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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.

October 2023

Members of Trust staff at the Worcester City Run standing in front of the Now We're Talking Gazebo at the event

Our headline news is that in August Sarah Dugan, Chief Executive of 12 years, announced her intention to retire in April 2024 after 41 years of NHS service. A nurse by background, Sarah was keen to support the Trust through the COVID-19 pandemic and into the recovery phase before her retirement. Sarah has worked tirelessly for the communities served by the Trust, most notably in shaping the Trust as it was formed, and then subsequently coming together with Herefordshire mental health services whilst flying the flag for partnership working and integrated care through holding a number of system leadership roles. Her leadership to the Trust, and in more recent years within our local health and care system, has been hugely influential and she will be greatly missed. The role has now been advertised we hope to be able to announce Sarah’s successor in the New Year.

September held our AGM, which served as a great reflection of our achievements over the past year. We also heard a great presentation from the Complex Emotional Needs Service and how their person-centred ethos focuses on independence, hope, collaboration, empowerment, and supporting a life with purpose and meaning. They use a variety of evidence-based therapies to provide support in 1:1, group, and peer support settings, however they also play a vital role in supporting our staff and providing other teams with advice.  You can watch the full AGM, including this presentation on the website.

Below are some of the highlights from the last quarter, including our progress in eliminating dormitories and inaugurating a dementia garden in Bromsgrove. We are now looking to prepare for the winter season, working with partners on initiatives such as ‘home for lunch’ where we will aim to reduce patients’ waiting time on the day of discharge. Take care of yourselves this winter, and please do take up any winter vaccinations you are invited to.

I hope you find this useful, but as always please come back to us using the contact details provided if you would like further information or would like to share any feedback.

Many thanks,

Mark Yates

Chair, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Celebrating our staff

We are proud to see the hard work and achievements of our staff acknowledged. In recent months our teams have been nominated for several esteemed awards:

Striving to deliver the best care through the new clinical strategy

As a Trust, we are piloting our new Clinical Strategy with six of our mental and physical health teams across Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Clinical strategy logo 

The strategy is a framework that translates our high-level Trust strategy into a clinically-led team level plan. It aligns our ambitions in providing the best care for our patients with working towards and contributing to delivering our Trust’s strategic objectives outlined in the Trust strategy.

Delivering our clinical strategy will result in high quality care for patients, improved health outcomes, reduced health inequalities, motivated staff, safe sustainable services, and robust finances. You can learn more about our Clinical Strategy on our website.

Shared sleeping quarters ‘eradicated’ from Worcestershire’s mental health wards

In August, we marked the eradication of dormitory-style sleeping quarters from Worcestershire’s mental health inpatient wards. This follows the completion of the Worcester tranche of the ‘Eradicating Dormitories’ programme, a nationally-funded scheme to replace shared sleeping quarters in mental health wards with single-occupancy bedrooms. a beautifully furnished bedroom on a ward 

Locally, it’s seen the transformation of Holt and Athelon wards in Worcester, and Jenny Lind in Hereford, each of which have been completely redeveloped and now boast modern, private bedrooms, complete with ensuite bathroom facilities. The new wards have enhanced the therapeutic environment for our patients, improving individual care and supporting their right to privacy and dignity while they are in our care. There is also evidence to suggest that single room accommodation will help to reduce the time they spend in hospital.

Construction work continues on Cantilupe and Mortimer wards, both located within the Stonebow Unit in Herefordshire and is due to complete in Spring 2024. Read the full story on our website.

Community mental health hub unveiled

Last month, we unveiled a new hub for community mental health services at Redditch Town Hall. This follows a collaboration between the Trust and Redditch District Council’s multi-agency hub project, which will see the development of a multi-organisation community service hub within the Town Hall. Ribbon being cut at the Redditch town hall 

We are one of the first organisations to move into the building, with teams from NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire Talking Therapies, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) now occupying parts of the ground and first floor.

Mark Fenton, Associate Director Estates and Facilities Management said, “Working collaboratively with Redditch District Council, we’ve been able to use surplus Council House space to create first class and sustainable healthcare environments from which our services are delivered.

“I believe the new hub is going to enhance the experiences of our patients, while providing staff with modern, purpose-built facilities that will assist them in delivery of high-quality patient care”. Read more about the new mental health hub on our website.

Bespoke therapy garden opens for patients with dementia

In the summer, we linked staff at Meadow Ward in Bromsgrove to formally open Meadow Green, a multi-purpose therapy garden for patients with dementia. Bright flowering plants sit on compost infront of the garden building 

The garden has undergone extensive groundwork and landscaping over the last 12 months, making way for the new garden buildings which have been designed to recreate familiar, everyday environments for patients.

The building interiors are fully customisable and can be transformed with artwork and props to replicate a village shop, a hairdressers and a pub. The project sought to create a safe space to engage patients in activities they might experience outside of a ward environment.

Clare McFadyen, Occupational Therapist said , “The multisensory, multifunctional space enables our patients to engage in a range of meaningful, purposeful activities of daily living that research evidence tells us are important for health and wellbeing. Assessments and observations are already highlighting the positive impact ‘Meadow Green’ is having on patient health and wellbeing”. Read the full story on our website.

N ursing development programme receives Quality Mark 

We have recently been awarded the National Preceptorship Nursing Interim Quality Mark from NHS England The quality mark is the gold standard that NHS organisations are benchmarked against and is awarded to those who provide high-quality preceptorship for newly-registered nursing staff. National Preceptorship for Nursing Interim Quality Mark 

Preceptorship is a period where newly-registered clinicians are supported in the transition from student to practitioner, so they can gain confidence and familiarise themselves with the role. We provide 12 months of support for newly-registered clinicians and those who are educated abroad. During this, staff attend dedicated study days on a variety of topics such as patient safety, leadership, and career development.

