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Winter 2016-17 â?˜ Issue 61

More than just a magazine Bring these pages to life with our amazing new app See page four

Anne Hicks wins the outstanding contribution award


as we celebrate the winners of our Best Possible Care Awards 2016 Supported by the Northamptonshire Health Charitable Fund


APPLAUSE, ACCOLADES AND AWARDS FOR OUR STAFF The last couple of months have seen NGH nominated for a number of national, regional and local awards, and it’s really pleasing to see so many of our staff getting the recognition they deserve. Congratulations to all our award winners and finalists!

Safeguarding midwives Sally Kingston, Emma Fathers and Angela Bithray

Many congratulations to our safeguarding midwives Emma Fathers, Sally Kingston and Angela Bithray who won the Enhancing Patient Dignity award at this year’s Nursing Times Awards! The team set up an antenatal group for women and partners who need extra support with their experience of pregnancy and childbirth. The Chit Chat group was established by NGH midwives as a way of tailoring antenatal education, parenting advice and peer support to women with additional needs, including learning disabilities or anxiety. The team also reached the finals of the Royal College of Midwives awards in the Excellence in Maternity Care category, and they were also finalists in our own Best Possible Care awards. It’s great to see their innovative work supporting women and families with learning disabilities getting such recognition. Well done!

Members of our sustainable procurement team

campaign to recruit registered nurses to our staff bank. Our nurses Amber and Nora were the faces of the campaign that helped us to use our own staff to address staff shortfalls, sickness and holiday cover. As well as reducing our reliance on nursing agencies, using our own nurse bank means our patients receive more consistent care. Well done to everyone involved in the campaign! NGH was the only acute trust shortlisted for the awards and one of only four organisations nationally to achieve a gold award.

who have been shortlisted for the East Midlands Leadership Academy awards. Safeguarding midwife Emma Fathers, ward sister Stacey Cheney and pre-operative assessment sister Sharron Matthews were all announced as finalists in recognition of their outstanding leadership qualities and commitment to improving patients’ experience.

A huge well done to our procurement team who were highly commended in the sustainable procurement award category at this year’s Health Care Supply Association awards. The team have shown how refurbishing condemned furniture such as overbed tables and patient lockers can cut costs in half, while also producing environmental and patient experience improvements. Stacey Cheney

Communications team

Congratulations to our communications team on winning a Public Services Communications Excellence gold award for our

Sharron Matthews

Huge congratulations to three of our nursing and midwifery staff

Health and wellbeing steering group

NGH was also shortlisted for the Northamptonshire Sports Awards in the Active Workplace category. We were recognised for our activity programmes to improve staff health and wellbeing, which include nutrition and fitness programmes, taking part in local and national fitness challenges, and lunchtime dance classes. Congratulations to our health and wellbeing steering group for all the hard work they have put into leading on this.

And as well as these national and local awards, we also held our own annual Best Possible Care Awards to recognise some of the great work that goes on at NGH every day. See the winners from this year’s celebration event in a special feature starting on page 14 >> 2 ❘ Insight


Our cover Maxillofacial clinical nurse specialist ANNE HICKS was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution award at our Best Possible Care Awards this year. When she’s not looking after head and neck cancer patients, what would you imagine she does at weekends? See page 19… you might be surprised!

Our maternity team must have felt like they were SEEING DOUBLE last month - they helped deliver FIVE sets of twins all born here within days of each other! Congratulations to the Cadd, Thompson, Hussain, Bazeley and Cookson families on the safe arrival of their beautiful babies!

Have you heard of TWIDDLEMUFFS? They are basically knitted muffs with interesting bits and bobs attached. Many patients with Alzheimer’s, arthritis and dementia find them comforting and therapeutic as they help encourage movement and brain stimulation – so much so that here at NGH we’re promoting the use of twiddlemuffs as part of our Do it for Dementia fundraising campaign. We’re appealing to knitters for help, so do you enjoy knitting or know someone that does? We would love to hear from you. Please give us a call on 01604 523159.

A RAINBOW of hope over Northampton General Hospital, captured by our head of medical photography Duncan Kempson on his way home from work – lovely picture DK!

Our new PLACEMAT design is a great source of information for patients from understanding the different uniforms on the wards to infection prevention tips. They’re now available on all of our adult wards thanks to our charity Northamptonshire Health Charitable Fund, who funded the production costs.

That’s the number of patients who would RECOMMEND our hospital to friends and family, based on the latest monthly survey. We’re really proud to say that’s our highest ever score, so a big thank you to everyone who made it possible!

Why not GIVE BLOOD? You can donate blood at St Giles Rooms in central Northampton on 12 December, 9, 16 or 30 January, or 27 February – and at many other locations throughout the county. Go to to book a session.

Director of nursing Carolyn Fox (centre) and the infection prevention team said THANK YOU to staff on three wards (Creaton, Collingtree and Willow) for all of their hard work, engagement and enthusiasm during a 90 day project to improve the way we look after patients with a clostridium difficile infection. Pictured here receiving their ward’s fruit basket are Creaton junior sisters Elaine Elliott and Maxine Chapman.

“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”

– Heather Morgan

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VALUING THE UNMEASURABLE The highlight of the last few months for me was definitely the chance to say thank you to staff at our Best Possible Care Awards. The evening was full of infectious enthusiasm – people full of hope and perseverance – and I wish I could have bottled it! But as the next best thing it was a time to say thank you to all the winners, the shortlisted nominees, their supporters and teams, and all the many unsung heroes that support our hospital. This year’s challenge from me is around spreading that infectious enthusiasm in the room to the rest of the hospital to show a true ‘Team NGH’ spirit and that we really are all on the same side. We constantly report on how many patients we see, how quickly we see them and whether or not we have met some specific outcome standards. But ask a patient what matters to them and they will often mention the unmeasurable things that we all know are integral to great care and that sense of worth for patients and staff. Kindness, empathy, professionalism are often cited. Somewhat surprisingly, so are humour and the need for personal connections to be made. Two very different patients recently told me how surprised they were to find so much humour and laughter in a place that was so full of so much serious illness. It connected them to the staff and gave them a sense of common humanity – so much so that they actually looked forward to their treatments. Our theme for this year’s AGM, and the annual report we published earlier in the year, was about care and kindness too. The accompanying video reflected on how the million cups of tea we make for patients each year offer the symbol of human care that is often so important. I think we all know instinctively that great care is often very personal. It feels like it really matters. Staff and patients making that human connection involves developing a shared understanding of what is really most important. The NHS is certainly a pressurised environment, and the targets and money issues are ever present, but if we can succeed in always remembering the need to focus on the most important things despite this, then we will all be able to continue to feel that we are adding value. Thank you all for your great work this year. I wish every one of you the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

Dr Sonia Swart

Chief Executive Northampton General Hospital

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ee and hear more from our chief executive Dr Sonia Swart by downloading the NGH Plus app. Point your phone or tablet at the image above to watch her latest update about NGH. Here’s how to do it…

Download our app and watch the video! Insight is now more than a magazine! Welcome to another edition with added video content, which you can see on your smartphone or tablet with our amazing new app, NGH Plus. Just download the app from the App Store or Google Play, follow the instructions below, then point it at the photos which show the ‘Scan photo for video’ symbol here. Download the NGH Plus app from the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android).



Point your device at the photos where you see the AR content logo pictured right – and wait for the surprise. Double tap for a full-screen.


Open the app with a simple tap.

Augmented reality services by

NGH to pilot new nursing role Northampton General Hospital has been selected as one of the test sites for training the first wave of nursing associates in the UK. Eleven sites across the country have been confirmed to carry out the piloting over the next two years.

Over 1,000 nursing associates begin training across the UK this December in a new role that will sit alongside existing nursing care support workers and fully-qualified registered nurses to deliver hands-on care for patients. NGH director of nursing Carolyn Fox said: “This new role has been designed to bridge the gap between health and care support workers and graduate registered nurses. For health care assistants, it offers great opportunities to progress into nursing roles; for nurses, it provides practical support and skills on our busy wards; and for our patients, it means their care will be delivered by an enhanced nursing team all focused on delivering safe and compassionate care.”



