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GP Bulletin - May 2017

We’re recruiting hospital chaplaincy volunteers

Volunteers from all religions are being sought to help bring a listening ear and a kind word into the lives of our patients. Our Chaplaincy Service is now looking to add to its team of volunteers to cater for people’s spiritual needs during their hospital stay.   Perhaps you know a friend, family or staff member who may be interested.

Our Chaplaincy team is multi-faith, comprising seven chaplains who represent all major religions in Bradford. They provide pastoral healthcare for those of religious belief and those of no faith which is an integral part of the patient experience, contributing to a patient’s holistic wellbeing.

Hospital Chaplain Maryam Riaz said: “For many this is a vital source of comfort during their stay. Chaplaincy volunteers help supplement this service by visiting patients and providing a listening ear and words of encouragement. They carry out visits to hospital patients for a few hours every week, to give support and hope. The Chaplaincy team currently has 58 volunteers but we would like to expand its reach even further.”

To become a volunteer you need to be aged 17 and over, and be able to commit at least two to three hours every week to the hospital. All volunteers must undergo a training course, led by the hospital Chaplains, before they are permitted to work on our wards.

Maryam added: “The Chaplains deliver a thorough training programme to equip potential volunteers with the essential skills that are required for visiting patients. This includes vital listening skills, how to provide general support to people in a variety of different situations that might occur during their hospital stay, understanding religion and spirituality from different faiths, and an introduction to providing bereavement support.”

If you are interested in becoming a chaplaincy volunteer, please contact Dawn Arnison on 01274-365819 or email dawn.arnison@bthft.nhs.uk. We will also be running a four-day induction course for Chaplaincy volunteers from October 3-7, 2017, 9.30am-3.30pm, at St Luke’s Hospital. Anyone interested should apply now, so the various checks can take place ahead of training.

Anaesthetic team scoop national award

Consultant Anaesthetists Jill Horn and Maria Garside, along with Operating Department Practitioner, Andy Sykes, have been awarded the prestigious Humphry Davy Award by the Royal College of Anaesthetists. The highly respected national award was presented to the trio, along with their colleagues from London and Bournemouth, for their high level of commitment to developing and delivering the national GASagain (Giving Anaesthesia Safely again) course and their contribution to the Royal College.

Retired Bradford Royal Infirmary Consultant Anaesthetist, Carolyn Evans, who supported the course from its inception, was also part of the group to receive their certificates at the awards ceremony in London. The day-long course is specifically designed for anaesthetists returning to work after a period of absence (for example, illness, parental leave or research) and the team’s work on developing it over several years was praised in the judges’ citation.

Clinical Lead for Theatres and Critical Care, Richard Davidson, added: "It is fantastic to see colleagues from our directorate receiving national recognition for all their hard work in developing such a valuable resource. It's great to see Bradford Teaching Hospitals at the forefront of such innovation."

Meeting our cost improvement challenge

We all share a vision to provide safe healthcare, of the highest quality at all times. Our aim is to improve patient experience year-on-year and we are committed to ensuring our services support the needs of our growing population.

The unprecedented slowdown in the growth of NHS funding in England since 2010 has meant that we and the wider NHS have had to pursue the most ambitious programme of productivity improvement since its foundation in order to close the gap between need and available funding. In short, we are doing what we can to make every pound of taxpayers’ investment go as far as possible.

During 2016/17 we reviewed how we would express our ambitions for improving our services by developing a series of Cost Improvement Programmes (CIPs) encompassing services across all wards and departments. We face a tough challenge in delivering the CIPs for 2017/18. However we are in a stronger position thanks to the excellent efforts made in 2016/17. Programmes incorporated within the CIP schemes for 2017/18 include (but are not limited to):

  • Outpatient Improvement Programme
  • Theatres’ Improvement Programme
  • Urgent and Emergency Care Improvement Programme
  • Workforce Programme
  • Lord Carter Improvement Programme
  • Electronic Patient Records (EPR)

All programmes are well underway; robust and credible processes have been developed with some realistic assumptions and safeguards to ensure clinical care is not compromised. We’ll keep you informed of progress with regular reports highlighting the ongoing development.

