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I'm Mark Yates, Chair of Herefordshire and Mark yates portraitWorcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust. Each quarter we produce 'Connect', a newsletter sharing exciting news and updates from our services across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Subscribe and receive this newsletter direct to your inbox each quarter.

Alternatively, browse previous editions by clicking the links below.

Useful contacts

Available 24/7 our urgent helpline supports people of all ages experiencing a mental health crisis/emergency.

Provides a range of help, support and treatment for those of use experiencing things like stress, worry, anxiety or low mood.

If you live in Worcestershire and think you need physio support you can use our self-referral form on our website.

Our CAMHS website has lots of information and links to a range of teams and resources which support a child/family experiencing mental health difficulties.

December 2021

Staff with Galliford Try contractors at Stonebow Unit

It was recently announced that the Trust has been recognised as one of the most ‘consistently high performing’ NHS organisations in the country as part of an NHS England review. We were placed in Segment 1 in NHS England’s System Oversight Framework which puts organisations into 4 segments based on a range of performance indicators; including the quality of the services it provides, its finances and the overall level of support it requires from national bodies. We are one of just two Trusts in the Midlands to be placed in Segment 1, meaning the organisation is deemed to be ‘consistently high performing’. This is testimony to the commitment, hard work and dedication of our staff who are really focused on making a positive difference to our patients, families and to each other every day.

Although we’re delighted that the Trust has been recognised in this way there are still areas that we are striving to improve. In addition, we are very mindful of the increasing pressures across our local health and care system and are doing all we can to work with NHS and local authority partners to address the needs of our local communities. You can read more about this in relation to urgent care services below.

It is so important that we share positive news wherever we can. Sharing great examples of where organisations are performing well isn’t just about achieving good PR, it reassures people of the quality of local services and helps maintain and improve the public’s confidence in what we’re delivering which, in some cases, may encourage someone who is struggling and needing support to reach out. In addition it boosts staff morale and helps us in our recruitment and retention efforts which is so critical to the sustainability of our services. So sharing good news across our system, wherever it comes from, has a clear link back to the quality of care we collectively provide.

There are lots more examples below of outstanding practice which we hope you enjoy reading and finding out more about.


Mark Yates - Chair, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Supporting our urgent care services

Local urgent care services are under significant pressure at the moment and as always our teams are working really hard alongside our partners to help ensure patients get the help and care they need as quickly as possible.

Here is a summary of some of the measures and steps we’re taking to support urgent care pressures:

  • 2 hour Community Response – as a system we are investing in our Neighbourhood Teams (multi-disciplinary teams which support people at home) in order to help respond more quickly to people who are at risk of hospital admission. Currently our NTs have around 1,000 contacts every day and of those around 25 people a day require urgent care to stay out of hospital. The new investment will allow us to increase this to up to 45 people a day. We are currently recruiting for nurses, therapists and support workers and are also increasing the number of staff we have who can work intensively with people in the critical period when they return home from hospital. This will enable more people to leave Acute and Community Hospitals more quickly.
  • Intensive Assessment and Intensive Assessment and Rehabilitation Unit – following the success of using Community Hospital beds to treat the people with the highest frailty needs over the last 18 months, we have extended the intensive assessment and treatment approach by opening a dedicated unit on the Worcester City Inpatient Unit site. The new unit will admit people directly from the Acute Hospitals who are most at risk of having to be admitted to a care home and work with them to regain function and adapt their houses and care, so as many can get back home as possible.
  • Mental Health Liaison Teams – we have received additional funding to expand our teams at the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch and Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Worcester to 24 hours a day. This ensures people presenting in emergency departments with an underlying mental health condition get the expert help and support they need as quickly as possible. As soon as recruitment allows, we will commence 24 hour operation.
  • Intermediate care services – with the demand for urgent care continuing, we are working collaboratively with the local authority partners to review the delivery of the county’s discharge to assess pathways to ensure that people in both acute and community hospitals can access the care they need, ideally at home when they no longer need inpatient care. 

Apprentice employer of the year award

Last month we were named Herefordshire and WorcestershApprenticeship team at awardsire Group Training Association’s (HWGTA) ‘Employer of the Year 2021’.

The Trust has been recognised by HWGTA as an employer which is excelling in its commitment to its apprenticeship programme and for the support it provides to its apprentices.

Ally Middleton, Head of Education & Clinical Development, said:  “Investing in our apprenticeship programme is a key part of our long term skills and workforce strategy and with the NHS in general experiencing significant recruitment challenges, we are proud to have a local programme which is giving young people an opportunity to begin their NHS careers here with us.