NGH safeguarding midwife Emma orthampton General Hospital is strengthening the support it gives Fathers said: “One in six pregnant women to patients at risk of domestic abuse will experience domestic violence and thanks to the creation of a new role. around 30 per cent of domestic violence Claire, an independent domestic starts or worsens during pregnancy. This violence advisor (IDVA) working for means our maternity team is uniquely Northamptonshire Sunflower Centre, is positioned to identify women who are now based at the hospital to offer victims of domestic abuse and to offer advice and guidance to adults support or make a child protection who have experienced referral where appropriate. domestic abuse and are “However, we have lots at risk of injury, harm of other departments One in six or homicide. providing treatment and pregnant women Claire will also care to domestic abuse will experience introduce new training victims, most obviously for our staff to help domestic violence. our various emergencies them to recognise signs of teams but by no means abuse and to act safely and limited to those. appropriately to signpost and “We also know that our support them. She will be based ward staff sometimes witness initially in the hospital’s maternity controlling or abusive behaviours towards offices working alongside the hospital’s an individual in-patient from a relative. safeguarding midwives. Those situations can be very difficult for

any member of staff to deal with; one of the aims of this new role is to give extra support to our staff in responding to situations where we have concerns that a patient is experiencing abuse.” The role has been created in partnership with Northamptonshire Sunflower Centre and is funded thanks to a pooled health, police, borough council and county council budget. IDVAs work in a multi-agency context, but are independent of statutory agencies. They provide a range of options to improve the safety of adults and their children as well as empower people to make positive changes. They offer information and support, crisis intervention, safety planning, advocacy and practical and emotional support to enable those experiencing domestic abuse to make positive changes, reduce risk and minimise the risk of repeat victimisation.

If you have experienced domestic abuse and would like to talk to somebody in confidence, you can get in touch with the Sunflower Centre on 01604 888211 or

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Spotting the signs of


Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition, triggered by an infection or injury. We’re committed to identifying and tackling it rapidly and effectively.


epsis, also referred to as blood poisoning or septicaemia, is a potentially life-threatening condition triggered by an infection or injury. In sepsis, the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight an infection. This can reduce the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys. Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death. “It’s a scary illness,” says Dr Jonathan

Dr Jonathan Hardwick, clinical lead for sepsis at NGH

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more severe than a common cold, and they can trigger an alert for severe, or what we call ‘red flag’ sepsis. “Secondly, sepsis can appear in paediatrics, in maternity, medicine, surgery or any specialty. So we have to ensure that all staff throughout the hospital are aware of and alert to the symptoms. We have stickers and guidelines outlining the six things staff need to do immediately, and we have It’s a very difficult a red sepsis ‘grab’ box on every ward, containing thing to diagnose, everything that is needed as many of the to treat sepsis quickly so earliest symptoms that everything is to hand. are very similar to We do lots of training colds or flu. now including simulation exercises actually on the wards - and we do lots of audits. We’re essentially carrying out an ongoing evaluation all the time of how we carry out sepsis care. “The good news is that, once diagnosed, sepsis is very easy to treat by giving strong, intravenous antibiotics as soon as possible - ideally within an hour from diagnosis. And we’re very good at treating it here at NGH. Eighty per cent of sepsis patients arriving at A&E get antibiotics within an hour. Speed is important because we know that every hour’s delay in treatment increases the chance of death by seven and a half per cent – which is phenomenal. We’re also good at reviewing antibiotics within three days, because it’s important that we stop them as soon as the infection has been treated – otherwise other complications can arise from being on such strong medication. “We’re continually looking for ways to improve our care of patients with sepsis, and the focus is very much on spotting it early. We’re currently introducing new screening tools into our paediatric areas in A&E and the wards, and we’re also

Hardwick, the clinical lead for sepsis at NGH. “Firstly because it’s a very difficult thing to diagnose, as many of the earliest symptoms are very similar to colds or flu. Where it differs is when the patient experiences extreme chills and shivering, slurring of speech, passing very little urine, mottling of the skin, and an altered level of consciousness. These are all signs that they might have an infection that is

introducing some new national maternity guidelines, which I helped to design. Maternal sepsis is the third leading cause of death in postnatal women in the UK, so it is a very big topic but one which we’re on top of here. “The priority is to be able to recognise those patients who have the most severe ‘red flag’ sepsis symptoms. People’s reaction to sepsis can vary widely, from mild to extremely severe, and it’s not really known why - but if it’s diagnosed early with antibiotics given promptly, the chances of survival increase dramatically.”

What is Sepsis? Sepsis is caused by the way the body responds to germs, such as bacteria, getting into your body. The infection may have started anywhere in a sufferer’s body, and may be only in one part of the body or it may be widespread. Sepsis can occur following chest or water infections, problems in the abdomen like burst ulcers, or simple skin injuries like cuts and bites.

Do I have Sepsis? Sepsis is a serious condition that can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection. Seek urgent medical help if you develop any of the following:  Slurred speech  Extreme shivering or muscle pain  Passing no urine (in a day)  Severe breathlessness  ‘I feel like I may die’  Skin mottled or discoloured

When to seek medical advice See your GP immediately or call 111 if you’ve recently had an infection or injury and you have possible early signs of sepsis. If sepsis is suspected, you’ll be referred to hospital for further diagnosis and treatment.

Starfish – a tragic but hugely uplifting film telling the true story of Tom, who lost all four limbs to sepsis – is showing at cinemas now. Visit for details

Hear Peter Smith and his wife Trish talk about his experience with sepsis in this video. Just download the NGH Plus app (see page 4) and point your smartphone’s camera to the photograph above.

Peter’s story Peter Smith became unwell last February, and initially thought he might have flu – but he was soon rushed to hospital with what turned out to be meningitis and then sepsis. Here’s his story. “I had a dreadful chill like I’ve never experienced before, and I just couldn’t get warm. I assumed I was getting flu so took a Lemsip went to bed early, thinking I would wake up just not feeling great that weekend. I don’t remember much more until I woke up a week later in intensive care.” Subsequently his wife Trish told Peter that he had woken up in the early hours of that night. She said: “He was so hot to touch, like a radiator, so I wasn’t surprised when he said he’d got a chill, and he had said earlier that his heart had been pounding very fast. I got him some tablets for his headache but when he said it was a headache like he’d never had before I knew it couldn’t wait until the morning. While I rang 111 he wasn’t responding and I realised there was something very wrong. By the time the paramedics arrived he was in a state of total confusion, fighting them as they were trying to take him out of the house into the ambulance. That was pretty scary.” “I have some memories from that time,” said Peter, “but I didn’t realise

how seriously ill I was. I was delusional, really struggling to differentiate between dreams and reality, a frightening experience. I didn’t know why I was in hospital, and only much later did I discover that I had meningitis and that triggered a bout of sepsis leaving me in hospital for several weeks - including nine days in intensive care. At one point my heartbeat was so high that I was given cardioversion to stop my heart and restart it at the normal rhythm. I do remember looking up at the ceiling and wondering if that was the last thing I was ever going to see. But, before I knew it, it had been done, and worked successfully. I wasn’t in pain but the whole process was pretty traumatic.” Although the experience is one that takes a very long time to completely get over, Peter has recovered well and is grateful for the prompt care he received at NGH. He said: “I noticed that the staff did everything very quickly… but without any sense of panic. It was all done so professionally, that you’re just aware of all this happening. The care and understanding I got was fabulous, and the one-to-one care in intensive care was just remarkable. Whatever I needed – and I needed a lot – was always there – the staff were fantastic.” Trish agreed: “They were helpful and thoughtful all the time, day and night. They were absolutely brilliant.”

