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All the latest from the Trust | January 2022

Intro from the chair

Peter Scott

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

2021 was not an easy year as we continued to live and work through the Covid pandemic. I would like to thank you all for the continued support you give to the Trust.

This month’s bulletin highlights the ongoing work at NCIC as part of our winter plan and the ongoing battle against the latest variant of Covid, Omicron.

We are planning to issue this newsletter on the last Friday of every month to keep you up to date with what’s happening at the Trust. We are also really keen to hear from you with your views each month.

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

I hope you are managing to stay safe and well and if you haven’t yet had your booster please do get one – it’s really important!

Wishing you all the best for 2022.

Peter Scott

Happy new year

Christmas and new year have been exceptionally challenging with the rapid spread of the omicron variant of Coronavirus impacting on patients, colleagues and our services. 

Over the holiday we have experienced the highest number of admissions since this time last year and we are expecting this to increase in the coming weeks. We wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge and thank you for your ongoing support during this extremely challenging time.

Colleagues across the Trust have responded tremendously well and done a great job in ensuring the best possible patient care in very trying circumstances.

Latest situation

The number of patients in hospital that have Coronavirus continues to rise. We are continuing to manage a number of outbreaks across our sites.  

We are also continuing to see a significant impact on our workforce with many staff having to isolate due to Covid related matters. The situation is changing from day to day and as ever we will do our best to keep you updated with the latest information.

Our winter plan and how you can do your bit

In the past 18 months the NHS has faced its toughest challenge to date and this has undoubtedly had an impact on our services, our workforce and our communities. Now we are into the winter months, we know that the pressure will not ease across health and social care. As well as managing the increased demand that winter always brings we continue to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and reducing our elective care waiting lists.

The pandemic has taught us all a lot, and thanks to the continued amazing efforts of our staff our focus will continue to be delivering safe, high quality care to our patients.

To do that, we have a strong plan in place alongside colleagues in health and social care.

One of our main priorities this winter is working with our partners to ensure our patients are in the right place at the right time. We have high numbers of patients who no longer need hospital care, but they are unable to be discharged due to shortages of appropriate placements and care packages in the community. We know that being in hospital longer than necessary is not good for patients and that people recover quicker at home if they have the right support in place. To help this we are looking at different support that can be given and have started a recruitment programme for additional homecare practitioners to provide short term care in patient’s homes.

Helping people who no longer need hospital care to go home is also important because we have to keep beds available for patients coming in for a planned operation or procedure. Our priority is to reduce for the number of patients waiting for a planned (elective) procedure. Our waiting lists have grown as a result of Covid and many patients are waiting much longer than we would like.

We are developing ways to ensure that only appropriate cases come to A&E and that the most serious are prioritised and treated quickly. This includes working with North West Ambulance Service to make sure only those who require urgent and life threatening care come to A&E and those with symptoms such as abdominal pain and shortness of breath are seen by our same day emergency care unit.

We are also asking our communities to ‘do your bit’ to help us this winter:

  • Think pharmacy, GP and NHS 111 online first. Please only attend A&E or call 999 if you have a serious or life-threatening emergency
  • Get your flu and Covid-19 vaccinations
  • If you suspect you have Covid-19 stay at home and arrange a test
  • If you are visiting any of our healthcare settings, please remember to wear a face covering and use our handwashing and alcohol gel facilities
  • Please keep your hospital, clinic or GP appointment. If you can’t make it, do let us know so we can offer that appointment to others.

Trust welcomes Christmas and New Year's Day babies

Our maternity wards were busy over the festive season with four babies born on Christmas Day and eight on New Year’s Day.

Welcome to the world little ones and thanks to all our staff who worked over the festive period.

Hospital chaplain takes on NHS 2022 fundraising challenge​​​​​​

Ian Newton, hospital chaplain, has signed up for the 100 days 500 miles One Million Steps: A celebration of movement and wellbeing supporting the North Cumbria Hospitals NHS Charity.

