What’s the deal with apprenticeships?
NCH&C celebrates National Apprenticeship Week
What’s the deal with apprenticeships?
Have you ever thought about doing an apprenticeship but feel you probably need a bit more info about them and how they work? Perhaps you wondered whether doing one is right for you right now? Maybe you need to understand how doing one would benefit your career? Do you need to know more about when the best time to do an apprenticeship is? Do you know what you get paid as an apprentice etc etc… Now is the time to ask and we will do our best to tell you what the deal is with clinical and non-clinical apprenticeships.
In a nutshell, apprenticeships are a great development opportunity at any age, or at any stage in your career. You can even use an apprenticeship to make a total career change.
But we are aware that as well as confusion around age limits and qualification requirements, there is misunderstanding around the nature of NHS apprenticeships.
In advance of National Apprenticeship Week (6-12 February) send us questions you have about apprenticeships and we will try to help you!
Email us your question: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on social media and send us a question via:
Festive thanks from the Chair and the CEO
A festive message of thanks to all our staff
A genuine thank you for everything you have done in 2022. To everyone who is working over Christmas and New Year – it’s so very appreciated. We know the year ends with our services as busy as when it began, and you have all done your absolute best to ensure patients receive safe and compassionate care in often difficult circumstances. We are grateful and proud when we see the resilience of our staff and the way colleagues continue to support each other.
As ever, we urge you to focus on your own wellbeing. We can often neglect our own needs as we put others first. You can access support and information about a whole host of health, wellbeing and general issues here. The Financial Wellbeing Hub on The Loop has been updated with lots of advice and resources to support you in managing your money.
Both Stephen and I have been privileged to get out and see more teams and colleagues across the trust this year. It’s brilliant that people value this and we’ve had a warm welcome wherever we drop in – as well as hearing first-hand about some of the challenges you face and ideas for how we can do things better. We will continue to prioritise these visits as much as possible.
We’ve witnessed so much to be proud of in 2022. This time last year we had just been asked to help the UK achieve a new and incredibly ambitious COVID-19 booster target. NCH&C’s vaccination service played a huge role in Norfolk and Waveney meeting its vaccination target. The hard work of those staff involved was inspiring.
Another highlight for both of us has been welcoming nurses from West Africa to the trust. We are thrilled with how they have settled into their roles and a very new and different environment, and how welcoming the teams they work in have been.
Throughout the year we have recognised and said thank you to staff in a variety of ways. We awarded 64 Badges of Recognition to colleagues across the trust. 242 staff also received Platinum Badges linked to the Platinum Jubilee year and were given a special commemorative badge and a letter from Stephen.
A record 350 nominations were received for our REACH Awards. Each nomination tells a story of amazing staff doing incredible things during difficult times. Each and every one could have been a winner, and judging was really hard.
We also recognised the work of our different services and the contribution they make to the health and care of Norfolk and Waveney at a weeklong exhibition at The Forum.
This year saw some significant leadership changes at NCH&C. We were delighted to welcome Stephen to the trust as CEO in January and he has led us through another turbulent year for the NHS with compassion and ambition.
We also said a fond farewell to Geraldine Broderick as her tenure as Chair at NCH&C came to an end. As our Chair, Geraldine delivered unwavering leadership and dedication to our patients in Norfolk.
Looking ahead to 2023 and we are thrilled that Lynda Thomas joins us as our new Chair in February. Lynda brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that will support NCH&C as we deliver our services to Norfolk’s communities as part of the newly formed Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System.
We will continue to demonstrate the importance and expertise of our teams and the services we provide to the people of Norfolk and Waveney as we launch an extended Virtual Ward, utilising technology to keep people safe and well in their homes. The brand new Priscilla Bacon Hospice will open in the summer, where our dedicated team will continue to provide expert palliative and end-of-life care.
For those who have some time off over the next few weeks, please enjoy it with your family and friends. We wish each of you a happy and safe Christmas and we look forward to seeing you all in 2023.