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Our new bite-sized menu is finding favour with older patients, and those with dementia


utrition, catering and nursing staff have worked together to create a finger food menu which is available to all wards following a successful pilot scheme earlier this year. The finger food boxes are now offered to any patient who has difficulty eating a more conventional hot meal and has particular benefits for patients with dementia. Dementia liaison nurse, Jill Garratt, explained: “Our patients with dementia can often have difficulty eating and drinking in hospital: it’s an unsettling and confusing environment and the food we serve might not be familiar to them. “As dementia progresses, people often find cutlery difficult to manage and they can lose the ability to identify their own thirst and hunger. So there are risks in terms of

patients not getting the nutrition they need to aid their recovery.” The food boxes, providing a selection of finger foods, were trialled over the summer as a menu choice on five wards with the highest numbers of patients with dementia, following discussions between nutritional advisors and the hospital’s catering team to ensure they met a calorie count of 400 across the required food groups. Catering manager Andy Head says the request to provide finger food meals was timely: “We had already been looking at similar schemes in other hospitals and we knew that we could provide the finger food at a comparable cost to the standard patient meals and at the same time reduce food waste. We worked with our dietitians to make sure the meals meet

the required nutritional standards. “The menu has been rolled out across the hospital and as well as the obvious benefits for our older patients, it’s been welcomed in the children’s and maternity wards because their patients’ needs can be less predictable.” Brampton ward was one of the five wards selected to take part in the pilot project. Sister Benitha Fenning said: “When we have a patient who is confused or has dementia and they are likely to wander on the ward, it can be frustrating for them to be expected to sit and eat a hot meal and it’s a worry for my staff because they are concerned about 8 ❘ Insight

whether the patient is eating well and getting the nourishment they need. “The finger food is a real benefit to our patients. The food isn’t wrapped, so it’s easier for patients to pick the food up, and to eat when they want, not when we say it’s time to eat. It gives them independence to make their own choices around when to eat. It empowers them. It’s also good for our nurses because they can be confident that our patients are getting the right nutrition.” Nutrition is a crucial part of a patient’s recovery, explains Jill: “We know that older patients tend to lose weight during a stay in hospital. Alongside that, somebody who is fighting an infection or recovering from an operation needs more calories than usual so meeting our patients’ nutritional needs is an The finger food important part of the meals are an example care we give them. “The finger food of how a relatively meals are an example small change can of how a relatively make a big difference small change can to our patients. make a big difference to our patients.”

If you would like to order the finger food menu for yourself or a relative, please speak to your ward nurse. Finger food boxes are ordered from the catering team using the same system as the more traditional hot food to make sure all meals are freshly prepared each day.

PLUS POINTS of finger foods  Enable people to feed themselves, helping maintain independence  Help preserve eating skills  Can renew interest in food and stimulate appetite  Can improve food intake  Can boost confidence and self-esteem at mealtimes  Offer more choice and freedom to eat as desired  Don’t need to be served hot, good for people who need time to eat

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Bite-sized animations deliver key safety messages



– dangerously low blood sugar – which round one in five hospital inpatients can occur in people who take diabetes have diabetes, and almost half of medication such as insulin. those are on insulin therapy. But Dr Sowmya Setty, a diabetes the majority of them will have and endocrinology consultant been admitted to hospital at NGH, is working with for something other than If a patient is the hospital’s quality diabetes, and this means admitted to hospital improvement team to that many of these help doctors increase patients will be cared with another their knowledge and for by staff who are not condition, then understanding about diabetes specialists. it’s important that diabetes management. So it’s clearly important their diabetes is not And she’s come up with an to ensure all staff are overlooked. interesting and innovative trained to be aware of way of spreading the safety insulin safety, and frequently message. Inpatient Diabetes monitor patients who have Education through Animation diabetes in order to ensure that (IDEA)* involves a series of cartoons no problems occur with their condition. based on real-life scenarios. The short In particular, it’s vital to be able to clips are aimed at educating healthcare spot the early signs of hypoglycaemia 10 ❘ Insight

professionals, and are based on research into past incidents and recurring errors. One of the animations for instance focuses on the importance of regular blood glucose monitoring. Hypoglycaemia is defined as a blood glucose of 3.9 mmol/l or less, so a pragmatic approach is to use the rule ‘4 is the floor’ – that is, the level at which urgent action must be taken. Other videos look at safely coming off insulin infusion, pregnancy and type 1 diabetes, peri-operative diabetes care and other topics. Sowmya said: “Diabetes is complex and needs to be managed properly. If a patient is admitted to hospital with another condition, then it’s important that their diabetes is not overlooked.”

“There can also be a lack of confidence and knowledge among some trainee doctors in managing inpatients with diabetes, particularly around managing insulin. The animations make an effective teaching tool which helps to share learning and address training and education gaps.” The videos were supported by funding from Health Education East Midlands and the Leicester Diabetes Centre while Sowmya was working at University Hospitals of Leicester. To view the animations, visit: Sowmya has also helped to develop a website (INDIE: INpatient DIabetes Educational tool for doctors in training) which provides guidelines, educational videos and tips for helping trainee doctors with management of inpatients with diabetes. Another area in which she wants to bring about an improvement is with patients managing their own insulin while they are in hospital. “Patients have told us that they want more independence, and we have a policy in place which allows them to have self-administer their insulin if they have the capacity and ability to do that. It happens in some parts of the hospital but we’re trying to simplify the paperwork so that it’s easier to implement and there’s a wider uptake. This should happen very soon, and we’re hoping for funding of a project manager to enable us to make progress on more improvements too.” *IDEA is endorsed by Joint British Diabetes Societies (JBDS) for Inpatient Care and the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists (ABCD)

A GREAT IDEA The IDEA project was a finalist at this year’s Quality in Care Diabetes Awards in the digital and technology solutions category. Judges commended the project, calling it a “great, simple idea.” They said: “We loved the fact that untoward incident data was used to focus on what mattered most. This is fresh, different and has potential.”

Dr Sowmya Gururaj Setty Sowmya graduated from Bangalore medical college in India, and trained in Brighton, south-east London and Leicester before becoming a diabetes consultant here at NGH in February 2016. She says: “During my training at Brighton and Sussex University Hospital I had several opportunities to work with the diabetes and endocrine team, attending clinics and seeing patients. That’s when I developed an interest in the specialty. Diabetes is a multisystem disease that can affect different parts of the body and often lead to serious health problems, so it is very interesting and challenging to address the issues, especially for longterm patients. Endocrinology, dealing with thyroid, calcium, adrenal and pituitary problems, is also a very interesting specialty.” Sowmya also has a sub-specialty interest in diabetes in pregnancy, providing both outpatient and inpatient service for pregnant women with diabetes, and she also runs insulin pump clinics for patients with type 1 diabetes. She says she is still settling into her new role, although she is keen to consolidate her interest in diabetes inpatient quality improvement work. And there is a lot of innovation that she is keen to learn more about such as advances in insulin pump technology, continuous glucose monitoring – and the artificial pancreas concept which promises to one day ease the burden of therapy for the insulindependent. Over the last year Sowmya’s development and promotion of the animations and other educational tools has left her with little spare time, but she does have other interests outside work. “I enjoy swimming, badminton, a bit of gardening, and of course my family – we have an eightyear-old son. We’ve been to Gran Canaria a few times and we always look forward to going back there again.”

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Belinda Holloway, our community children’s nursing team’s lead nurse, retired from NGH after a nursing career of almost 40 years. Belinda set up and managed a small team of nurses who visit families across South Northants to support children with long term health problems, many of which are life-limiting. Belinda, who won the Outstanding Contribution Award at our Best Possible Care Awards in 2014, said: “Looking back, the best things for me have been the people I work with, and of course working with children I’ve loved. I know it’s corny, but it’s all about making a difference when people’s lives are really tough.”

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Staff nurse Judith Bomben has retired from her full time role on Gosset ward where, apart from a threeyear break for training, she spent all of her 32 years at NGH. Judith said: “I’ve looked after premature babies who have then grown up and gone on to have babies of their own, and who I’ve also looked after here on the ward. So I’ve seen two generations! The best thing is seeing parents go home with their babies, and it’s lovely when they stay in contact and come back to see us. We have some very supportive fundraisers too, and it’s nice that they remember the staff.”

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Kathy Spokes retired in September from clinical audit after almost 40 years service to NGH, including 20 years in A&E and 12 years in medical records. Senior audit assistant Anne Jeffrey said: “Kathy is lovely, caring, a very good listener and one of the kindest people you could ever meet.” Also described as a ‘trickster and joker, and one who could tell a good story,’ Kathy is also something of a poet – and it’s telling that one of her farewell gifts was a ‘Poet Laureate’ blue plaque!

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Well done to medicine management technicians David Still from our pharmacy team who is now an NHS flufighter - and to all our employees and volunteers who’ve had their flu jab. By mid- November over 60 per cent of our staff had already been vaccinated – a good 10 per cent higher than at the same stage last year.

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Cereen Thomas from India, along

Ambra from Italy made a video for our new overseas nurses to help them prepare for life in a UK hospital. (Watch it on our YouTube channel) They say the best thing about NGH is the support from their ward teams - and unsurprisingly, the biggest 12 ❘ Insight


disappointment has been the weather!