Ian is no stranger to challenges; during 2021 Ian took on Captain Sir Tom Moore’s 100 challenge and aimed to undertake 100 volunteer vaccination shifts. Having served as a steward he paid to train as a volunteer vaccinator and exceeded his aim by completing 152 volunteer shifts. He took up walking during the first lock down and lost an incredible six stone in weight. This has prompted him to take on his latest challenge to raise funds for the local NHS and he hopes he will inspire others. He said: “We are proud of our NHS. One of the ways we can all help them is to maintain our fitness levels. Walking is a great way to get healthy and keep healthy. This challenge also enables me to raise some funds for our local NHS trust. Being in hospital can be a difficult and distressing time for anyone, with the funding raised through the charity we support projects and services that make a real difference. Join me in supporting your local NHS and enjoying a healthy lifestyle.” 

North Cumbria Hospitals NHS Charity is the official charity that supports the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital. The charitable fund helps improve the experience of patients and their loved ones.
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​​New year, new you

Whether you choose to make New Year resolutions or not, every January feels like a new beginning, ripe with possibility and opportunity.

Once the grogginess of New Year’s Eve has faded and the Christmas spirit has waned, how do you seize the momentum of the coming year and take positive steps towards the life you want to lead?

The last year has forced many of us to work from home and exercise at home – or in our local vicinity – some of you may be doing less exercise than you used to or may have fallen into bad snacking habits while working at home.

The NHS has some top tips to help you achieve your New Year health goals:

Taking part in a healthy activity means doing anything that improves your health and wellbeing. This could be:

    • going for a run
    • taking part in an exercise class
    • improving your sleep habits
    • making time for meditation
    • attending a health event
    • going for a health check-up

You do not have to run a marathon. Taking any small step towards improving your mind and body counts.

We hope this will be a great way to beat the January blues and get 2022 off to the best possible start!

Keep up to date with the 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

William Miskelly has been a public governor for Allerdale at NCIC since March 2020, just as the Covid-19 pandemic began. 

Despite the restrictions that this brought, William threw himself wholeheartedly into the role on a mission to improve how the Trust listens to a range of people in our communities - and he has his own personal reasons that drive him.

Now, almost two years on, his hope for 2022 is that more people from a wide range of backgrounds have their say in the provision of their health care services – and he needs your help.

William explains: “Since I’ve come into the role, I’ve taken it upon myself to get in touch with people in different ways – through virtual platforms or even just writing to people. In the early days it was just linking with groups to get shopping and prescriptions for people in the neighbourhood. 

“By being a governor, I found out more about the need for meet and greet volunteers, so I helped out by doing this on Saturdays and Sundays at CIC. This helped me connect with our communities including the staff and understand their concerns.

“As a public governor I can be approached to ask questions to the Trust, which I get a quick answer to most of the time. I have then completed my induction to become a Patient Experience Volunteer in December 2021, this is aimed at keeping patients connected to their family and friends as well as supporting the ward staff. I am now a Patient Experience Volunteer on Saturdays and Sundays because I just wanted to help the staff out who are working extremely hard under extreme circumstances.”

William is able to use that insight to help shape the work of the governor’s council, who link directly with the board of directors.

William’s main passion is to encourage inclusion in all of its forms in every part of life and has recently joined some of the Trust’s staff networks including the cultural diversity staff network.  He said: “I feel that Equality and Diversity is something that is really important. I have had to face barriers myself having grown up in care. I was also born with two club feet, had various operations and still do physiotherapy exercises every day. As a kid when you are growing up if you are different it makes you think you have to do everything better.”  

William now would like to encourage more people in the local area to get involved so that everyone’s voice is valued and heard, “The NHS has kept me alive - now I want to give something back and to ask more people to join me.”

“As a member, you can do as much or as little as you want, but you are just part of something bigger with lots of opportunities. If you find out more about what is going on, there will be something that you are passionate about and can make a difference with.  As a member you can also stand as a governor if you want to, and you can represent the views of members living in your area. Cumbria has very different needs, for example the area I represent, Allerdale, no two localities have the same healthcare needs. If we all speak, we will be heard and we can help shape our healthcare system for the future.

“We’ve got to speak to each other a bit more.  Our Trust serves our community and our community needs to let the Trust know what they want. The more people are involved, the more things can actually change.”

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

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