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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.

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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.

January 2023

Welcome to January 2023 edition of Connect, our newsletter rounding up news and developments from across Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.

The New Year has so far been dominated by pressures being felt across the NHS, and in particular within urgent care services. Although the focus is understandably on emergency departments and ambulances, our Trust plays a significant role within the urgent care pathway.

For example, our Urgent Community Response Service (UCR) provides a 2 hr response to people at home who are at greater risk of admission, and our Minor Injury Units supported over 1,000 people over the festive period with injuries which weren’t emergency or life threatening.

And, within mental health services, our 24/7 Urgent Mental Health Helpline continues to support around 3,000 callers per month across Herefordshire and Worcestershire who need urgent mental health advice and support. This supports people in crisis to get help and support from the right service or team as quickly as possible, and reduces the number of people attending A&E in an mental health emergency.

I would like to place on record my thanks and appreciation to all the staff from this Trust, and from across the local system, who are working under significant pressure at the moment to try and keep our urgent care services, including community hospitals, safe and effective.

We have also attached a one page summary of our latest Board meeting held on Wednesday, 11th January. The meeting was also live streamed and is available to view online: Board Papers

Mark Yates

Chair, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Urgent Community Response Service sees record month

Our Urgent Community Response (UCR) Service are part of our integrated Neighbourhood Nursing Teams who work hard to care for people at home. UCRFirst aid kit respond within 2hrs to those at greater risk of hospital admission with the aim of avoiding a trip to hospital.

In December, we received 1,200 referrals into UCR from a combination of the ambulance service, GPs, other healthcare professionals, and carers/families. This equates to preventing around 40 avoidable hospital admissions every day across Worcestershire.

We will be doing further work to capture patients/families’ experiences of UCR as part of wider and ongoing promotion of the service.

#KickOffTheConvo podcast

As part of the newly launched ‘Kick off the Convo’ campaign in partnership with Herefordshire and Worcestershire FootballKickofftheConvo Graphic Associations, we released the first podcast episode last month.

The podcasts will discuss the links between mental health and physical health, and how football (and sport) links into this – from the pressures that become too much on and off the pitch, to how team sports can not only improve your physical health but also your mental health.

To find out more about the Kick off the Convo campaign, read the latest press release, or listen to the first podcast on YouTube.

MIUs experience busiest festive period in recent years  Three smiling staff members at Evesham MIU

The number of patients attending minor injury units across Worcestershire rose during the festive period.

Our MIUs in Bromsgrove, Evesham, Malvern, and Tenbury MIUs saw over 1,000 patients during the final two weeks of the year, a rise of 50% compared to the same period last year. Kidderminster Minor Injury Unit, run by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, also experienced an increase in attendances during this time. 

This follows a campaign run by the Trust and partners to improve public awareness of the units and the types of injuries they can treat, in a bid to divert inappropriate attendances away from local emergency departments.

Overall during 2022, there were over 37,000 attendances at the Units in Bromsgrove, Evesham, Malvern, and Tenbury.

Read the full press release on our website.

Jenny Lind ward opens in HerefordA bright airy room with white and blue walls Along the backwall there is a window with white radiator beneath To the leff there is an open door to the ensuite and inbuilt wooden storage

The new Jenny Lind Ward, one of three mental health wards at the Stonebow Unit, Hereford, has opened following a redevelopment as part of the Eliminating Dormitories project - a national scheme to eradicate dormitory style accommodation from mental health facilities across the country.

The move to replace dormitory-style accommodation, with individual private bedrooms is expected to improve privacy and dignity, enhancing patient care.

Find out more on our website.

Trust wins ‘Large Apprenticeship Employer of the Year’ Award HWHCT team winning Large Apprenticeship Employer of the Year

Our Trust was recently crowned the ‘Large Apprenticeship Employer of the Year’ at the 2022 Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards.

The award recognises the Trust’s ongoing commitment to developing apprentices across a range of clinical and non-clinical roles including physical and mental health nursing, therapists, business administration, customer service, finance, and leadership.

Read the full press release on our website.