Interim Chair of NCH&C
CEO of NCH&C
We are recruiting to our Communications, Marketing and Staff Engagement Team
We're recruiting a Digital Communications Officer
The Communications, Marketing and Staff Engagement team at NCH&C is small but focused and responsive. We’re responsible for managing the reputation of NCH&C both to internal contacts and to external stakeholders.
It’s a multi-channel world, requiring a strategic approach to content strategy, delivery and engagement.
We currently have a rare fixed term vacancy for a person with a digital communications background and enviable skills in content creation.
Are you a proactive and enthusiastic Digital Communications Officer looking for your next career move? Do you love collaborating and also thrive on working autonomously? Would you like a role working for one of the world’s best loved brands?
We’re looking for someone with confidence to generate and prioritise their work, someone with the motivation to learn and grow into this challenging yet rewarding role.
In return we offer a varied role, working as part of a creative, inspiring and supportive team, at an Outstanding NHS trust. Each day will be different and busy: the person in this post will play a vital part in local NHS communications.
You would be working on a wide range of projects including:
- Development of, and content for, our websites and intranet
- Devising content for, and increasing the reach of, our social media
- Overseeing our app
- Planning and implementing communications projects/campaigns, focused on digital communication campaigns
Contact Vicky Brooke, Head of Marketing, Communications and Staff Engagement on 07747117564, email@example.com for an informal chat or apply here: Digital Communications Officer
Priscilla Bacon Hospice development
Topping-out ceremony marks successful milestone at the new Priscilla Bacon Hospice
A special event to celebrate a development milestone at the new Priscilla Bacon Hospice has been held, with NCH&C staff playing a key part in the occasion.
The traditional topping-out ceremony paid tribute to the construction process and marks the completion of the structure and the roof. Charlotte Shaw, Quality Matron for Palliative Care, and Sarah Gough, Consultant, both from NCH&C’s Priscilla Bacon Lodge, were among those who scaled the building to pour beer on the roof as part of the celebration. Charlotte and Sarah are pictured below in yellow high vis vests.
The £12.5 million target funds have almost been raised to build the new hospice on the site at NNUH, with a completion date of May 2023. NCH&C staff from Priscilla Bacon Lodge will move into the building in June 2023 and continue to provide expert palliative and end of life care at the new hospice. The new hospice will also have a day treatment wing, wellbeing suite including a gym, family stay room, training research and education areas, space to host a community hub, and offices.
Work experience applications now live
Register now for work experience in 2023
Following a two-year pause during the pandemic, we are delighted that NCH&C is once again able to offer work experience placements to students, jobseekers, and anyone keen to find out more about working in community health and care in Norfolk.
The application process for our work experience placements is open from today for the next two weeks (28 November – 11 December).
To register your interest, complete this online form, answering all the questions in as much detail as you can.
NCH&C’s Talent for Care team will then get in touch to arrange a work experience placement that suits your requirements and preferences. These placements will take place from Spring 2023.
Please note that this form will close on Sunday 11 December. We unfortunately cannot accept applications all year round due to the work required to fulfil placements.
Work experience is a valuable opportunity for individuals who want to try working in a particular field, before committing to a career change or course of study. This is particularly important in the healthcare sector, where we rely on steady stream of individuals into our workforce.
Carolyn Fowler, Director of Nursing & Quality, shared her support for the return of work experience to NCH&C:
“Hosting work experience placements is a vital recruitment opportunity for the NHS, so we are pleased to open our doors to work experience candidates once again. This is a chance for us to highlight why working in a community trust is so amazing, and to support the next generation of NHS staff.
“Teams tell us that hosting a work experience candidate is a rewarding experience for all involved. Welcoming in someone new brings a fresh pair of eyes and fresh ideas – our work experience candidates are an asset to the teams that receive them.”