“Many of our apprentices have gone on to secure full time employment with the Trust over recent years which is fantastic and we hope our programme will support many more people who may be considering a career in the health service.”

Investing in our mental health wards

Our £26 million project is now underway across Herefordshire and Worcestershire to enhance the environment for our patients on local mental health wards. Staff with Galliford Try contractors at Stonebow Unit

Contractors have commenced work to replace the Trust’s remaining dormitory-style accommodation, with private, en-suite bedrooms.

It will see the removal of shared sleeping quarters from the Stonebow Unit in Herefordshire and Elgar Unit in Worcestershire, facilities providing inpatient care to adults and older adults experiencing significant mental health difficulties.

The changes are expected to enhance care and improve privacy and dignity for patients, which will aid patient recovery and reduce their length of stay in hospital.

The improvements will also have benefits for patient safety, including better infection control and a reduction of incidents involving other patients.

Art trails highly commended

Our Now We’re Talking with Art campaign has been ‘highly commended’ in the 2021 Self Care Innovation Awards.

The award aims to recognise and celebrate self-care innovation taking place in the community, to make a difference by empowering and inspiring people to self-care Image of artist installationand in doing so, live their best and healthiest lives.

The Now We’re Talking campaign, run by the Trust, was nominated for its free public art trails that took place across Herefordshire and Worcestershire earlier this year. Aimed at raising awareness of mental health across the two counties, the trails displayed artwork highlighting mental health difficulties, signposting the public to local services, and bringing footfall back to the local highstreets post pandemic.

Great BIG Lunch Break

Schools and colleges across Herefordshire and Worcestershire are invited to hold a 'Great Big Lunch Break' to promote mental health awareness among children and young people.

'The Great Big Lunch Break' campaign has been developed by the Trust to help startChild writing the Great Big Lunch Break conversations about mental health in local education settings.

Schools and colleges are able to sign up for a free campaign pack full of resources to help them run a fun and thought-provoking events themed around mental health.

The free resource pack contains age-appropriate materials, engaging mental health-themed activity ideas and extras to brighten your event space like colourful bunting.

Schools and colleges can register for a free resource pack by emailing

Emotional support in schools

We have launched a new service to support the emotional wellbeing of children and young people in schools across Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Two pupils at school writing

Children and young people aged 5-18 can now access mental health support through new Wellbeing and Emotional Support Teams in schools. 

Matt Lammas, Locality Services Manager for Wellbeing and Emotional Support Teams in Schools said: “We are working in partnership with 57 local schools and school staff in Herefordshire and Worcestershire on their whole-school approach to mental health.

"This is a really exciting opportunity to help schools enrich their environments so young people feel comfortable to talk openly about their mental health and are not afraid to speak up.”

Step Into Health Pledge signed

There are a range of recruitment initiatives being developed across the organisation to try and address the challenges we’re facing.  

We are looking more creatively at how we can attract new staff, and one initiative we have signed up to is the Step Into Health programme which supports members of the armed forces to secure employment opportunities hopefully with us, or within the wider NHS family.

Step into Heath aims to enable NHS organisations to benefit from the transferable skills and values members of the Armed Forces community bring into the workplace and raise awareness of the barriers into employment that members of the community may face.

Think, Minor Injury Unit (MIU) this winter

Our Minor Injury Units are run by experienced clinicians who treat non-life threatening injuries, such as sprains and Ankle being bandaged by healthcare professionalstrains, minor breaks, cuts, minor burns and minor eye injuries.

Located in Bromsgrove, Tenbury, Malvern and Evesham, our MIU’s are open 7 days a week, including bank holidays.

Patients requiring treatment are encouraged to use the NHS111 online service or call NHS111 to discuss their injury. Trained advisors will identify the most suitable health care service for their need and if required, can book an appointment to attend for treatment.

To find your nearest Minor Injury Unit visit

NHS staff donate gifts to children in need

Worcestershire’s ‘Hospital at Home’ team have been donating money to purchase items for the Teams4U Shoebox Appeal.

The team has pooled together funds to create Christmas packages for children in orphanages in Belarus and deprived communities in Bosnia, Georgia, Romania and Moldova. The boxes are filled with thought-out items including hats crocheted by members of the team, every day necessities and toiletries, and also activities for the children to enjoy.

The shoeboxes will be donated to the Teams4U Shoebox Appeal for onward distribution to children in need around the world.

They are given to people forced to leave their homes through decades long conflict; to those without homes; to children who have lost parents or been abandoned; and to those who face intense discrimination in their own countries, forcing them to live on the outskirts of their societies.

More information about the Teams4U shoebox appeal is available at:

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