BTHFT midwives celebrate their special day

Our maternity service provides antenatal and postnatal care to around 6,000 women every year, making it one of the busiest in the country. Women are able to have their babies in either our Midwife-led Bradford Birth Centre, the Consultant-led Labour Ward or in the comfort of their own home. On 5 May it was the turn of our midwives who celebrated “International Day of the Midwife”, which takes place annually to recognise the vital role they play in improving maternal and child health.

This year, our colleagues drew attention to the importance of women’s mental health as they highlighted their work here in the UK and across the world. Head of Midwifery, Sara Keogh, said: “International Day of the Midwife enables us to celebrate the fantastic work our midwifery team do in providing a quality and safe experience for women and their families throughout pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. Midwives, maternity support workers and student midwives work tirelessly every day to ensure women, their babies and families get the best quality care they deserve, often in demanding circumstances. This professional attention by the team contributes to having healthy families across Bradford, so I’m delighted we are recognising the invaluable contribution that our staff make.”

This year’s theme was “Midwives, Mother and Families” and our midwives highlighted awareness of Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) by hosting a mums’ and babies’ music session at Bradford Royal Infirmary. Specialist Midwife (Parent Education) and Supervisor of Midwives, Becky Palethorpe, explained: “Postpartum Psychosis (PP) is a severe mental illness which begins suddenly following childbirth. Symptoms include hallucinations and delusions, often with mania, depression or confusion. More than 1,400 women experience PP each year in the UK – that’s one to two mothers in every 1,000 mothers. An episode of PP can be very frightening for women and their families. Most women go on to make a full recovery, however the journey to full recovery can be long and difficult.”

Our midwives also hosted a “guess the name of the bunny” competition and enjoyed a bake-off and tea party with new mums. Becky added: “We wanted to celebrate the fact that midwives, mothers and families are partners for life. You never forget your midwife.” Midwife Gillian Simpson has worked with us for 40 years. She said: “I like everything about the job. I love the women, love the babies and absolutely love the staff. We are a great team. They are my second family.”  

Chief Nurse, Karen Dawber, added: “Recognising International Day of the Midwife was a great way to thank our midwifery and maternity staff for all the excellent work they do. For staff to choose to celebrate the day by working with families and raising awareness of postpartum psychosis is an example of the dedicated work that our staff do.”

Improving end-of-life care

Bradford hospital staff have put together a bereavement survey aimed at providing the very best of holistic care for patients and their grieving families and carers.   The survey has been sensitively and sympathetically compiled and developed by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Palliative Care and Chaplaincy teams, led by Last Days of Life Educator, Paul Fernandez and Church of England and Free Church Chaplain, Joe Fielder.

Paul said: “As a Trust we are absolutely committed to being compassionate towards our patients and their relatives and carers, especially at difficult times in their lives. The idea of the survey is to capture a sense of how well we have looked after a loved one at the end of their life, at the time of their death and afterwards.

“It is important for us to hear from relatives and carers about how we respond and if we are offering what they expect and need in terms of end-of-life care and bereavement support.”

Joe added: “There are a number of questions included about culture and spiritual and religious care because it is important that we get this right too. It is vital that families and carers feel that their loved one has been treated with respect and dignity and this survey will help us see how well we have done in communicating clearly at important but yet difficult and often painful times. We realise that we have to be very sensitive with a survey of this nature as well as regards to timing as to when we approach people. For some families and carers they may not feel like answering questions soon after the death of a loved one and we completely respect that. Those who want to complete the survey can have as much time as they need to share their views; we will be grateful for any feedback we receive.”

Chief Nurse, Karen Dawber has supported and championed this important work with the Trust. She said: “We want to learn from all of our families’ and patients’ experiences within the hospital so we can build on what has gone well and what we can do even better.

“By developing the survey, we are moving to a more holistic view of the care we provide and this will then directly impact as we strive to provide truly outstanding care.”

The surveys will be part of a new bereavement pack which includes helpful information for families and carers including contacts of invaluable bereavement and counselling services. Initially the surveys will cover three in-patient areas – pre-term and young babies, children and adults – but it is planned to expand them to other areas of the hospital eventually.

The surveys will be given out to families and carers when the time is right.