Our placements are open to anyone who is over 14 years old (over 18 years old to work with children). Existing NCH&C staff members and those outside the organisation are welcome to apply.
Please do share the work experience booking form with your colleagues, or any friends and family that may be interested in completing work experience at NCH&C.
For more information, please email WorkExperience@nchc.nhs.uk
NCH&C recruitment event at Norwich’s Castle Quarter
Norwich jobseekers invited to community NHS recruitment event in Castle Quarter
Norfolk Community Health & Care (NCH&C) NHS Trust is holding a recruitment event to encourage jobseekers to find out more about working in the community NHS.
When: Wednesday 23 November, 10am-4pm
Where: Level 1, Castle Quarter, Norwich
Jobseekers of all levels and specialisms are invited to come along and meet teams from NCH&C, discover what it’s like working in Norfolk’s community NHS, and hear about the trust’s open vacancies.
NCH&C is currently hiring for a range of roles across the county. Opportunities include entry-level clinicians and admin support, apprenticeships, and various community and ward-based clinical roles, including nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language therapists. Full-time, part-time, flexible, and bank opportunities are available at locations across Norfolk.
Compassionate and dedicated individuals who want to start their NHS career as a band 2 Healthcare Assistant could even have their job interview on the day at the recruitment event in Castle Quarter. This is an entry-level role, with no previous healthcare experience required.
Aimee Harrison, HR Service Support Projects Lead, said:
“Our upcoming recruitment event will be a valuable event for jobseekers, especially those at the start of their career. We have plenty of entry-level jobs available, all with the potential to be a steppingstone to career progression. For example, you could join as an HCA, with no healthcare experience, and complete training and apprenticeships to become a qualified nurse or clinician. Having your HCA interview on the day means we can speed up the recruitment process, so you can start your new role even sooner.
“And we’re not just looking for clinical staff! With the right training, an entry-level admin role could kickstart a career in one of our corporate services, like HR, Finance, or Estates. We can even support staff with things like Functional Skills if they don’t have their English and Maths GCSEs, so don’t be put off if you think you’re not qualified. Come along and have a chat with our teams, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised about where a career in Norfolk’s community NHS can take you.”
NCH&C’s recruitment team will be joined at Castle Quarter by the apprenticeship team, clinical education team, Temporary Worker Service, and clinical colleagues. Jobseekers will be able to ask questions about the recruitment process and get support with their application and interview.
NCH&C is community NHS trust providing community-based health and care services to patients of all ages across Norfolk. The trust serves a population of 900,000 people, providing a range of services across its eleven-community hospital and inpatient units, GP surgeries, schools, and in patients’ homes. NCH&C is the UK’s only standalone NHS community trust to have achieved an ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Employing over 2,500 staff in clinical and support services, NCH&C is proud to be an employer of choice in Norfolk. NCH&C is a Disability Confident Employer and is working towards becoming an accredited ‘Veteran Aware’ employer.
For more info about the event, please email HRservicesupport@nchc.nhs.uk
Celebrating all those who work in the community
Community Health and Care Day marked with partnership event at The Forum
This year we celebrated Community Health and Care Day with a public event at The Forum in Norwich. The theme for 2022 was partnership and how we work together with other services and providers to ensure our communities stay healthy, well and out of hospital. Representatives from NCH&C were joined by other organisations to celebrate how we help people of all ages stay healthy and well in Norfolk and Waveney.
Find out more about Community Health and Care Day, download posters and information, and follow and share our news from the day on social media here: https://wearenchc.nhs.uk/community-health-and-care-day/.
We’re already thinking about next year’s Community Health and Care Day, do you have ideas of what we can do to celebrate and raise the profile of the vital work of community health and care? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our REACH Awards 2022 finalists
Well done to all our REACH Awards 2022 finalists. Here are the winners and runners up in each category:
Community Award, sponsored by Norse
This award recognises the individual or team that best demonstrates commitment to the NCH&C value of community. They will have made a significant impact working with others and their ability to develop effective relationships generate enthusiasm across the trust.