Michelle Griffin wins Queen’s Nurse Award

Michelle Griffin, our Community Learning Disability Nurse for the Worcestershire Community Learning Disabilities Team has been givenMichelle Griffin receiving the award on stage the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse (QN) by community nursing charity The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI).

The title indicates Michelle’s commitment to high standards of patient care, learning, and leadership. Nurses who hold the title benefit from developmental workshops, bursaries, networking opportunities, and a shared professional identity.

Michelle said: “I am absolutely thrilled, proud, and honoured to have been awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse. I qualified as a Registered Learning Disability Nurse 28 years ago and have worked much of that time for the Trust in the Community Learning Disability Team(s).

Read the full press release on our website.

Advancing Mental Health Equality (AMHE) collaborative Person in boots walking on a farm

The AMHE Collaborative is a project run by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Largely, the project is about improving access, experience, and outcomes for patients using mental health services.

Despite efforts by public sector organisations, research has shown that inequalities (such as in accessing services) continue to exist for some groups of people, including those who work in certain types of jobs or industries.

Over the last 2 months, we held two virtual open forums (focus groups) with staff to recognise what they think the issues are that contribute to these inequalities, and are now in the process of co-developing ideas on how to address these.

Read more on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website.

Innovative digital platform piloted on ward for people with dementia       Elderly couple holding a digital tablet

Life Stories Herefordshire and Worcestershire, a digital platform that helps people to capture their personal life stories, is currently being piloted as a wellbeing and communication tool for patients on Meadow Ward in Bromsgrove, a unit providing specialist inpatient care to people with dementia from across Worcestershire.

Evidence shows that developing life stories promotes wellbeing, connection and inclusion, especially for older people and people living with dementia and helps people to come together over shared memories and experiences.

We have been adding life packs to our website that include a variety of archive photos, videos, historic maps, and content pieces which users of the platform are able to look at by themselves, with others such as family members or they can be used in group sessions like reminiscence activities in care homes and hospitals.

The materials may trigger memories or stories can be shared. They offer opportunities to come together over a shared connection. They can also be used as part of the users own life story books.

Life Stories is working together with the Association of Dementia Studies at Worcester University, by are inviting people to share their experiences of using the platform.

Read the full press release on our website.

New stop smoking service for families in Worcestershire    Starting well partnership logo

Smoke Free Homes is a new service to help people quit smoking, available to mums, dads, carers, or anyone who lives with a child under the age of three in Worcestershire.

The service can help with:

  • Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
  • 1:1 support with a trained advisor to help people quit and stay on track
  • Joint family sessions if preferred

Smoke Free Homes is part of our Starting Well Partnership, which provides support to parents, families, children, and young people to live happy, healthy, and fulfilled lives across Worcestershire.

Read the full press release on our website.

Encouraging women with learning disabilities to access routine breast screening     Staff wearing pink shirts in front of table with cupcakes and snacks and juices.

Our Community Learning Disabilities Team recently hosted a ‘My Breasts and Me’ event for women with learning disabilities.

Women with learning disabilities are much less likely to attend routine breast screening appointments which can find breast cancer before many people notice symptoms. Through this event, the team were able to raise awareness of the risks of breast cancer, and to increase the uptake of women with learning disabilities attending their routine breast screening appointments.

The women who attended the event were able to explore and look at the mammogram machines with a meet and greet with a radiographer, learn how to check their breasts, get their bra size measured by experts, and have a tour of the Worcestershire Breast Unit.

Find out more on our website.

Now We’re Talking – the one-stop shop for mental health support in Herefordshire and Worcestershire Construction workers waring Now Were Talking tshirts.

Local people struggling with their mental health this winter are being urged to access the Now We’re Talking website for local advice, support and signposting.

The website has been developed by local organisations and offers mental health support and information all in one place, helping you navigate to the right support as quickly as possible. This includes links to local community support, online courses which people can access for free straight away, and NHS services provided by the Trust. There are also more targeted resources to help manage symptoms such as stress, anxiety, or low mood.

The site was accessed over 76,000 times in 2022, and also includes self-help guides and videos which people can access.

Read the full press release on our website.

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