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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.

March 2023

HWHCT team winning Large Apprenticeship Employer of the Year

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

With Spring on the horizon, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all our teams and colleagues across the system for their incredible efforts and hard work over the winter. Over the past few months we have experienced sustained pressure on our urgent care services, exacerbated by the presence of COVID-19 and flu, cold weather and more recently industrial action. Despite these challenges, staff have continued to provide exceptional levels of care to our patients

In February we lost two of our Board members, David Brown and Julie Snell. David was a highly respected colleague who had been with the Trust for over 7 years, more recently as a member of our Trust Board through his role as Chief Information Officer. The news of David’s death came as a huge shock to us all and we offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

Julie Snell joined the Trust Board in April 2021 and supported us with a number of digital projects and programmes in her role as an Associate Non-Executive Director. She also chaired our Charitable Funds Committee and in her short time with us, she made a significant contribution across lots of areas and again we offer our deepest condolences to Julie’s family and friends

The Board met for the first time since David and Julie’s deaths in March, and were able to formally pay tribute to their outstanding service. We now live stream all our Board meetings to help increase transparency and accessibility around the Board, the discussions we have and the decisions we make. You can watch March’s meeting on our YouTube channel or take a look at the attached summary which pulls out the key items from the meeting. This includes positive developments, general updates and decisions taken, but also just as important, the areas of concerns which we are currently experiencing. It is important that the Trust acknowledges those issues, and is open and transparent about the work we’re doing to put things right.

I hope you find the below useful, but as always please come back to us using the contact details at the bottom if you would like further information

Many thanks,

Mark Yates

Chair, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

NHS Staff Survey results     

The National NHS Staff survey results for 2022 were published on 9th March 2023. The national annual survey is one of the largest workforce surveys in the world and is carried out every year to improve staff experiences across the NHS.    We each have a voice that counts. People promise. Two chat bubbles.

This year, our feedback suggests that lots of our staff feel valued and respected and they are confident the work they do makes a positive difference to our patients and those we support. We have also heard consistently how staff feel a real sense of belonging and connection to their team. However, the national survey also tells us that some staff didn’t always feel that if they raised concerns that these would be acted on. This is a key area for us and we are pleased to report that we will now be increasing our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian resource from the current 1 day a week to 3 days a week to provide increased support for staff, as well as increased visibility for colleagues and greater utilisation of our Freedom to Speak Up champions in Trust, should colleagues wish to share issues or concerns.

Read the full press release on our website.

Carenotes restoration

We are delighted to share that all of our teams are now back using Carenotes, our electronic patient record system which had been unavailable following a national cyber-attack last August. While we’re not quite at full, pre-August levels yet, having access to and active use of Carenotes again has been really well received by clinical teams who have worked creativity and flexibility throughout the outage to minimise the impact on our patients as much as possible.

Thank you to our partners for your patience and understanding during this outage.

CQC report – Hill Crest ward in Redditch

Following an inspection in July 2022, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the Hill Crest Mental Health Ward in Redditch as Inadequate.

The report said that the Trust did not ensure the environment at Hill Crest was well maintained, that risk assessments were not always created and reviewed in a timely way, and that staff were not confident that concerns raised would be acted on by senior leaders. However, the report identified that Trust staff were correctly trained and supervised and that additional temporary staff could be rostered according to patient needs.

Following this, we addressed the urgent issues which were identified during the visit, making improvements to the environment, to risk assessments documented within clinical records, and to staff handover procedures. Additionally, we reviewed the leadership structures within the service to ensure they were fit for purpose.

More recently, have reduced the number of beds in Hill Crest from 18 to 10 to allow time to fully develop a core substantive team to run the ward, and to embed the improvements we need to make. Read the full press release on our website.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Last week was Neurodiversity Celebration Week, a worldwide initiative challenging Neurodiversity celebration week (13-19 March 2023) stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences. Throughout the week we hosted a range of virtual listening events and chat groups. These included sessions such as ‘Neurodiversity and me - my story’ and neurodiversity wellbeing support group providing staff with a safe space to share their experiences and learn more about neurodiversity and the challenges that come along with it. Organised by the Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub, the celebrations also included a twitter takeover of our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion team by Clare Knighton, Chair for our Neurodiversity Wellbeing group and ‘I am Differently Abled’ networks.