NCH&C Charitable Fund Team
“Carol and Tracy have been instrumental in supporting staff to deliver the best care they can, and ensuring that our patients receive the best care we can provide, through the work of the charity. “They tirelessly promote the charity to secure sustainable fundraising in the most challenging of financial circumstances. Through their commitment and support, and by working together with each other and many more, they improve staff and patient experiences at NCH&C.”
NN2 Place Community Nursing Team
“The work the NN2 Team has completed as a collaborative has impacted patients significantly, providing positive experiences, attaining optimum outcomes for their patients, and leading the way in high quality, evidence-based care. They have set a high standard of care delivery with the patient at the heart of their actions, whilst providing each other effective peer support and review.
“The work this team has and continues to complete demonstrates commitment, support, and the ethos of working together to a high standard for the community.”
Compassion Award, sponsored by G4S
This award recognises the individual or team that best demonstrates commitment to the NCH&C value of compassion. They have made a significant impact on their own service and have developed effective relationships with their colleagues, consistently putting care and compassion at the forefront of their approach.
Alan Dawson, Strategic Finance Manager
“Alan embodies the trust’s value of compassion in everything he does. He works diligently and with care in any work situation. In his role as a financial analyst this can sometimes lead to challenging conversations, which he always manages sensitively and with empathy.
“In addition to his main role, Alan has taken it upon himself to be a health and wellbeing champion to the team, and he has been key in the creation of the team’s staff engagement action plan. Alan is a real role model in compassionate leadership.”
Alex Wilson, Specialist Learning Disabilities Nurse
“Alex joined Starfish+ during 2020 and has since become a valued and admired team member. Alex is boundlessly compassionate about her work for the young people we work with, and for her colleagues. Alex always speaks clearly, coherently, and compassionately about every child we work with. Alex is also a compassionate colleague. She leads by example and always models and shows this value and ensures that she looks after the wellbeing of others.”
Creativity Award, sponsored by InHealthcare
This award recognises the individual or team that best demonstrates commitment to the NCH&C value of creativity. They have improved their service area by removing obstacles and by being innovative, going above and beyond to deliver results.
Miranda Gretton, Marketing Communications Officer
“Miranda has shown an incredible example of creativity, with her creation of the trust podcast: Take a Moment with NCH&C, taking the project from scoping and concept, right through to successful implementation and ongoing continual improvement. The podcast has been beneficial to staff and external listeners alike. It has garnered wider interest from other trusts and service providers who wish to replicate something similar for themselves – this helps to put NCH&C at the forefront of creativity and innovation. Creativity is defined as the creation of something new and valuable. I think this is one of the strongest examples of creativity I have seen at the trust in a long time.”
Infection Prevention and Control Team
“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this team developed a drive-through screening service in the space of five hours. This was the first in the county, and one of the first in the UK. The team were part of the system response to business outbreaks by providing screening of up to 1,000 staff in factories. This brings us to today, whereby the team have provided screening in people’s own homes for Monkeypox.
“This fluidity of service has ensured the Norfolk & Waveney healthcare system was able to work to the best of its ability in incredibly challenging times. Ensuring staff were tested in the timeliest way and able to return to work as quickly as possible.”
Holly Hearle, Specialist Physiotherapist
“Holly has shown immeasurable creativity over the last two years, developing better systems at Caroline House to enhance the quality, effectiveness, and safety of patient care. You may have seen Holly in some trust communications as she developed a communication board for patients’ bedrooms, which displays all the necessary information to be able to provide bespoke, safe, and effective care, with a 24/7 rehab focus. Holly was instrumental in designing, piloting and then resourcing these boards for every in-patient bed at Caroline House. Holly has also been completing the Quality Champions Programme and has set-up a joint working clinic to enable physiotherapists from Specialist Services at the Colman Centre to work jointly with our community colleagues to support their management of complex patients. Whilst it is in its infancy, it has received great feedback from community staff.”
