Various reasons for uniting health, care and leisure
Welcome to this month's column bringing you up to date with developments at Berwick Infirmary.
The last time I wrote, we were in the depths of winter – a winter that this year lasted longer than usual – so it’s so good to be enjoying some warm spring weather at last.
I’m going to start off by paying tribute to a much-valued colleague to whom we bid farewell recently.
Many of you will know Glynis Duff at Berwick Infirmary. She was the medical records officer here for 34 years, overseeing the administration, and latterly, domestic staff, and was key to the smooth running of the hospital.
She was the font of all knowledge – there wasn’t anything she didn’t know about the hospital and everyone would come to her for advice and guidance.
Her office door was always open and I’d like to personally thank her for the help she provided to me in my role as matron over the years.
She was a great supporter of the trust and was a staff governor for many years, representing the views of the staff here in Berwick at the highest level.
To show how highly she was thought of among the trust’s senior team, our chief executive Jim Mackey called in to personally present a bouquet of flowers to Glynis when he was at the hospital for a board meeting.
I, on behalf of everyone at Berwick Infirmary, past and present, would like to wish Glynis all the very best for a happy and healthy retirement.
Many of you, I’m sure, will have noticed the building work that’s been going on at the hospital over recent weeks.
This has involved installing new digital equipment in our x-ray department, bringing, for the first time, the latest diagnostic technology to patients in Berwick.
The equipment is well used by patients – by those staying on the ward or those who are referred by their GP, from urgent care or from an outpatient appointment – and the feedback we’ve had so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
The new equipment is so much easier for patients to access and the machine itself produces quicker and higher quality images.
This means patients will have an overall much-improved experience and is a welcome addition to the hospital.
Alongside this work to our diagnostic services, we’ve also been revamping our oncology day unit to create a much-improved environment for patients.
The nurse-led unit is a great asset to the hospital and provides chemotherapy and supportive treatments for patients living with cancer and those with haematology conditions closer to home.
The area has been refurbished and modernised to form a more welcoming, brighter space which enhances patients’ privacy and dignity.
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The finishing touches to the work are now taking place and it will soon start seeing patients for treatment again.
It’s great to see this investment in services for our patients and we’re planning an event to celebrate both of these in the coming weeks.
As many of you will know, over the last three months NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), along with our trust and Northumberland County Council, has been carrying out a listening exercise seeking people’s views about the possibility of the new hospital in Berwick being part of an integrated development including health, social care and leisure services.
People have also been invited to give their feedback on potential sites for the development.
There have been a number of opportunities for people to have their say, including five drop-in sessions, three ‘join our journey’ roadshows, other community meetings and last week, a public meeting.
As you know we are committed to building a new hospital in Berwick, and totally understand residents’ frustrations over the length of time this has been in the offing, and the possibility of an integrated development is being explored for a number of reasons.
For many years our trust and the county council have worked together in partnership to deliver seamless care for our population, and while we are already well ahead of other parts of the country in this respect, we’d like to work even closer together.
Both organisations are also keen to take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing because it benefits patients and the public.
On behalf of all the organisations involved, I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to give their views.
The CCG is now considering all feedback and a full engagement report will be put together and made public in due course.
The next steps of the process are to complete a business case, expected in the summer, and hold a public consultation which could potentially be held in the autumn.
As a final thought from me, I wanted to celebrate the fantastic midwives and nurses we have working here in Berwick as over the last couple of weeks we’ve marked International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses’ Day.
From supporting women through every stage of their pregnancy to caring for a newborn, our midwives provide person-centred maternity care.
Whether caring for people in hospital or in their own homes, our nurses are there for families throughout their lives.
It really is the old adage ‘from cradle to grave’ and as the NHS approaches its 70th birthday in the summer, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate our amazing service.
I’m sure you’ll all join me in thanking them all for their hard work and dedication.