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A big well done to Anita York (MacMillan gynae oncology clinical nurse specialist) and Rhian Langford (Macmillan information and support lead) who trekked across the Himalayas in October in memory of former NGH patient Luis Ghaut, who lost his life to bone cancer aged just 13. They self-funded the venture so that all sponsorship raised could be sent directly to Sarcoma UK, the bone and soft tissue cancer charity. There’s still time to donate to their campaign – please visit and type in Anita York Rhian Langford to find their page. (By the way, our picture shows them practising on Snowdon in Wales!)


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A warm welcome to CJ (Callum) Grant, who recently joined the communications team as our very first digital and social media apprentice. As the youngest member of the team, CJ brings a different dimension and perspective. One of his first projects will be to work with colleagues and service users to improve the information on our website for children and young people.

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We’re proud of our paediatrics practice development nurse Val McGurk who’s written a moving, insightful guest blog post. Val’s review of the BBC’s Sian Williams’ book ‘Rise: Surviving and Thriving after Trauma’ was tweeted by Sian, and it’s available on her website at

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Tony Croft has been elected as the new chairman of the Friends of NGH. He’s continuing to work his Friday shift as a volunteer guide and buggy driver to help transport patients and visitors around the hospital. Their energetic fundraising has recently enabled the Friends to donate over £40,000 to wards and clinics for the purchase of equipment to benefit patients. Tony comes from a background in retail and says: “There are similarities, in that we’re all here to look after our customers and keep them happy.”

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Dontcha just hate it when this happens? It’s that awkward moment when you turn up in the same outfit as your work colleague… and you’re both called Andy! Just to clear up any confusion, that’s Andy Feltham on the left and Andy Winter on the right. A fab #FridayFun photo – thanks guys!



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rom hospital-visiting dogs to nursing, from clinical expertise to carpentry and tea-making, Northampton General Hospital’s annual staff awards ceremony celebrated the huge range skills and services of its staff and volunteers. The Best Possible Care awards ceremony was held at Northampton’s Park Inn hotel where over 60 shortlisted individuals and teams gathered to find out who would be declared winners. Chief executive Dr Sonia Swart said: “Our Best Possible Care Awards provide a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase and celebrate our staff and volunteers who help bring about real improvements to our services and the care our patients receive.”


Winner of the Unsung Hero Non Clinical Award

Valerie Ross

Valerie Ross, ward host for A&E has been nominated for a Best Possible Care Award. She was surprised to find herself on the shortlist: “I was really proud and shocked that somebody had thought to nominate me in a role that I enjoy. I was really honoured.” Val’s role includes helping the patients coming into A&E by offering them food and drink. “I help out and support the staff. With giving people drinks, I like to communicate with them. It’s quite nice to speak to them and get to know them.” This patient contact is one of her favourite parts of the job. “I love the contact with people and hearing their stories. The nursing staff sometimes don’t have that time so If I help put the patients at ease then it helps to take some of the pressure of the staff.” During her time in the role, Val has learnt how important and effective an offer of a drink can be. “By giving somebody a cup of tea and communicating with them you can sometimes put them at ease. That’s good in an A&E department because they may be concerned and worried. It has made me feel happy to think that if you spend a little time with somebody it has made a difference to them.” Sometimes the simplest of actions can make a big

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Interviews by

Caitlin Rosetti

difference, as Val found out when she gave a gentleman her lunch. “There was an elderly man who wanted a cheese sandwich. We didn’t have one and he had been walking around for a long time trying to find one so I gave him the one I had bought for my lunch. It put him at ease and to see him sit there and thoroughly enjoy it made my day. It’s just that little bit of care that had made a big difference.”

Val is the most valuable member of the team. She does far more than provide drinks and food for patients. She always takes time to chat and put people’s minds at rest when they are anxious or don’t understand what is happening. Val offers kindness when clinical staff are rushed off their feet. When Val is working you know that patients are well cared for.

Winner of the Patient Safety Award

Carolyn Hammond

- Information, Communication & Technology (not pictured) “When faced with a problem regarding the quick requesting of diagnostic tests Carolyn quickly developed a ‘Lymphoma investigation bundle’ on the ICE system, accessed at the click of a button. She also developed a prompt on ICE to remind clinicians about VTE risk assessment within 24hrs of receiving the request. Carolyn’s dedication and prompt action is one to be admired. She has contributed immensely to patient safety in our hospital.”

Winner of the Patient Experience Award

Joy Darling

“I turned it on and there was my name.” Joy Darling found out about her nomination for a Best Possible Care Award by turning on her computer. “I was really surprised and very pleased,” she said. Joy is an Emergency Care Patient Tracker on EAU and Benham Ward. Her role involves helping consultants, doctors and nurses with the care of patients. “I love the patient contact and getting involved with the variety of cases that come through the door. I’ve always had a caring nature and wanting to be involved.” This caring nature can be shown in Joy’s work where she tries to go the extra mile for patients. “For an end of life patient I managed to arrange for their dog to come in and visit before they passed away. If people come in and maybe don’t have any family, then I like to try and help where I can.” Joy even stayed with a patient who was in A&E on their own and was sought out by their parent to say thank you for her help. “Her mum came and found me on the ward to say thank you and that she couldn’t have got through it without me.” Patient care is pivotal to Joy’s role and is what she enjoys most. “I love being able to provide the best care to patients and relatives. Knowing that you have given the best care and trying to support them all.” Just 18 months ago, Joy was a patient herself. “My attitude to life has changed. Your health should be important and never take things for granted,” she said.

Recently a patient on EAU had her 97th birthday on the ward, but there were no visitors, no cards – nothing. Joy bought big card, took it round the hospital and got over 100 signatures; seventeen members of staff each bought a small gift for the patient and took them to her, so she had a stream of visitors and presents. At tea time they arranged for a cake on staff stood round the patient’s bed to sing Happy Birthday. This story warms my heart.

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Winner of the Clinical Team of the Year Award

Gynaecology team on Spencer ward “This team has always provided me with the utmost dignity and care when treating me. The ward nurses provide comfort and reassurance; even a simple hug that I so desperately needed. I am indebted to the nurses who cared for me and showed me there was/is light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”

“The staff are a fantastic team – I don’t quite know how to put it into words,” says Sarah Dainty. Her team on Spencer Ward have been nominated for a Best Possible Care Award. Sarah is a sister for Gynaecology. Her day-to-day duties include ward rounds and supporting staff. She feels that contact with staff and patients is important and it something which she enjoys. “I feel that if you have a happy workforce then the patient standard of care is increased because people are happy in their work environment,” she says. “It is something that I strongly believe in.”

Being an active presence on the ward for the team is key for Sarah. “I have an open door policy and I prefer to be on the floor, rather than in my office. I feel it’s important as a ward sister to be very visible.” Sarah believes it is the “high standard of care” that she believes her team gives that has contributed to their nomination for the award. “Gynaecology can be a very emotive area for a lot of patients and it’s often a privilege to be part of the journey to improve whatever we can.” “Passionate, enthusiastic and caring” are three words that Sarah says describe her team. They also happen to be key attributes to have on the ward. The team were “overwhelmed” to be nominated and Sarah said: “I’m proud of them on a daily basis. They are kind and considerate and there is a huge mix of personalities but they seem to complement and balance each other.”

Winner of the CEO Innovation in Practice Award

Sharron Matthews and the pre-op assessment team “Sharron and her team knew that patients were waiting too long to be seen and this was causing everyone significant stress. So Sharron brought in the IQE team and, with her leadership, they bravely faced the problems and made changes that led to shorter waiting times and better patient flow. The team proudly display their monthly results in the ward and use these to keep discussion and momentum going.”

“Loyal, driven and enthusiastic,” is how Sharron Matthews describes her colleagues. Alongside her POA team, Sharron has been nominated for a Best Possible Care Award. She says: “It’s nice to be recognised. It shows someone has noticed what we do.” Since taking the role as Sister, Sharron has felt that the team have come together in making changes to the clinic. “I think I have brought the team together and the way I have done it is getting them directly involved in improvements. They are now eager and looking forward to the next branch of changes.” Examples of changes being made include the introduction of evening appointments. The team’s attitude to this is something that Sharron believes has made it a success. “They ran with it, embraced it and noticed that it does work. I went on holiday and they upheld all the changes. When I came back everything was running perfectly.” The patients are also critical to the changes that are being made. Sharron feels that their 16 ❘ Insight

perspective is important. “As a nurse, I always try and think if I was in my clinic what would I want different. You just have to look at it from a patient’s perspective over time to make it a better place for them and give the best possible care.” Such patient contact is what attracted Sharron to the job. “I went into clinical governance which was office based and I decided that I was missing patient contact. I think it is the most important aspect of my job.” Within the first few weeks of her job, Sharron received a letter from a patient to say thank you to her for listening. “That small thing made a big difference. I think if we all take that time to talk to and listen to the patients then it will make a big difference to them.” The nomination has motivated Sharron and the POA team to carry on making changes. “It has actually spurred the team on to think that all the hard work we have put in means that we can make more changes and that if you do put the work in then you can get the recognition.”

