News in Brief – George Cross, new paramedic bursary and new mental health services in London

A busy week at Leading Healthcare has seen a fresh look for our website, while we’ve also covered some of the latest guidance from NHS England.

Below, we also look at some of the news you may have missed from the past week…

NHS awarded the George Cross 

The NHS has been awarded the George Cross by Her Majesty the Queen. The honour comes as the NHS celebrates its 73rd birthday this week.  

The NHS Chief Executive, Sir Simon Stevens hailed the achievements of staff, as the award honours staff from all disciplines, across the four nations of the United Kingdom.  

Sir Simon Stevens said: “This unprecedented award rightly recognises the skill and compassion and the fortitude of staff right across the National Health Service – the nurses, the paramedics, the doctors, the cleaners, the therapists, the entire team– who under the most demanding of circumstances have responded to the worst pandemic in a century and the greatest challenge this country has faced since the Second World War.”  

 “And so, as we congratulate staff across the health service on this award, we recognise that completing the NHS COVID vaccination programme which is in the final stages is now the surest way out of this pandemic and provides a sense of hope.” 

New hospital group launched

A new NHS hospitals group has been launched by Northamptonshire Hospitals, bringing together trusts from Northamptonshire and Kettering.  

The new University Hospitals of Northamptonshire (UHN) NHS Group will provide services and care to many throughout the region, in addition to the new hospital’s group, the organisation also celebrated achieving University Hospital status.  

Group Chief Executive Simon Weldon said: “This is a very exciting new chapter for health and care provision in Northamptonshire, enabling us to create a sustainable future for both Northampton and Kettering General Hospitals. 

 “Our first ambition as a partnership was always to become a University Hospital Group because we recognise the major benefits it will bring to our patients, our staff and our hospitals. It is a perfect example of something we would never have achieved alone, and it is a testament to the drive, determination and collaborative spirit of colleagues from both Trusts that we have been able to secure university hospital status in time for the launch of our new hospital group.”  

£380m for Scottish COVID provisions

Funding to cover the costs of the pandemic has been increased by the Department of Health and Social Care.  

£380m will be made available to Health Boards across Scotland and will be used to maintain the vaccination programme, the Test and Protect system and provide Personal Protective Equipment for staff.  

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Although we are hopefully emerging from this pandemic, coronavirus continues to add significant pressures to our health and care services. We will continue to assess the impact of COVID-19 and provide Health and Care services with the support they require. The remobilisation of the NHS is among our top priorities. We will publish a national recovery plan within the first 100 days of this government. 

 “The £380 million includes £90.3 million for Test and Protect, a further £76.8 million for the COVID and extended flu vaccination programmes and £85.5 million allocated to National Services Scotland for PPE costs. The rest of the funding will cover costs including additional staffing to support hospital scale-up, equipment, maintenance and IT.” 

New staff garden area unveiled

Palmer Community Hospital in South Tyneside has opened a new garden area to create a better space for staff to relax and enjoy their free time. 

Steve Jamieson, Director of Estates, Facilities and Clinical Engineering at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This charitable effort has created a vastly improved outdoor space that staff can enjoy throughout the summer and beyond. On behalf of the Trust, I’d like to thank Co-op and everyone involved.” 

The new courtyard is a green space for staff to relax and unwind, with new picnic benches planned to be installed in the coming weeks.  

The new area for staff was made possible by a generous charitable donation by the Co-Op.  

New mental health services in Camden  

New neighbourhood NHS mental health services are going to be launched by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.  

The project will be receiving £25m in funding to expand mental health services in North Central London.  

Deputy CEO Darren Summers said: “We’re fundamentally changing our approach to mental illness to help you recover sooner and stay well.

“We’re making it easier to get help when you need it by providing more services and support in local communities. Working with health and care partners, we’re transforming mental health care to improve quality of life for thousands in our community.” 

A major recruitment drive will help staff the new scheme and be delivered by four primary care networks of GPs.  

New property services website 

A new website to improve the booking system of the NHS property services has launched today, located at  

The online booking system was first launched by the NHS Property Services in 2019 and allows staff to book offices and clinical workspace across 100 sites nationwide. There are more than 700 rooms to choose from with plans to expand the portfolio sites in the next year. 

£10,000 Bursary for paramedic students 

The Department of Health and Social Care of Scotland has announced a new bursary scheme for paramedic students, 668 students are expected to benefit from the programme. It’s expected that the number of eligible students will rise to 900 by the next academic year. 

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, said: “This is fantastic news for current and prospective students across the country. They are an important part of our workforce and this announcement will be a real boost which will help encourage the paramedics of the future.

 “Our staff do an amazing job each day and this additional financial support is welcome.” 

The bursary will be paid across 12 months and The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) will automatically reassign students to the new funding package.