Clinical Practice Development Lead, Tom Challacombe, said : “We’re absolutely delighted to be accredited with the Quality Mark. It highlights the fantastic work of the preceptorship team across the Trust and enhances our offer when recruiting talented candidates”.

“Recognising that many newly-registered clinical staff may have mixed feelings when they start their role, we have designed a high-quality preceptorship program to provide professionals with a structured period of transition, support, and great opportunities for career advancement within the Trust.” Read the full story on our website.

To find out more about the Preceptorship programme and recruitment events on offer at the Trust, please visit the careers website.

Stop smoking with support from Smoke Free Homes

There is no better time to quit smoking. The Worcestershire Smoke Free Homes service supports mums, dads, carers, in fact anyone who lives with a child under the age of three in Worcestershire. Lungs made of plants - one side is withered and the other is blossoming with flowers 

As over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible, the best thing you can do to protect you and your family from the harms of second-hand smoke is to quit smoking. You don’t have to give up alone! This friendly service can help with:  

  • Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
  • 1:1 support with a trained advisor to help you quit and stay on track
  • Joint family sessions, if preferred
  • Help to set a quit date  
  • Ongoing monitoring and support

Parents/ carers living in a household with a child/ baby under the age of three can  sign up to the service by emailing:

Guardians appointed to support transgender patients and staff

Transgender individuals often face unique challenges in healthcare settings, ranging from discrimination to inadequate understanding of their specific healthcare needs. For this, and to embrace diversity within healthcare settings and prevent gender or identity based discrimination, we have appointed Transgender Guardians. These dedicated guardians will handle a range of responsibilities and initiatives to protect and support transgender (or those who are transitioning) employees and patients. 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, Samantha Boatema-Cooke said We firmly believe that by establishing Transgender Guardians, we will make significant strides in eliminating barriers, reducing stigma, and improving healthcare experiences for transgender individuals within our Trust. Their expertise, empathy, and dedication will contribute to the overall enhancement of our services, thereby fostering a more inclusive and compassionate healthcare environment.

“The appointment of Transgender Guardians is a significant milestone in our journey towards equitable healthcare. Together, let us continue to build a healthcare system that truly leaves no one behind.”

For more information, visit the  Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion page on our website.

New name, same service – NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire Talking Therapies

As part of a national rebrand, NHS IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services have changed their name to NHS Talking Therapies. Locally this sees Healthy Minds in Herefordshire and Worcestershire renamed NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire Talking Therapies. Although we have a new name, this won’t impact the treatment our patients receive. Our staff and service are the same, and there will be no change to the care and treatment we provide.   Healthy minds is now NHS Talking Therapies - new name, same service 

We will formally retire the Healthy Minds name at the end of this year and are currently updating the communications we share with our patients and communities along with our leaflets, websites and social media. If you are a professional working in Herefordshire or Worcestershire, please keep an eye out for updated assets and support us by amending our name on any information you host .

NHS staff lace up for the Worcester City Run

As September rolled, 100 of our staff took part in the Worcester City Run as part of our perks and wellbeing package. They proudly wore recognisable blue NHS-branded running shirts, promoting our mental health services and raising awareness of the local wellbeing support available.   

The event was also a valuable opportunity to engage with our communities and share information about the services we provide, in addition to our career and development opportunities. You can read all about it on our website.

Know where to go for mental health support

It’s important to know where to go for help when you need it, whether that be for your physical or mental health. That’s why we have recently launched new social media graphics promoting the range of mental health and wellbeing support available in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The graphics have been designed for use on smartphones and are easy to print screen and save on your phone should you, or someone you know need mental health support.

We have also updated our mental health support posters. The posters simplify the mental health and wellbeing support available locally, and are available in 3 designs; for adults, young people and children. All materials are available to download from the NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire Talking Therapies website.

Partnership set to advance health research

We recently announced our research partnership with the University of Worcester, a collaboration that sets to tackle pressing health challenges and make a lasting impact on the wellbeing of our local communities.

Formalising this is a memorandum of understanding, an agreement that will see both organisations working together in the development of health research initiatives by combining our expertise, resources, and networks. By sharing data and infrastructure, researchers we will be able to access new perspectives and approaches, leading to more comprehensive and impactful research outcomes .

Counting down to our annual staff awards

Staff across the Trust are counting down in anticipation of our staff awards event which takes place later this month. Staff awards 2023 banner 

Our annual awards ceremony is an opportunity for teams to come together in celebration of their exceptional work over the past 12 months and will see winners announced across 11 categories, including Patient Choice and Special Recognition. We will also be celebrating our longest serving staff members, who will receive awards for 25 and 40 years of continuous service.

Winners will be announced on Friday 24th November, so keep an on our social media pages and website to see if your nominations have won.

Think Minor Injury Unit this Autumn

Minor Injury Units (MIUs) Worcestershire offer advice and treatment for a variety of minor injuries including minor burns, cuts, wounds, grazes, sprains, strains, and minor eye injuries . Think Minor Injury Unit (MIU). Your local minor injury unit offers advice and treatment for a variety of injuries including minor burns, cuts, wounds, grazes, sprains, strains, and minor eye injuries. To access help and treatment, contact NHS111 or visit a local unit: 

Our units are open daily, including throughout the Christmas and New Year bank holidays.  

Find your local unit and opening times on our website.

If you need urgent medical advice contact NHS 111.

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