Winner of the Non-clinical Team Award

Paul Tobin and the estates team “The estates team at NGH regularly go the extra mile for our ward teams and departments. Despite our many pleas for jobs they never fail to turn up with a smile to make the changes we need with as little disruption as possible. They always put themselves in the patient’s position and can see the impact their work has on our patients and our staff.”

Paul Tobin and his team have been nominated for a Best Possible Care Award. The work that they do helps to keep NGH running smoothly. “I enjoy making a difference,” says Paul, “and helping others by keeping the hospital going with a dedicated work force. I have a few guys that work for me full time and they are amazing at what they do.” Paul was grateful to learn that he had been nominated, “I’m immensely proud and honoured. Really, I’m just doing my job and if someone appreciates it then it’s nice.”

Due to the nature of his job, Paul gets to see a lot of the hospital, “My son bought me a pedometer and I was walking between 8,000 and 12,000 steps a day so probably between four and six miles. It’s like being part of an extended family because you see so many people.” When asked what he enjoyed most about his job, Paul said: “It’s just the simple, basic things. A lot of people coming into the hospital can be quite stressed so if you can help them - even just the slightest bit - that’s good.” However, Paul’s biggest weakness is his inability to say no. “My problem is that I’m too helpful. I don’t want to see anyone struggle. Even if I’m asked to do something when I’ve got too much work on, I’ll say yes anyway. I don’t want to feel like I’ll let anybody down so I’ll go above and beyond if I can.”

Winner of the Volunteers of the Year Award

Pets as Therapy team

“The Pets as Therapy volunteers and their dogs provide comfort, distraction and aid recovery. Having the dogs on the wards promotes a sense of wellbeing. The volunteers give up their own time to do this special job. They are always willing to visit any ward or patient when asked, and the dogs are exceptionally well-behaved.”

The Pets as Therapy (PAT) team at NGH are all volunteers who take time out to visit the hospital with their therapy dogs. They have been nominated for a Best Possible Care Award. The team consists of Area Coordinator Rosemary Wooler and her dog Jessie, Kerryann Baxter and her dog Merlin, Julie Murphy and her dog Freddie and Rachel Tilley and her dog Ralph. The team were shocked to be nominated, Rosemary said, “That was an absolutely such a surprise. We were absolutely thrilled and felt really appreciated. It’s just fantastic that we have been recognised for the work that we do.” The Pets as Therapy Team have been working at NGH for 3 years and cover seven wards alongside A&E. `on top of this there are another five wards that are waiting for volunteers too. The dogs can benefit patients mentally, emotionally and psychologically and research has

proved this. It is also an aspect of their job that the volunteers most enjoy, “it is the satisfaction that we get seeing the difference our dogs make to people. It creates a smile and starts conversations. You see the difference in people; it changes them!” Rosemary describes the team as “passionate about their work” a quality that is important and makes success even more rewarding. In one particular case, her dog Jessie helped a man recovering from a stroke to walk, “I put Jessie in front of the zimmer frame and he followed her the whole length of the gym. It’s quite emotional and gives you tingles down your back. The physiotherapists had been trying for days and stood there in shock.” As well as helping the patients, Rosemary has discovered that it helps the volunteers too, “I organise PAT walks every two months where we meet in country parks. One chap lives on his own and he is now a changed man because of the social interaction. That is extraordinarily rewarding too.”

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Winner of the Unsung Hero Clinical Award

Winner of the Clinical Educator of the Year Award

Holly Slyne is an Infection Prevention Nurse and has been nominated for two Best Possible Care Awards. Her main role is to promote cleanliness around the hospital and teaching staff about how to keep patients safe from infections. Holly says: “I think I’ve got a wonderful job. I love it. It’s so varied and I do different things every day.”

Dr Christopher Frerk has been consultant anaesthetist at NGH for 23 years and is just one of 36 consultants that are part of the Anaesthetics, Critical Care and Pain Management department at the hospital. After being nominated for a Best Possible Care award he expressed his surprise. “It really is unexpected but it feels rather nice. Not many people will have taken the time to nominate so it is nice that people have done so.” Chris’ role comprises of six sessions of anaesthetics a week, mostly for patients about to undergo head and neck surgery. Another part of his role is teaching, something which he enjoys. “I have always liked learning and teaching. I have identified, in my trainers, the things that I thought were good characteristics and I have tried to incorporate them into my own practice.” Alongside his general duties, Chris believes that safety is very important and spends some of his time overseeing medical equipment. “I look after the committee that buys the medical equipment and I am interested in safety within the NHS and healthcare. I try to do what I can to help the hospital and make it as safe as it can be.” Outside of work, Chris likes to do many things, including dancing and climbing. “I like to learn anything new and try to get better at it. It’s all about learning and developing. I did Northampton Strictly and I’ve kept dancing. I find it infuriating that I can’t do it properly but I still do it because I want to get better.” His philosophy in life is to take things slowly. “I’m a day at a time type of person. Do stuff today as well as you can.” When asked what he enjoyed most about his role, Chris responded with: “Everything. I enjoy it all. I do enjoy being at work and doing the day-today anaesthetics. Especially working with the theatre team. What’s not to like?”

Holly Slyne

In her role, Holly works with many people and it is just one of the things that she enjoys about her job. “I love being a nurse and you get to work with different departments and people within the trust. Everyone is so friendly and supportive.” She was surprised and shocked to be nominated for two awards. “For someone in the trust to nominate you it is quite humbling, it’s really kind. I’m just doing my job so in a way if fells lovely for people to think that it’s a good thing. It’s also good for infection prevention to be recognised because it is important.” Recently there has been a new director of nursing and Holly feels that this has improved the service. “Carolyn has taught us to work with doctors to make practice better and patients too. It has made it easier and simpler for staff to make the right choice to care for patients. That has been uplifting and wonderful to change the way you think about things.” Not only are the Best Possible Care Awards taking place, the infection prevention staff are holding some of their own, said Holly. “I think it’s nice to celebrate good work and help share the feeling of loveliness.”

Holly is always positive, often volunteers to take a task on, always looks for ways to improve patient care or a process and is constantly looking for new innovations to try. Her first answer is never ‘No’, it is ‘Let me think about it’ and she usually comes up with a solution that works.

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Dr Chris Frerk

Dr Frerk introduced continuous capnograph monitoring to ensure patie are breathing clearly when return from day theatres. tailors the training for reco practitioners and operati department practitioners meet individual needs an always available to answ queries, even if it is out his working hours.

Winner of the Outstanding Contribution Award

Anne Hicks

Anne Hicks is a clinical nurse specialist for the Maxillofacial Unit as well as Unit Outpatient Manager. She wasn’t expecting to be nominated for a Best Possible Care Award: “It’s a shock, but very nice. I’m absolutely thrilled.”

that when there’s a crash we’re first on the scene to deal with it, clearing the track so that the race can continue. It can be physically hard work, but to me it’s completely relaxing because it’s so different to what I do here at NGH.

Her role is to coordinate the surgeries in the unit and look after the patients. “I make sure that the surgeries are used to the best of their ability and also look after the patients as they come through whether it be from the ward or A&E.”

“I’ve driven an Aston Martin around Silverstone, and I’ve also been driven in a Ferrari round there at 170mph. I love cars and motorbikes – the faster the better – so I’m what you might call a bit of a petrolhead!”

