Hello, my name is Trudie Davies.
I am delighted to be able to present my first Quality Account as Chief Executive of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust. Providing great care and achieving great outcomes for our patients, their families and carers is at the heart of everything we do.
There is no doubt that 2022-23 has again been a challenging year for us here at Gateshead as well as across the wider NHS and social care system. Covid-19 has not gone away and we have seen a high number of patients needing urgent and emergency care, twinned with high numbers of patients who are in a hospital bed but who are medically fit and could be cared for elsewhere in our community – all of which present both quality and operational challenges.
From my first days at the Trust to the present, I’ve been blown away by the way our teams
respond to challenges and how our dedicated colleagues have continued to transform care for the better, make innovative improvements and improve our culture.
In this Quality Account, we share with you details about the quality of patient care we have provided over the past 12 months and our achievements as well as our quality priority areas for 2023-24. These incorporate the pillars of quality – patient experience, patient safety, clinical effectiveness and for us here at Gateshead, we also include staff experience as it is inextricably linked to the quality of care. Our biggest priority over the next 12 months is to reduce length of stay. Spending a long time in hospital can lead to an increased risk of patients falling, sleep deprivation, catching infections and sometimes mental and physical deconditioning.
By ensuring patients return to their usual place of residence, or another care setting, as soon as it’s safe to do so, not only will this have a positive impact for our patients in terms of their safety and experience, but also on ‘flow’ (the movement of patients, information or equipment between wards and departments) which will improve right through the system. Beds will be free for those needing quick admission for emergency care or for a planned operation, which in turn will have a positive impact on reducing crowding in our emergency department. This is not something that can be solved by just working harder, or faster, we need to do something different and I am looking forward to working with our colleagues across the Trust and wider health and social care system to make this a reality.
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust has started on a journey to further increase our
partnership working. It is therefore crucial that our Quality Account priorities link with our strategic aims around our patients, people and partners. In terms of enhancing patient experience, we are continuing our journey of collaborative working at PLACE with the introduction of further patient forums which are patient led and patient chaired, in collaboration with the NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board. I am committed to lead Gateshead Health with vision and clarity towards our common goal of achieving success and we will continue to do this through developing trusted relationships, being inclusive and respectful of others and ensuring that as a good partner, the standard of care delivered within the hospital and within Gateshead’s community remain high.
Over the last twelve months, we have continued to foster an open and responsive culture to inform learning and shape practice and this will continue over 2023-24 as we implement the Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) as one of our Quality Account priorities.
We will continue to actively encourage all of our staff to report incidents and any issues they may face, and we will continue to participate in national audits, and share findings across teams to inform practice, and to improve safety and outcomes for our patients.
We understand that in order to ensure high quality care for our patients, we must look after our people and ensure that they have what they need to be able to perform to a high level. In 6 Quality Account 2022/23 response to this, we have made a significant investment in staff wellbeing, with a dedicated health and wellbeing team and a comprehensive range of support for our people. These include wellbeing and financial advice, menopause support, wellbeing check-ins, therapy sessions in collaboration with Gateshead College and an enhanced catering offer, particularly in times of
extreme pressures such as Opel 4 where we have offered all staff free teas, coffees, breakfasts and soup, in response to staff feedback.
We know we still have so much to do as the NHS, both locally and nationally, continues to face immense challenges. Nevertheless, we have much to be optimistic about and, despite these challenges, I am confident we will continue to improve the quality of care we provide because our dedicated teams focus on what matters most, supporting each other as well as our patients and carers to have the very best of experiences of our services here at Gateshead.
Our staff selflessly step forward both night and day, with courage to care for, help and support patients, families and colleagues in the most challenging of circumstances. As an Executive team, we believe that the people who do the job know best how to do it and we are driven to listen to our staff and encourage innovation. On behalf of myself and our Trust Board, I would like to thank every member of staff, our governors, our volunteers and partners for their hard work and commitment during these challenging times.
To ensure that the Quality Account fairly presents our position, it has been reviewed by key stakeholders and by Trust Board members, including our Non-Executive Directors. I can confirm, in accordance with my statutory duty, that to the best of my knowledge, the information provided in this Quality Account is accurate.