On the ward

This month we're focusing on the apprentices we have here at Berwick Infirmary. It's the first time we've had apprentices at Berwick and they're valuable assets to our team.

Friday, 19th February 2016, 9:22 am
Matron Annaluisa Wood (centre) with Berwick Infirmary apprentices Gerard Turley and Leanne Moffat

Leanne Moffat is our health apprentice and Gerard Turley is our business administration apprentice, and they’re both based in Ward 1.

They’re just two of scores of apprentices we have in our trust, which has one of the largest and most successful apprenticeship programmes in the NHS.

It’s all part of our commitment to grow our own workforce, and we are passionate about opening up opportunities for them to join us and take their first steps on the road to a promising career with the right help and support.

Across the trust, they work in a variety of different roles in hospitals, in the community and in office environments, and help us to deliver first class care to people.

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Becoming an apprentice is an excellent way of getting a foot in the door of the world of work and learning important skills, which help them for the rest of their working lives.

We were really pleased when young people in our local area expressed interest in the scheme, and Berwick Infirmary was able to join the dozens of other departments across our trust with an apprentice as part of the team.

During the programme, apprentices receive valuable on-the-job training, have access to a wide range of resources to help them develop, and earn while they learn.

Leanne, from East Ord, is really enjoying her time on the ward and assisting the nursing team in caring for patients.

Having always wanted to be a midwife, she embarked on the programme to gain hands-on clinical experience to support her application. Having worked in a nursing environment, she is now also considering that as a career.

Leanne, 18, said: “I’m really enjoying my time on the ward, being involved in delivering patient care and continuing to learn as I go along.

“I live locally and it’s great to be able to have this experience in my own community and benefit from the support I’ve been given.

“The experience is standing me in good stead for my future career, whether that’s in midwifery or nursing.”

Gerard Turley helps with the day-to-day running of the department, assisting the ward clerk with all the administration tasks required, such as filing patients’ notes and ordering supplies.

Gerard, 24, from Cornhill, said: “I really like the varied nature of the role and being involved in a wide range of tasks.

“It’s great to be part of a team and know that I play a part in delivering patient care.”

In addition to health and business administration, we also run programmes in estates and facilities, catering and supplies, and more than 95 per cent of our apprentices gain employment with us, which is fantastic.

It’s fitting we celebrate their contribution ahead of National Apprenticeship Week next month.

Throughout the year, we recruit apprentices and I would urge anyone who’s interested – and it’s worth remembering that there isn’t an age restriction on the scheme – to keep checking the NHS Jobs website at www.jobs.nhs.uk where all our roles will be advertised.

To find out more about the scheme, visit our website www.northumbria.nhs.uk or contact our learning development team on 0191 203 1415. Alternatively, email learninganddevelopment@northumbria.nhs.uk

• I thought it would be good to give an update on the maternity service here at Berwick.

While I don’t personally oversee the service, I have close links with Julie Bennett, clinical lead midwife/matron for Berwick Maternity Unit, and she has said that it’s going really well and provided this update.

It was back in July 2013 that we introduced new arrangements, including an on-call service to enable low-risk women to give birth in the unit or at home.

This gives women in the local area greater choice and the opportunity to deliver their baby in their own community, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and in a home from home, natural birthing experience.

Later that year a £25,000 birthing pool was added to the facilities on the unit, giving women the opportunity to have a water birth or use the facility during labour.

All regular antenatal and postnatal clinics for both low and high-risk women continue to take place at Berwick Maternity Unit and there is an enhanced package of community postnatal care.

This includes daily telephone contact following discharge to give any immediate advice and signpost to relevant services if required, home visits arranged to meet needs of individual women to offer support with feeding and baby care such as bathing, general baby wellbeing, drop-in postnatal care at the unit to address any wellbeing concerns for new mothers or babies, and full breastfeeding support.

Last year we started to hold our popular parent craft classes in the unit, which gives women and their partners the chance to look around the unit and see the excellent facilities we have.

For anyone not able to make these classes and who would like a look around at any other time, please contact the team on 01289 356622 and they’ll be more than happy to arrange this.

Our midwives work at our new birthing centre at the Northumbria hospital on a rotational basis to ensure they are able to regularly practise their full range of skills and get experience of different types of deliveries.

Since the facility opened, it’s proving extremely popular with people from across Northumberland and North Tyneside, benefitting from having a consultant-led obstetric unit and a co-located midwifery-led unit.

Last month we told you that we, along with health and social care partners, would be seeking people’s views about our collective vision for Northumberland.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been out and about meeting people and encouraging them to share their experiences and give their views by completing an online survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NorthumberlandVanguard

If you have difficult filling in an online survey, please ring our foundation team on 0191 203 1296 and we can arrange for a paper copy to be sent to you.

It’s all part of the county being chosen as one of only eight areas across the country to take a national lead on transforming care for patients as part of the national vision for the future of the NHS. 

We’re also putting the finishing touches to our plan to give local people the opportunity to let us know 
what they think of our proposals for our new Berwick hospital. We’ll let you know about this as soon as possible.

While we hope that spring is around the corner, we are still in the grip of winter and I’d urge people to continue to look after themselves well, and keep an eye out for elderly relatives and neighbours, to try to stay well during the cold weather.