually interested in the work of health care and how the NHS operates to give the best and right outcome for patients.
  • My nature makes me want to see improvements in all aspects and to use experience as a trigger for simple and easily implemented solutions to what seem to be intractable problems.
  • I have already done it for nine years with another Foundation Trust.

After early career retirement I took on voluntary roles which eventually led to my becoming a governor of an NHS Foundation Trust. Initially, I became the Chair of an arms-length body - the Public and Patient Involvement Forum (PPIF) associated with the acute hospitals in Newcastle. That led me to become an Appointed Governor of Newcastle Hospitals and, on the disbandment of all PPIFs, to become a public governor as Newcastle Hospitals was officially licenced as an F.T.

In that time I worked with the Chair on the development of the structure of the Council of Governors and governor working groups, ran the new governor induction programmes with the Trust Secretary and sat on various Trust wide committees. I also Chaired the Business Development Group, putting in place the concept of working with an appropriate Non Executive Director before it was recognised as common practice.

NCIC has a range of governor working groups. One of those which is very important to you as well as to the Trust, is the Member and Engagement Working Group (E&MG).

  • The role of all governors, as the link between you and the Trust as a public benefit corporation, is key. The Trust serves the public and the public – we – pay for it, so it is incumbent on it to provide for us what healthcare we need. The E&M Group focusses on assisting the Board to make that happen.
  • Governors make contact with you as members and with the public – not only to inform you about what the Trust already offers but to gain information to assist with planning for future needs. An E&M strategy is currently being developed in order for it to contribute to the NCIC five-year overall management strategy.
  • Please come forward to meet with us and tell us what you need. We will then transfer that information to the Trust Board – that is what we do and how the Trust achieves the best and appropriate healthcare for you.

We look forward to meeting you!

Mary Ann Hargreave

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: 

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