For Anne, contact with her patients is very important. “I have direct patient contact all day, every day. I feel that it’s what I became a nurse for. It makes it hard to do the managerial side off my role but it’s what I enjoy most about my job.” Anne’s patients are also key in influencing how her job has changed. “It’s developed in line with what the patients need for us to be able to provide the best standard of care possible. We have a short period of time to make a good impression.” Alongside her work Anne is passionate about volunteering and charity work. She has for some years been helping to support a hospital in rural Ghana, and has recently been back on another visit – which you can read more about in our feature over the page. In fact this year’s trip prevented her from attending our awards evening, meaning that we had to break with tradition and surprise Anne with the award the day before she left! She also has another hobby she’s passionate about – one that, as she admits, “is perhaps unusual for a woman of my age – but I love it!” Anne volunteers as a trackside incident marshall at Silverstone and is there most weekends. “We’re the ones behind the barriers , so

“As a clinical nurse specialist Anne looks after all our head and neck oncology patients from point of diagnosis through to discharge at 5 years. She is their first point of contact for any problems and, quite often, the solution. Anne is one of the few (if not the only) clinical nurse specialists reviewing oncology patients independently at a national level. She also manages a busy 6 room outpatient department and is a keen teacher and innovator. An admirable role model for young nurses and doctors, Anne also provides support to a hospital and schools in Nandom, Ghana through her work with the charity FREED UK. Apart from all the academic and pastoral accolades, the one outstanding feature of Sister Hicks is her passion for patientcentred care and support. She is just as enthusiastic and empathetic towards their needs today, often dealing with them at a very difficult stage of their lives, as she was when she started her career nearly 40 years ago.”

Many thanks to Caitlin Rosetti for the interviews on pages 14-19

hy ents n they . He overy ing s to nd is wer of Anne receives her award from our CEO Dr Sonia Swart

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Anne’s commitment to Nandom A

nne has just returned from another trip to Nandom Hospital in northern Ghana, where she has been volunteering since 2005. She is part of a team of volunteers who belong to a charity known as FREED (UK) – the Foundation for Rural Education, Empowerment and Development. Dr Dery Tuopar, associate specialist in oral & maxillofacial surgery, is the co-founder of FREED(UK). Anne said: “Dery and I work together to co-ordinate all the work in Nandom Hospital and without him the trips would not be possible as he organises all the logistics in Ghana such as transport, accommodation, liaison with the hospital and much more. We are very much a team!” As well as helping to treat patients there, they have sponsored nurses, drilled a borehole to provide water supplies, set up a dental suite, made improvements to the operating theatre and laboratory, established a library, developed a kitchen and canteen to provide patients with food, and much more. Anne’s latest visit, a two-week trip in October, was more successful than she and the rest of the team had dared to hope. Having given a ten-year commitment to support St Theresa’s Hospital back in 2005, they had since set up a number of initiatives which they hoped would become self-sustaining. But would they still be in place on their return? “We were pleased to see that the kitchen and canteen we built is now fully selfsufficient and profit-making,” said Anne. “And on this trip we set up a farm, a small area for crops to be grown on land given to us by the local chief. We fenced it off, we’ve

The maternity unit at Nandom Hospital

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employed a farm manager, and he will be ensures that the patient gets the right growing crops specifically for the hospital antibiotic so that they do actually heal – kitchen so they can have enough food to so those two things go hand in hand. provide meals for patients. “There are still traditional healers in “In the past ten years we’ve sponsored this part of the world – people like the 17 nurses to diploma level, and two of ‘bonemender’ where people often go if they those have trained to be anaesthetists and have a fracture. One young woman broke are now working in the hospital. We’ve her femur when she fell carrying heavy put a lot of systems in place in water back from the borehole. She went the laboratory, and the lab to the traditional bonemender is now one of the best instead of the hospital, and in the north of the when she finally appeared country. They’re at the hospital three Dery and I work together now able to do weeks later she had to co-ordinate all the work all sorts of gangrene in her foot in Nandom Hospital and reliable testing and lower leg, and including had to have her without him the trips would not microbiology leg amputated. be possible as he organises all culture and For a 24-year-old the logistics in Ghana such sensitivity that has a massive as transport, accommodation, testing which impact on the rest liaison with the hospital and they couldn’t of her life and her do before. family, and it could much more. We are very That has had a have been prevented much a team! massive impact if she’d gone to the on the wounds that hospital first. are looked after “A midwifery block there which is my is open now, with its own specialist interest. theatre. While we were there we “I’d previously set up a system whereby had three sets of twins delivered by the wards use local honey, mixed with caesarean section. Now in the past iodine from the hospital pharmacy, to treat mum or the baby may well have died, some of the very bad wounds they deal so that’s a massive improvement.” with, and my worry was that that would There are enough doctors, nurses – and not continue when we left. But not only even physician assistants - at the hospital has it continued, the practice has become now, although not enough midwives. embedded and well established, it’s So Freed UK are also sponsoring four fabulous. Although there are some terrible midwives who will then be bonded to wounds, many of them from motorbike Nandom hospital for five years after accidents and snake bites, they are at they’ve qualified, and while others are least clean. And the microbiology testing trained at the midwifery school that has

The outpatients clinic is literally held outside!

The children’s clinic

Just a few of the clothes that the volunteers donated to the local people

Anne took this picture of four Nandom boys to show her grandsons back home how lucky they are Anne with three of the four midwives being sponsored by FREED (UK)

Digging for sand to make concrete to help fence off the piece of land that will be used to grow crops

been established nearby. The school only became accredited because students had access to the library at Nandom, which Anne and the team had previously set up. “We were worried that the books would go missing but they haven’t,” said Anne. “So that’s working really well too.” “We used to have cattle going through the grounds on their way to the river, but that doesn’t happen any more. The hospital itself, and the grounds, are clean, neat and tidy. There are planted areas, proper toilet facilities, it’s a massive difference, an absolute pleasure to see. “So it was really a very successful visit. To see things that we hoped would become selfsustaining have actually become embedded was really encouraging. We were all delighted with the progress that’s been made. “The town is still very poor, the roads are diabolical, and most of the country’s resources and wealth are still concentrated in the south. We have no control over that, but the hospital itself is beyond recognition from how it was when we first went there. We can’t take all the credit for that, and the government of course have funded the extra staffing, but I think other people and organisations may have been inspired to help by the improvements we’ve made. I don’t know what would have happened to the hospital had we not stepped in. But a local community of about 200,000 people living in dire straits certainly wouldn’t have the standard of healthcare that they have today.” Something that Anne takes away from her experience in Ghana is her appreciation of the NHS. “Each time I go and then come back, I love that it puts things into perspective,” she said. “Despite all the negative things that you can hear about the NHS, it’s something that I’m very proud to be a part of.”

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The new reminiscence mural also uses sounds and smells to stimulate memories

Park mural brings back the memories A fabulous 19 metre reminiscence mural of Abington Park has been installed in the corridor to our elderly care wards, and was made possible by the generous donations of the local community to our Do it for Dementia campaign. This spectacular image entrances not only the eyes, but is also capable of stimulating memories through the senses of smell and sound as well. Noises from the park can be played through the corridor, and the smell of cut grass can be pumped through to transport patients away from the reality of the hospital environment to their memories of the park. The installation, developed by RemPods who also

produce reminiscence pop-up rooms or ‘pods’, includes two new benches for patients and visitors to sit on. The aim of the Do it for Dementia campaign is to support the hospital’s work around preventing depletion in life skills when patients come into hospital. The funds raised are being used to create dementia-friendly spaces in the hospital and to buy equipment and resources that will help reduce confusion, anxiety and distress for any patient who has dementia. If you would like to help raise funds for the Do it for Dementia campaign please contact the charity office on 01604 545857.

Proud moment! Head of patient experience and engagement Rachel Lovesy takes a selfie in front of the mural – paid for by the fundraising campaign she first established

Hawthorn day room is transformed The day room on Hawthorn Ward is where families can take a break when visiting their loved ones, and it is also where staff take family members to discuss the care of a patient or break difficult news. Also used partly as a store room, it was not until recently the most comfortable environment. However, now the room has been transformed – thanks to a donation received from the family of Sue Pace, who was cared for on the ward at the start of her illness. Sue’s family wanted to help improve the room so that when other families used it they had a warmer and more comforting environment to be in. A plaque in the refurbished room has been installed in Sue’s memory, and we sincerely thank the family for the wonderful transformation that has been made possible by their thoughtful donation.

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Daredevils go over the edge for charity

Here’s one of the ‘bumblebee’ chairs that our daredevils abseiled for

Here’s Adam just after he’d gone over the edge… nice to see a big smile there!

