Board summary - November 2023

The session started with a collection of patient stories from those who have recent experience of the new MSK Physiotherapy Strength Classes. With a strong evidence base behind it, the classes focus on strength training using weights for those experiencing certain musculoskeletal symptoms and was described as life changing by the patients who shared their experience of the service. It was hugely inspirational to hear about the positive impact the classes had had, from regaining independence, returning to much loved hobbies and even tackling depression.

Positive news and assurance

  • The pilot of Frailty Virtual Ward in Wyre Forest has been evaluated, confirming the success of the model in preventing hospital admission, maintaining care at home and positive feedback from patients and carers. Interim funding to roll-out the model to the Evesham, Pershore, Upton and Malvern locality has been agreed, whilst further consideration is given to the future countywide roll out plan.
  • A robust vaccination plan is in place for staff this winter, based on national best practice. In accordance with our previous approaches, we are working with partners to deliver the annual influenza and Covid vaccinations.
  • The Trust improvement plan, generated from verbal feedback from CQC, has delivered substantial staff engagement which is hugely positive. Thanks were noted for the 580+ staff who have participated in sessions to date.  The themes for further development of our values and culture are; compassion. just and learning and trauma informed .
  • Further work will now continue on behaviours which underpin these values and processes and structures will be simplified.
  • Natalie Willetts, Director of Nursing and Quality, has been invited by NHS Employers to be a member of their Policy Board. The Policy Board acts as a critical friend for NHS Employers, providing independent advice, support and challenge.  Natalie will bring further updates to the Trust through appropriate mechanisms.
  • University of Worcester partnership - Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and The University of Worcester have forged a new research partnership to advance health research in the region. In addition, University of Worcester has welcomed their first cohort of medical students, partially funded by the Trust. This is part of a 15-year strategy to boost the national health workforce.
  • Freedom to Speak Up month was recognised by awareness raising, with a recruitment plan for additional champions planned for the new year.
  • Carole Cumino has been appointed by NHS England as a Non-Executive Director with effect from 7th November 2023 for a 3 year term and will chair the Mental Health Collaborative Committee. Sue Hicks is the assigned Non-Executive lead overseeing the Trust’s implementation of Patient and Carer Race Equality Framework (PCREF).

Matters of concern

  • We are working with the Good Governance Institute to ensure the appropriate management of risks outlined in the Board Assurance Framework.
  • Talking Therapies performance is recovering and is considered as business as usual, however, there are still challenges with long non-CBT therapy waits.
  • Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) progress is anticipated to increase with the commencement of the new Deputy Head of Patient Safety.
  • We are on track to deliver the forecasted efficiencies within the financial plan at month 6 despite the challenges faced e.g. high inflation. The system is under significant financial pressure and additional submissions to NHS England are being completed.


  • The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) report for 2018-2023 has been published. Three areas have been identified for improvement: likelihood of entering formal disciplinary proceedings, discrimination from a manager or other colleague in the last 12 months against BAME staff, and Board representation. Our areas of best performance are the likelihood of appointment from shortlisting and career progression in clinical and non-clinical roles.
  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its annual State of Care report on 20 October 2023, which notes continuing pressures with NHS capacity and demand which has been compounded by the cost of living crisis, industrial action and escalating workforce pressures.  We are awaiting the Well-Led report following inspection between February and June 2023.
  • An update on the achievements of the Worcestershire Joint Local Health and Wellbeing Strategy has been published, including; A needs assessment; engagement and research to shape services and effectively allocate resources; a new school fund for Worcestershire; and mental health signposting on suicide prevention and ‘Reach Out’ for young people.
  • Industrial action has continued, with action taken by the British Medical Association, Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association and British Dental Association during October.

Decisions made

  • The workforce programme will become the Attraction, Recruitment, Introduction, Support and Experience (ARIISE) Programme to bring the work onto a more structured footing, with clear governance in place and clearer aims, objectives, metrics, risks and deliverables.
  • Phase 2 of the children’s transformation programme will be designed and produced when systemic changes in the children’s system have been completed and review of next steps can be completed.
  • Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response (EPRR) Core Standards – NHSE have ratified the HWHCT 2023 submission and agreed an overall rating of 86% (Partial Compliance). A full report will be submitted to January 2024 Board.
  • Engagement with staff on Hillcrest to determine willingness to move to the new ward at Athelon has revealed preferences to remain working on the Hillcrest Unit. Arising from the discussions, however, has emerged a staff level suggestion that Hillcrest is now able to open up to 14 beds once more. A paper will be presented to CPAG to pursue this proposal further.