Partnership is the key to managing demand on hospitals, says top nurse

As you will have seen reported in this paper, our Accident & Emergency Departments last week saw increased levels of demand, with high numbers of people attending over a period of three or four days, writes Shropshire's director of nursing Hayley Flavell.

Indeed, June and July saw our highest ever levels of activity in A&E.

As ever, our focus has remained on ensuring that all patients continue to receive the quality care they need and I’d like to again thank all my colleagues in SaTH, and right across the health system, for all they continue to do, especially during busy times like last week.

Just like with the response to Covid-19 though, there is a need for a partnership approach, and everyone has a role to play in terms of helping manage what is asked of our hospitals.

We would urge everyone, if they are considering attending A&E, to ask themselves if the emergency department is the right place to go for the care they need.

A&E is for genuinely life-threatening emergencies – for example chest pains or severe bleeding or burns – with a whole range of other options across the NHS and healthcare system for medical matters that fall outside these.

GPs’ surgeries are open; the 111 service – including online and via the NHS app – is available to help if you have an urgent medical problem and aren’t sure what to do; pharmacies – which are staffed by trained medical professionals – can assist with a wide range of issues; and urgent treatment or minor injury centres are available across the region.

Together we can help ensure that A&E departments are best able to deliver care for those in the most need.

Continuing last week’s theme of celebrating success and recognition of the outstanding work done by my colleagues, I’m delighted to say that SaTH’s nursing team have received not one, but two nominations for this year’s Nursing Times Awards.

Our Cancer Care Navigator team are up for an award as ‘Team of the Year’ and one of our Professional Development Nurses, Jamie Henry, has been shortlisted in the ‘Rising Star’ category.

The Cancer Care Navigators have been doing amazing work in supporting patients through from diagnosis, into treatment, and onto living with, and beyond cancer. The care and compassion they have shown to patients and families is why they have been recognised and makes me very proud.

Equally, Jamie has done phenomenal work inside the Trust, helping over 200 international nurses prepare for and pass their exams, using her own experiences to support and guide them all the way.

On top of that, she went back into intensive care during the last wave of the pandemic to help tackle the extra pressures in our hospitals. Truly inspirational and I wish Jamie and the Cancer Care Navigator team all the best in the awards.

Finally – and returning to the partnership between ourselves and the communities we serve – a local charity supporter, Julie Ward, is looking to design a ‘Garden of Hope’ to stand at the entrance to The Princess Royal Hospital.

These kind of spaces – that give patients and colleagues alike the chance to relax and take a break – are so important for everyone’s well-being, so we’d like to offer our huge thanks to Julie for all that she is doing.

If you’d like to support Julie please email pinksparklyjulie@gmail.com, or donations can be made directly to the SaTH charity using the reference PRH Sculpture (ST225R).

Full details of how to donate can be found in the Charity section of our website. Thank you for any support you can give.

By Hayley Flavell, director of nursing at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH)

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