News in Brief – new Life Sciences Chair, anti-racism campaign launched, medical director update

Welcome to the latest edition of our news in brief, where we round up all the latest news from healthcare from the past week.  

We’ve covered a lot of big stories this week on Leading Healthcare, including the announcement of the new Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, as well as a call from the HEE Chief Executive for evidence to help shape a framework on future health and social care workforce planning.

Don’t forget to check out our Forward Healthcare Awards content, too. In the run-up to the event, we’re featuring some of the finalists on our website and you can read their entries here.

A new study on multiple health conditions affecting pregnant women

A new study has been launched by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust to investigate the effects of multiple health conditions on pregnant women. 

The project will analyse the impact of long-term health conditions like diabetes, as well as mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.  

Dr Beck Taylor, Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham and Co-Investigator of MuM-PreDiCT, said: “Our research will provide valuable information to help women and clinicians make informed decisions and identify points for prevention and intervention.

“We will also explore the experiences of maternity care for women with two or more long-term conditions and work with families and health and social care professionals to produce recommendations on how to plan and design services that meet the needs of women and their families before, during and after pregnancy.” 

The funding for the research project will be sourced from UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF) initiative, titled ‘Tackling multi-morbidity at scale: Understanding disease clusters, determinants & biological pathways’. 

The new study will take three years to complete and is being led by the University of Birmingham and called Multimorbidity and Pregnancy: Determinants, Clusters, Consequences and Trajectories (MuM-PreDiCT). Other trusts involved in the study include Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. 

New medical director named

A new medical director has been appointed by United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, following a national recruitment process.

Dr Farquharson will take up the role after previously serving as a Consultant Cardiologist and Deputy Medical Director at the trust. 

The Trust’s Chief Executive, Andrew Morgan, said: “Dr Farquharson’s appointment as Medical Director is great news for the trust and our patients. His wealth of experience and knowledge will be invaluable, not only as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also as we look to the future. 

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Neill Hepburn for all of his dedication and hard work as our Medical Director over the last four years during the most challenging of times for the NHS. We will still see Dr Hepburn in our hospitals as he continues his work as a Consultant Dermatologist at the trust.”

Investment in mental health services

A £2 million investment in mental health services will be made across the next three years, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust has announced. The funding is a result of NHS England and Improvement’s work toward supporting more “joined-up” mental health care services.  

John Lawlor, Chief Executive at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are extremely proud to be part of this vital work, which will have a significant impact on the care the people in Northumberland receive. There is no doubt we have all gone through a difficult period and our need to provide appropriate and effective services for those who need them is more important than ever.

“Working in partnership with other organisations will ensure we have a joined-up approach, with a shared aim of improving the access and support for people with serious mental illness.” 

The funding will be used to improve treatment and services for specific mental health conditions, such as the community adult eating disorder service, which will be expanded and supported further throughout Northumberland and will aim to improve early diagnostics and patient outcomes.  

Julia Perry, Head of Community and Wellbeing Services, at Mental Health Concern, said: “This is a really exciting programme that will make it easier for local people to find the mental health support they need. After the incredible challenges of the last 18 months, this investment could not have come at a better time. Our team at Mental Health Concern is proud to be involved and to lead the Northumberland Recovery College, which puts wellbeing support at the heart of communities across Northumberland.” 

New Consultant Professor appointed

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Foundation Trust (RJAH) has appointed a new Consultant Professor in Regenerative Orthopaedics. Professor Martyn Snow, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, will be collaborating with the team based at the specialist hospital and will be working in the knee team.  

Professor Snow said: “I am delighted to be joining this fantastic team and organisation. Further increasing the research portfolio at RJAH will improve patient care and I look forward to being a part of this work. Having been a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon for more than 12 years, I feel that now is the right time in my career to undertake a new challenge. For some time now I’ve wanted to involve myself in a more formal academic structure with dedicated research time, enabling the delivery of high-quality, translational research.”  

The role has been vacant since 2018 after the sudden death of Professor James Richardson.  

New anti-racism campaign launched

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership has joined together with 500 local organisations to launch a new anti-racism campaign. 

Rob Webster (CBE), CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, said:  “To change people’s behaviours, we must change people’s minds. This movement aims to make people stop and think, to try to better understand what is going on beneath the surface for people, and in response, act on these feelings to make a real change in their community.

“This movement is part of a range of interventions and builds on our awarding winning system leadership work and fellowship programmes. We can all make a difference and eliminate racism from our places of work, community spaces and homes. Together we can root out racism”.  

The campaign brings together local NHS organisations, and imagery and slogans will be displayed across the region to promote the campaign as well as the social media hashtag #WYHRootOutRacism.

Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader for Kirklees Council and Movement Ambassador, added: “Rooting out racism is incredibly important for Kirklees and West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership. I’m delighted that 500 organisations and community allies including the West Yorkshire Mayor and Deputy Mayor are getting behind this movement to root out racism. We really are stronger together and only by working side by side with colleagues and communities locally and across West Yorkshire and Harrogate can we proactively change society for the better for everyone.”

New Life Sciences Chair announced

Dr Chris Martin is the new chair of the Life Sciences Hub Wales. Professor Sir Mansel Aylward is stepping down from the role but will continue to reside on the board as a non-executive director.

Dr Martin has been vice-chair since 2017 and has been serving as interim chair over the past 18 months.

Cari-Anne Quinn, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are already benefitting from Dr Martin’s leadership through his roles as a vice, and currently, interim chair. He brings a real understanding of not only the organisation but the life sciences sector and our board will continue to provide us with strategic direction and governance. I, and the team, look forward to working with him in this new role.”

The Life Sciences Hub Wales is an arm’s length body of the Welsh government that leads innovation and strategic planning in healthcare in Wales.

Dr Martin, a pharmacist by background and previously chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “It has been wonderful to see the growth and impact of Life Sciences Hub Wales over the last four years. I am proud of the organisation and the team behind it who are passionate to continue making a real difference to both the health and economy of Wales. I am also proud to be taking up this role and with the board, leading the organisation to have an even greater impact.”