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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.

July 2022

A picture of members of the Worcestershire Breastfeeding Support Team outside infront of green trees. Left to right Lynn Ratcliffe, Jodie O’Connor, Kimberley Wells, Sarah Saunders, Malin Lindberg

Welcome to July’s edition of Connect, our monthly newsletter rounding up news and developments from across Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.

We designated last week as our Student Appreciation Week. We currently have around 180 students on placements with us, working in nursing, therapy, mental health, and learning disability roles. We have been sharing some of their testimonials on our social media channels and it is clear the impact and value they are adding to our services and patients, as well as the invaluable experiences they are gaining while with us. Many of our students go on to secure full-time jobs with us at the end of their education, and we need to develop this pipeline even more so we continue to attract young people into our organisation.

It is vital that we are more creative in how we recruit staff and this remains one of our biggest challenges and priorities. We were delighted to welcome 12 international nurses into our community hospitals earlier this year and expect to recruit 3 more nurses from overseas each month before the end of the year.

We are also highlighting the range of non-clinical vacancies we have at the moment, from catering and housekeeping to admin, maintenance workers and drivers - all of whom contribute hugely to the care we provide patients. You can view all our latest vacancies on our dedicated careers site, and please share with friends and family who may be looking for a rewarding new role: Careers at Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust | Recruitment (

Our People Strategy, which will be considered by Trust Board this month, will also outline other tangible steps we’re taking to make us a really fantastic organisation to work for. This includes further recruitment initiatives, as well as an improved ‘offer’, which is necessary to help retain the excellent staff we already have. We will be sharing further details on these plans over the coming weeks.

Mark Yates

Chair, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Have you or a loved one received outstanding care from one of our teams? Nominations are now open for this year's Patient Choice Award. Patient Choice Award 2022

The award welcomes nominations from all patients, service users and their families who have accessed any of our services within the last 12 months.

The award is a recognition of those members of staff who have gone above and beyond the usual standards of care and provided excellent service or support to patients or their families. This could be providing emotional support, being attentive of your needs, or even having a warm and welcoming attitude. We believe that such intentions and initiatives should be recognised and applauded.

To nominate a member of staff, simply fill out the nomination form on our websitePlease note the last date of submission is 29th July 2022.

Beat the heat – Tips to stay well during hot weather   Top tips to stay well during hot weather. Avoid the sun, avoid excessive alcohol, protect your skin, close the window if outside temperature is warmer than inside, avoid exercise when hot, look out for vulnerable ones.

An extreme heat warning is in place for the region and other parts of the country from this weekend through to early next week. During this time temperatures are expected to reach at 35 degrees, which could have a significant impact on the health of the public, and not just those most vulnerable to extreme heat.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA, said: “Heat-health alerts have now been issued to majority of the country, with temperatures set to remain consistently high throughout the duration of this week." 

“Most of us can enjoy the hot weather when it arrives, but it is important to keep yourself hydrated and to find shade where possible when UV rays are strongest, between 11am and 3pm." 

“If you have vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, make sure they are aware of how they can keep themselves protected from the warm weather.’’  

Government advice is that 999 services should be used in emergencies only; seek advice from 111 if you need non-emergency health advice. 

Find out more about staying well during hot weather on the NHS website.

Share your thoughts on our Healthy Minds website Now we're talking banner

Over the past few months, we have been updating and improving the Now We’re Talking website. This is a result of the website review undertaken earlier this year which highlighted the difficulty to navigate the site. As part of the redesign of the microsite, we have reduced unnecessary information, added a new downloadable resources page, and streamlined the site map to make navigation easier.

We have also made the distinction between Now We’re Talking as the campaign, and Healthy Minds as the service throughout the branding across the site. If you would like to offer any feedback on the redesigned site, please email

Worcestershire Breastfeeding Support Team nominated for local award A picture of members of the Worcestershire Breastfeeding Support Team outside infront of green trees. Left to right Lynn Ratcliffe, Jodie O’Connor, Kimberley Wells, Sarah Saunders, Malin Lindberg

Our Breastfeeding Support Team has been nominated in this year’s Worcester Health and Social Care awards. The team which is part of the Starting Well Partnership, supports families in Worcestershire to achieve their breastfeeding goals.

In addition to one-to-one support, the team run a WhatsApp group connecting breastfeeding mums across the county, facilitating sharing of advice, support, and guidance on their breastfeeding journey.  They also host events and groups, such as the Breast Buddies group, to help new mums meet others in a relaxed and friendly setting. The groups run across the county at the following sites:

  • Brookside Family Hub, Kidderminster - 2nd Friday of every month 11:30-12:30pm 
  • Saffron Children's Centre, Worcester - every Thursday 12:30-2pm and 3rd Friday of every month at 10-11:30am. 
  • Holly trees Children's Centre, Redditch - 1st, 3rd, and 5th Wednesday of every month at 10-11:30am. 
  • Pear Trees Children's Centre, Bromsgrove - 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month at 12:30-2pm. 

For more information and support for children, young people, and families in Worcestershire visit the Starting Well Partnership website.

Psychologist wins prestigious national award Dr Natsha Lord smiling to the camera in front of a wall

We’re incredibly proud of Dr Natasha Lord, a Psychologist working on our Older Adult Mental Health Service, who has been awarded the British Psychological Society’s Faculty of Older People (FPOP) Bill Downes award.

The Bill Downes award recognises the contribution of clinical psychologists who support older people living with mental health needs and people living with dementia.

Dr Lord has worked within older adult’s mental health services across Worcestershire, supporting patients living with a range of conditions including dementia and depression. In addition, she was the Trust’s driving force behind a recent project called 'Worcester Life Stories', a partnership with Worcester City Council to help local people create a digital memory book of their lives.

Congratulations on this award Natasha!

Local band partners with Trust to raise awareness of mental health support Reach Out free music events with image of 4 15 year olds that formed the band

Local band ‘Split Second’ have teamed up with teams at the Trust to promote young people’s mental health across Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Residents within the two counties are invited to come along to one of the 5 free one-hour live sets from the band between 1st-3rd August.

Split Second are a Worcestershire-based band comprising of four 14-15 year olds, who have written a new song, ‘Reach Out’, about the impact the pandemic has had on their mental health.

Read the full press release on our website.

Initial phase of mental health unit transformation nears completion   Staff with Galliford Try contractors at Stonebow Unit

The first phase of the Trust’s multimillion pound scheme to improve facilities at our mental health inpatient units is nearing completion.

The project is part of a wider initiative taking place across the country to improve the safety, privacy and dignity of patients experiencing mental ill health by removing shared sleeping quarters in mental health recovery units.

It will see the removal of dormitories from the Stonebow Unit in Hereford and Elgar Unit in Worcester, facilities providing inpatient care to adults and older adults experiencing significant mental health difficulties.

They will be replaced with modern, private, ensuite bedrooms which are expected to enhance care and improve privacy and dignity for patients, factors that will aid patient recovery, reducing their length of stay in hospital.

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