Adam Stevens

A big thank you and well done to Adam Stevens who abseiled down the Express lift tower to raise money for the Stroke Unit at NGH. Adam wanted to thank the staff on the ward for the care they gave to his father when he suffered a stroke earlier this year, and for the aftercare he has received. Adam’s fundraising is going towards the purchase of a new ‘bumblebee’ chair for the ward. The existing chair was the first thing that his dad sat in when he was first out of bed, so the family know just how much help and support the chair gives. Adam’s original target was to raise £250, but he smashed that total by raising over £1,265 - well done Adam!

Vicki Moore

More thanks and congratulations to Eleanor ward sister Vicki Moore, who also abseiled down the 418ft Express lifts tower to raise funds for a second ‘bumblebee’ chair for her ward. With support from her family, friends and colleagues, Vicki raised over £710 for the chair, which will be an enormous benefit for what is our acute stroke ward. The current bumblebee chair (also purchased through donations) has had fantastic feedback as it is adjustable to suit each individual patient’s physical changes. Vicki said: “The team at the abseil centre are very supportive. They explain clearly what happens and give advice. I felt very safe in their hands going down the tower. As someone who is not good at heights, for me personally it was a massive achievement. The additional support of friends and family at the bottom of the tower was a real boost towards the end of the abseil.”

Test your mettle with an abseil down the tower! If you fancy abseiling down the 127m high express lift tower to raise money for the department of your choice, please contact the charity on 01604 545091. The Express lift tower

Vicki said she felt safe in the team’s hands as she abseiled down the tower

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Here are just a few of the many generous donations we have received over recent weeks. Every gift, large or small, enables us to provide that little bit extra to help care for our patients, and we are very grateful to you all – thank you so much.

Cameron’s marathon for dementia


big thank you to Cameron Sheikh who completed the Milton Keynes marathon to raise money to support our Do it for Dementia appeal. Three members of his immediate family are affected by the disease, and Cameron was inspired to support the hospital after seeing our article about dementia liaison nurse Jill Garratt in an earlier edition of this magazine. He raised over £1,500 for the appeal which will go to purchase memory/activity boxes for wards in the hospital, to help engage patients in activities which are therapeutic and mentally stimulating. Here’s Cameron presenting the cheque to occupational therapist Karen Wesley (left) and Jill Garratt.

Huge thanks to 1,000 mile cyclists


team from Wollaston BMW and MINI completed a 1,000 mile cycle ride from Munich to Wollaston and raised more than £27,000 for a life-saving plasma exchange machine which is used on patients with kidney injuries. Michael York was so grateful for the treatment given by Dr Pickering and his Finedon ward team that he wanted to say thank you in a way that would make a difference. So he and Jon Baish, Peter White and Dan Bailey organised the two-week trip, raising a massive total of £27,674.54 - something they say they couldn’t have done without the fantastic support from families, friends and local businesses. A huge thank you to everyone involved!

Thank you Team Bees!


big well done to Team Bees, a group of 12 students aged 15-17 from the National Citizens Service, who have been fundraising to support our Do it for Dementia appeal. The team organised a two-day cake sale in our cyber café, and they also completed a 14 mile sponsored bike, raising a grand total of over £1,540. Thanks to their magnificent efforts we can now buy a second RemPod for the hospital. This is a reminiscence therapy pod – a pop up room that can turn any care space into a therapeutic and calming environment. Here’s the team presenting their donation to dementia liaison nurse Jill Garratt and occupational therapist Karen Wesley - and also during their cake sale. 24 ❘ Insight

Masons’ thrupenny bits raise £1,500


hank you to the Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire Freemasons who have presented a cheque for £1,500 to our Do it for Dementia appeal. Members of their TPB Club (Three Penny Bit Club) are required to carry their 1967 ‘thrup’ny bit’ with them at all times – and if anyone is caught without it they have to pay a £5 fine. You can check out the club’s Facebook page to see some amusing examples of those who regularly appear on the ‘wall of shame’! The funds will go towards creating a sensory garden at NGH where a small patch of rather sad land can be turned into a safe, tranquil area where elderly patients, family and friends can sit in peace and safety.

Julia’s charity benefits our pain clinic


he Pain Clinic was thrilled to receive the support of the charity a way with pain, whose donation has been used to purchase a much-needed information screen in the waiting area. The charity helps people to deal with long term pain and was set up by Julia Kelly in 2013. Julia had a car accident in 2005 aged 29, and was left suffering chronic pain every day since, and by using her own experiences she set out to help people in circumstances such as her own. Sadly Julia passed away in 2014 and the charity, now run by her father David, provides funding to enable sufferers to receive the best possible treatment for pain management. To find out more about the charity and read Julia’s story visit

Ooops! Sorry, we got Mike Cope’s name wrong in our Autumn issue. Thanks again Mike for the support of Gosset ward by you and your fellow club members which is very much appreciated.

All donations to the hospital are managed, separately from NHS finances, by the trustees of the Northamptonshire Health Charitable Fund, a registered charity. If you would like to make a donation, or be involved in raising money for NGH, please contact our fundraising office on 01604 545857. Find us on Facebook/NorthamptonshireHealthCharitableFund

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Kathy and Cyril Layt at their wedding

Kathy Layt obituary Mrs Kathleen Winifred Layt (nee Lunn) 1938 – 2016 Former NGH nurse and sister Kathleen Layt began her nursing training in October 1957. She qualified in 1960 and was a staff nurse on Spencer ward under Sister Lawlor, and won the Charlotte Nelson prize for the nurse with the best bedside manner. She married Cyril Layt in 1961 and they were both very committed members of the Salvation Army. Two years later they had their first son Andrew, followed later by Stephen. While bringing up her family Kathleen worked late shifts and some nights to fit in. She became a Night Sister and was promoted to Senior Night Sister until her retirement in 1994. She then joined the Nurses League and the Hospital Friends while working at Bethany Homestead. She volunteered as a hospital guide and also served in the Friends’ shop. Her last months were spent in a care home where her husband is also a resident. She never stopped caring for others and will be sadly missed. (Hilary Stone – a friend and colleague for 66 years)

A more recent photo of Kathy

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he family of former cancer patient Gill Hicks has made a donation of £2,200 to thank our Macmillan nurses for the care and support she received during her time in hospital and at home. The money was raised from donations which the family asked for via the funeral director. The family will also be presenting a cheque from donations to Talbot Butler ward, where Gill spent some time before choosing to spend her final days at home.

Her key worker Ruth Fox (secondary breast cancer nurse specialist) and Jan Bolton (Macmillan social care coordinator) supported the family and arranged care and support at home to make this possible. Our picture shows Gill’s husband Mike presenting the cheque to Ruth Fox and Jan Bolton (far right), watched by Gill’s daughter Anna Carter (centre) and Macmillan regional fundraising manager Ellen Finn (far left).

Marathon donation for organ donation statue Brian Lydon, of Lydon Contracting Ltd, completed the Dublin City Marathon in October in under four hours, raising funds for Cancer Research UK. He then matched pound for

pound the sponsorship he received and generously donated a whopping £4,562.17 to the IDOnate campaign, which aims to increase the awareness of organ donation in Northamptonshire. The money is to be used to fund an organ donation memorial statue that is to be installed at NGH. Brian, a big supporter of the IDOnate campaign, said: “I turned 40 this year and decided that the challenge would be a perfect incentive to get fit and give something back. IDOnate is a very worthy cause aiming to encourage the people of Northamptonshire to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. So remember – you sponsor me – I sponsor them!”


ork colleagues of 41-year-old theatre porter Vincent (Vinnie) Lovell, who died in a tragic accident earlier this year, have installed a memorial bench in a garden used by staff and patients at NGH. A total of £1,250 was raised to pay for the bench from Vinnie’s work colleagues at the hospital. Donna Robinson, theatre manager, said: “The garden is near the theatre and was used by staff and patients so it is a fitting place to have the bench. Vincent was a larger than life character and was always willing to help and was always cheerful. A lot of money was raised because he was so special. He made a difference to a lot of people’s lives.” Mr Lovell’s father Derek said the family had been overwhelmed by the support of NGH staff. He said: “It is absolutely wonderful. I can’t thank the staff enough for this gesture of support.”