New ‘Professionals Portal’ to get Herefordshire and Worcestershire talking about mental health

The Now We’re Talking Partnership recently launched a new Professionals Portal, hosting a range of resources to help professionals support their staff and/or members of the public who are struggling with their mental health. The Hub is designed to help anyone working in Herefordshire and Worcestershire access basic information and tools around supporting those struggling with mental health or suicide. It also highlights resources for you to maintain wellbeing and look after yourself after a difficult conversation. Visit the Now We’re Talking website – Professionals Portal.

Eating Disorders Awareness WeekEating disorders week 27th Feb - 5th March 2023

At the end of February we took part in Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which highlighted eating disorders in the male population. Throughout the week we took to social media to share advice on how to seek help, signs and symptoms of an eating disorder, and how to help a friend or family member struggling with an eating disorder or their mental health.

Did you know that 1 in 4 men suffer from an eating disorder? In a recent survey by BEAT, 1 in 3 men shared they had never accessed treatment. 1 in 5 had never spoken out about their struggles, and 4 in 5 felt raising awareness would help more men get treatment sooner.

Children’s Mental Health WeekChildren at school smiling

We also marked Children’s Mental Health Week during February, an initiative to raise awareness and support on children and young people’s mental health. 

This year, Now We’re Talking teamed up with Starting Well Partnership and children’s mental health teams (CAMHS) to encourage parents/carers to download a range of fun resources available on our bespoke children’s mental health website to help get children and young people talking and having meaningful conversations about mental health.

Although developed during children’s mental health week, these resources can be used throughout the year to support conversations around mental health and wellbeing.

Nurse ‘braves the shave’ for colleague battling cancerJanet smiling with cut hair in her hand

Janet Garfield, a nurse at the Primrose Unit ‘braved the shave’ to raise money for her colleague Jinsy, whom she worked alongside prior to her diagnosis of Stage 3 Advanced Bowel cancer last year.

Jinsy, who worked as a Staff Nurse on the Primrose Unit before becoming unwell, has dedicated 22 years of her life working as a nurse. In a time of increased financial pressure, Janet felt she needed to do something to support Jinsy and her family while she undergoes intensive chemotherapy and further surgery.

Janet said, “Thank you to all who were there for your support and a big thank you to Karen for doing the actual deed. The amount raised has been phenomenal, and I am so grateful to everyone who has donated either financially, emotionally or with their time. This wouldn’t be possible for our lovely Jinsy and her family without you. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart”.

Read the full press release on our website.

Bereaved families in Worcestershire to benefit from CuddleCot donationStaff smiling taking a picture next to the cuddle cot

Families experiencing the loss of a baby will be able to spend more time with them thanks to the generous donation of a specialist cot.

A CuddleCot is a small, portable, lightweight unit that enables families experiencing the loss of their baby to spend more time with them and more time to create memories.

The donation was made by the Ocego family in memory of their daughter Elsie-Rose who sadly passed away at birth. It was received by the Worcestershire Orchard Service on Elsie-Rose’s birthday, through the charity 4Louis, and will be used with families in their care.

Tom the robotic cat in Meadow WardTom the robotic cat meowing

Meet Tom, the newest addition to Meadow Ward. Since his arrival last month week, Tom has brought comfort, interaction and stimulation to patients at Meadow Ward, an older adult mental health ward providing specialist care to patients from across Worcestershire.

Purring, meowing and moving just like a real cat, robotic pets like Tom have been proven to provide a range of therapeutic benefits for people with dementia, including decreased stress and anxiety,  improved mood and increased engagement.

Did you know we were named ‘Large Apprenticeship Employer of the Year’ at the recent Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards?HWHCT team winning Large Apprenticeship Employer of the Year

The award recognises our ongoing commitment to developing apprentices across a range of clinical and non-clinical roles.

Our Apprenticeship Team, together with mentors and colleagues across the Trust support over 170 apprentices in roles including physical and mental health nursing, therapy, business administration, customer service, finance and leadership.

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