News in Brief – East Lancs launches streaming tool, CNTWFT re-introduces volunteer scheme

Our weekly round-up returns, featuring news of a fresh appointment at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT), new streaming tools to reduce patient waiting times, and much more.

Find out the latest updates from across the health and care sector, below…

CNTWFT secures funding to re-introduce volunteer scheme

Cumbia, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTWFT) has secured funding to re-introduce a volunteer scheme which is aimed at providing independence to people living in the community.

The Voluntary Services team is preparing to roll out the Community Befriending Scheme, around 10 years after its initial inception.

The scheme, which aims to promote people’s independence and break down stigma around mental health and learning disabilities, will match service users with volunteers to meet weekly and do an activity they enjoy.

Wendy Spratt, Voluntary Services Manager, said: “We have found many service users have said they feel isolated, especially within the last two years because of the pandemic, and often don’t see anyone apart from healthcare professionals at an appointment.”

Frimley Health’s new hospital on track to open

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust’s new Heatherwood Hospital is on track to open in spring to patients across the Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire region.

The development, now in its final stage of production, has been furnished and staff are being given the opportunity to understand the layout of the building through familiarisation tours.

The 11,500 square-metre hospital, which will support non-emergency procedures for both NHS and private patients, includes six state-of-the-art theatres, outpatient and diagnostic facilities.

The £99 million building will offer a one-stop service for many conditions, Bart’s Health says, and is expected to reduce the number of hospital visits patients need to make.

New payment machines launched in UHDB Antenatal Departments

Royal Derby Hospital and Queen’s Hospital Burton have installed new payment machines for scan photos in their Antenatal Ultrasound Departments.

The hospitals say that the machines will be in operation from Monday, 28 February 2022, and feature card and contactless payment technology.

Lauren Grimadell, Clinical Manager Obstetric Ultrasound said: “We are extremely excited to introduce our new additions to the team. We hope that it will make obtaining baby scan pictures easier and safer, as well as giving pregnant people and their families opportunity to purchase more than the standard two photos we have been able to offer during COVID.”

Robotic surgery team celebrate one year of success

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) has used robotic surgery technology to benefit more than 200 patients in the past year.

The £2.5 million Davinci Xi surgical robot, which was introduced in February last year, is used to carry out minimally invasive colon, rectal and gynaecological cancer operations, as well as endometriosis procedures.

Subash Vasudevan, Chair of ESNEFT’s robot working group and trust lead for innovation, commented: “It has been a hugely successful year for our team of surgeons and theatre staff. Not only have they completed extensive training to be able to use this technology but have also worked together brilliantly to perform these procedures – all during a global pandemic.”

ELHT launches streaming tool to reduce waiting times

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) is set to launch a new streaming tool, which is designed to reduce waiting times and ensure that patients who need urgent treatment are seen first.

The new system will record the patient’s details when they arrive via a smart device which will, depending on the severity of their illness or injury, provide a time to come back and be seen.

Dr Georgina Robertson, Clinical Lead for Emergency Medicine at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, commented: “This new system will be launched on Monday, 14 February, and replicates the streaming tool in place at the urgent care centre at Burnley General Teaching Hospital, which has been a great success. The benefits to patients are clear. In the first week it was working in Burnley, 682 patients provided details via the smart device and 630 were given an allotted appointment time to come back.”

NBT appoint Chief Executive as Bristol Health Partners Chair

North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) has appointed Chief Executive, Maria Kane OBE, as interim Chair of Bristol Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC).

Maria has previously held Chief Executive roles at North Middlesex University Hospitals NHS Trust and Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, before starting her current role in April 2021.

Maria will begin her new position as interim Chair in April 2022.

Bristol Health Partners AHSC Director Professor David Wynick said: “I am delighted to welcome Maria to her new role as our Chair and look forward to working with her to further advance our system working across the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care System.”