Vinnie was always happy and cheerful, and made a difference to a lot of people’s lives


Donna Robinson wrote this tribute to Vinnie:

“Vinnie was a very happy person - he would always ask after both you and your family whenever he saw you. He was always willing to work hard and enjoyed the patient contact side of his duties best, wheeling patients to and from theatres with a very cheerful disposition trying to ensure that their minds where taken off the surgeries they were about to undergo. “Nothing was too much trouble for Vinnie and he was always ready to help in any way he could to enable the department to run smoothly. During his time off from Manfield Theatres he would often work overtime for the general portering service and he became a well-known figure throughout the trust with his cheeky smile and chatty nature. Vinnie will be sorely missed by everyone who came into contact with him throughout the trust and he has left a very large hole in the Manfield Theatre family. “His parents attended an unveiling of a wooden bench in September in the garden outside Cedar ward, that had been purchased with proceeds from a collection from staff and friends of Vinnie, which they found to be a very positive way to commemorate his life. A metal bench was also situated outside Manfield Theatres later that month from the same collection and is used daily for weary relatives and patients to rest along the hospital street corridor. Vinnie stays within all our hearts and I feel blessed to have come into contact with this truly special person for whom nothing was too much trouble and everything was done with a smile.”

Vinnie’s family and NGH colleagues with the memorial bench installed in the hospital garden used by theatres staff and patients

Insight ❘ 29

Thank you... … for thinking of making a donation to the NGH charity. We would like you to know that any gift received from you will be used carefully and sensitively.


From the Archive By NGH Archive volunteer Sue Longworth

You can make a donation for a specific NGH department or towards an ongoing appeal. Online - please visit our Justgiving webpage at which is a quick, secure, and taxefficient way of donating. By post - please make cheques payable to Northamptonshire Health Charitable Fund and post to: Northamptonshire Health Charitable Fund, Northampton General Hospital, Cliftonville, NN1 5BD. (Please let us know if you would like to donate to a specific department) Mastercard, Visa, Visa Delta, and Switch, payment by credit and debit card can be accepted through the post or over the phone. Regular Giving - you can donate to us on a regular basis by setting up a standing order. Please call us for more information. You can also set up a Direct Debit via JustGiving. Payroll Giving - you can arrange with your employer to deduct a set amount each payday to give to our funds. This deduction is made before calculating your taxable pay, which reduces the amount on which you pay tax. Gift In Your Will - please give us a call to find out how to make a gift in your will to NGH. Gift Aid - remember if you are a UK taxpayer we can claim an extra 25p for every pound you donate from the Inland Revenue under the Gift Aid scheme. This won’t cost you a penny! Please just let us know that you would like to claim Gift Aid when you make your donation. Call us on 01604 545857 30 ❘ Insight

The second infirmary opened in 1793 with 106 beds. The horse is on the Billing Road, St Giles Church on the right and All Saints Church in the background.

Plans for a new infirmary T he first Northampton infirmary was set up in 1744 in a town house in George Row (now the Northampton and County Club). By 1790 demand for beds had increased considerably, and the site had proved far from ideal, making it clear that new premises were required. A new piece of land in Northampton Fields was purchased from the Reverend Walter Griffiths for £1,000 - and an extra piece of ground was obtained from the local corporation at a cost of £40 to build a road to the infirmary from St Giles Church. The new infirmary would accommodate 100 patients and have its own brewhouse, bakehouse and laundry. On 15 May 1790 the Medical Committee appointed Mr A Saxon as the architect, who also acted as the surveyor on site. Local firms included Adson & Gordon, masonry, Moore & Lewis, carpentery, Mr Whitney, plumbing and Dadford & Mitchell, the plastering. The whole of the facing stone, worth over £1,000, was generously donated by Mr John Drayton from Kingsthorpe quarries. Even so the total cost of the building came to £15,000 - almost £5,000 over budget – which caused hardship and bankruptcy for some of the builders involved. When the infirmary opened in 1793 the staff consisted of a surgeon,

apothecary, matron, four nurses, four maids and a porter. House rules were strict, and religion played a large part of daily routine. When the patients started to recover, they were expected to look after those less able - washing, cleaning and fetching meals. Assisting in the pharmacy appeared to be a popular choice and then it was discovered the reason was because it was where the wine and spirit stores were also held. From that point on they were closely supervised by a porter! Patients in the early days were generally from the poorer classes and were grateful for the free treatment, care and food during their stay in hospital. By the 19th century, some patients were less compliant and often did not abide by the house rules. What started out as an infirmary built on an eight acre site at the edge of town, with open views down to the River Nene, is now part of the town itself. Known as Northampton General Hospital since 1903, it and nowadays covers a site of around 46 acres. To learn more about the history of the hospital, visit the NGH Historical Archive. We are open on Wednesday mornings between 8am – 1pm. Please telephone 01604 544868 or email to make an appointment.


Insight Winter 2016 ❘ Issue 61 Keep in touch

NGH has over 2,400 followers on Twitter and over 8,450 people have liked our Facebook page. If you’re not yet one of them, here’s how you can get updates about the hospital and the great work of our employees: Follow us on Twitter @NGHNHStrust Follow us on Instagram Northamptongeneralhospital Connect with us on LinkedIn Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust Like our Northampton General Hospital Facebook page Until our Spring issue in March, please keep up to date with NGH news on our website where you will also find all back issues of Insight. Editor: Peter Kennell 01604 523871 ( Designed and printed by Octagon Design & Marketing Ltd, Hawks Nest Cottage, Great North Road, Bawtry, Doncaster, DN10 6AB. Tel: 01302 714528 Insight is a free magazine, and we encourage our patients and visitors to take one home with our compliments. Please pass it on to a friend or relative when you have read it. We are very grateful to the supporters of Northamptonshire Health Charitable Fund for their sponsorship of the magazine in 2016. Back issues of the magazine are available on our website

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, has not vetted the advertisers in this publication and accepts no liability for work done or goods supplied by any advertiser. Nor does Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust endorse any of the products or services. Every possible care has been taken to ensure that the information given in this publication is accurate. Whilst the publisher would be grateful to learn of any errors, it cannot accept any liability over and above the cost of the advertisement for loss there by caused. No reproduction by any method whatsoever of any part of this publication is permitted without written consent of the copyright owners. Octagon Design & Marketing Ltd. ©2016/17. Hawks Nest Cottage, Great North Road, Bawtry, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN10 6AB. Tel: 01302 714528

Win free theatre tickets

A Passionate Woman

On the morning of her son’s wedding, Betty retreats to her attic where she relives her long-lost youth and the love affair she had in the 1960s. Surrounded by her memories and ghosts from her past, Betty finds herself torn between a husband she never loved, a son about to leave and the man she shared a passionate affair with. With Liza Goddard (Bergerac, Yes Honestly) in the lead role, this romantic comedy is written by Kay Mellor (In the Club, Band Of Gold) and directed by Paul Milton. A Passionate Woman takes to the stage from Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 March and tickets are priced from £9 to £29* You can book by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at • A charge of £3 applies for all transactions over £15. Does not apply to Groups, Friends or Disabled Patrons, and is per-transaction, not per-ticket.

For your chance to win two free tickets to the opening night of A Passionate Woman on Tuesday 7 March 2016 at 7.45pm, answer the five questions below. Send your entry to arrive by Friday 17 February to - or by post to Insight magazine, Communications, NGH, Cliftonville, Northampton NN1 5BD. 1 Who came up with the idea of using cartoon animations to improve diabetes safety? 2 What is another name for sepsis? 3 Where can you find our outstanding contribution award winner most weekends? 4 When can you see A Passionate Woman at the Royal & Derngate? 5 How did Adam and Vicki raise funds for a ‘bumblebee’ chair?  The winner of the Buddy tickets in our last competition was Simon Hawes.

Insight ❘ 31


Celebrating World Prematurity Day

To celebrate World Prematurity Day in November, paediatrics practice development nurse Val McGurk presented our neonatal Gosset ward with five baby nests. The nests, paid for by donations for purple bow badges that Val had made, are beneficial to premature babies as they keep them secure and help with development care. All of the babies on Gosset also received three pairs of hand knitted bootees which were made by Val’s mum, Sheila Parish, and all the families were given a card. The verse inside, called Tiny Warrior, was written especially for the purpose by ex-Gosset nurse Linda Black, who now works in the US. We are also very grateful to our Gosset fundraisers led by Theresa Wright for their donation of Miniboo baby comforters, and for staff who held a cake sale in the cyber café to raise additional funds for the ward. Well done to everyone for their efforts, and thank you to all who supported the day.

Designed & Published by Octagon Design & Marketing Ltd, Hawks Nest Cottage, Great North Road, Bawtry, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN10 6AB. Tel: 01302 714528

Insight Northampton - Winter 2016/17  
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