Quality Accounts 2023 to 2024

The Trust Quality Account for 2022 to 2023 is an excellent demonstration of the Trust's continuing commitment to provide high quality, patient-focused care.

Hello, my name is Trudie Davies.

I am delighted to be able to present my second 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 2023-24 has again been a challenging year for us here at Gateshead as well as across the wider NHS and social care system. Our improvement journey has seen us focus on what is best for our patients and staff and as a result we have begun to see some improvements in key areas. Our ambulance handover times have improved markedly freeing up ambulances and their crews to get to the sickest patients in the community. We focussed on how long patients stay in hospital and working with our social care colleagues, we have significantly improved how long people wait for a social care placement meaning that our patients get home to their loved ones more quickly. None of this would have been possible without the skill and care of our clinical teams and I am extremely grateful to each and every one of our staff for the outstanding care that they show to patients every day.

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 2024-25. 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 ensure that we are a clinically led and management supported organisation. This means that we need to increase our opportunities for engaging with staff and we need to listen and act on the concerns that are raised. This year we welcomed our new full time Freedom to Speak Up Guardian and one of our priorities in this account is to improve staff access to the freedom to speak up programme by introducing a network of champions.

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust is continuing the journey to further increase our partnership working. This year we have been part of a developing Great North Healthcare Alliance with colleagues in Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. 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 remains high. It is clear that in the current climate we can only be that successful partner by working closely with our neighbours and sharing best practice for the benefit of our patients and our people.

The last 12 months have seen exciting developments within the patient safety field. We have now embedded the national patient safety incident response framework and we are working through the detail of how we develop this for Gateshead. We have also welcomed a new lay patient safety partner to the team and our Integrated Care Board colleagues into our Quality Governance Committee to give a higher level of transparency that we have ever had before. This year we have also changed our incident reporting system so that we can give our people easier, faster access to information about patient safety at the point of care. The forthcoming year will be the time to let these new developments bed in whilst focusing on our priority areas to improve the safety of our patients.

I never cease to be grateful to our staff for the dedication and compassion that they show every day. It is therefore sad that we have had to include this year a campaign about “zero tolerance” to abuse of our staff. Our staff survey shows that a worrying number of staff (21.4%) have been exposed to harassment, bullying or abuse while at work from patients or members of the public. We have also experienced some distressing incidents where colleagues have been abused via social media. This is simply not something that we can tolerate, and we continue to work with our teams to identify where this has happened, to support them and to take whatever action we can to live our values of respect and care. 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 and assure you of our commitment to keeping you safe at work.

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.

Quality Accounts 2023 to 2024 (pdf)