Rising Star Award, sponsored by The Candle Brand
This award recognises an exceptional student, trainee, apprentice, or someone in a development role, who demonstrates commitment to learning and developing in their career with the NHS.
Robert Blowers, Nursing Assistant Practitioner
“Rob has a passion for Learning Disability care, which has been recognised externally by sharing his journey into LD nursing at the Fourth National Learning Disability Symposium. He has also raised awareness internally, writing an article for the Equality and Diversity Newsletter and supporting the trust’s Healthcare Assistant Recruitment webinar. Rob continues to promote his key catchphrase that ‘there is no age limit to get out there and train!’ Rob goes above and beyond his role to promote LD nursing, training, and to support the recruitment of LD nursing. Rob’s involvement at a national level shows the outstanding work he does to support the LD community.”
Jade Hutchinson, Administration Assistant
“Jade joined the trust in early 2021 as an apprentice, working with both the Central Booking and Single Point of Contact admin teams. Even as an apprentice, Jade was keeping up with the existing members of the team, completing her workload efficiently and accurately, asking the right questions and challenging appropriately.
“In 2022, Jade became a permanent member of the Central Booking admin team, and her skillset dramatically expanded, which it continues to do. Jade provides admin support for multiple clinical services, and has become incredibly quick, efficient, and accurate at whatever challenge is thrown at her. I look forward to seeing where her career takes her.”
Leading By Example Award
This award recognises a member of staff who has shown a natural ability to lead and support their colleagues, keeping teams connected while inspiring others to achieve great things. They are a mentor to staff and pass on their expertise to improve the effectiveness of their service.
Alan Dawson, Strategic Finance Manager
“Alan is the finance, procurement, and charity teams’ wellbeing champion. He is highly proactive in this role, taking all opportunities to share good practice and encourage all those around him to lead healthier, better lives. Every team needs an Alan, and our Finance Team would not be as resilient and supportive without his energy and input. If all of us did 5% of what he did in everything we do, the difference to our teams would be amazing. The energy and enthusiasm Alan brings to his role, and his embedding of wellbeing into the way he works and lives, makes our teams think more about leading healthier lives.”
Emma Lunny, Deputy Director of Finance
“Emma demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities to her team, her peers and those in the wider Support Services teams. Throughout the pandemic, Emma successfully led the finance and procurement teams when they were facing unprecedented changes both in terms of working environments, but also the requirements placed on them. Outside of the pandemic, Emma has mentored and coached, and informally supported several aspiring leaders. Emma’s insight, strategic awareness and kind nature means she is approachable, warm but also incredibly talented in her profession and in leadership. Emma demonstrates a natural ability to lead and support not only her team, but her peers and colleagues across the organisation, inspiring personal and professional growth.”
Partnership working, sponsored by NCH&C Charitable Fund
This award recognises a team or individual working collaboratively and across team or organisational boundaries to improve services. They work as a truly cohesive partnership, those team spirit shines through.
First Contact Practitioner Team
“The First Contact Practitioners team are based in GP practices and provide specialist musculoskeletal care to patients.
“After an initial pilot in Feb-March 2020, the service commenced in February 2021 at the height of the second major COVID-19 lockdown. Establishing a completely new service during one of the most challenging periods in the history of the NHS has been remarkable. The musculoskeletal team has demonstrated an incredible level of commitment and versatility. It is a service which has quickly become very recognisable and popular with both patients and GPs alike. It is a truly advanced and forward thinking service which encapsulates the principles of partnership working.”
Adult Learning Disability Service
“In June, the Adult Learning Disability Service hosted an LD awareness event to support Learning Disability Week 2022, incorporating this year’s theme, “living with a learning disability”.
“The day saw some incredible partnership working, not only internally between adult learning disabilities, Starfish Services, and our closely linked NCC colleagues, but also the 13 other external agencies/organisations who participated in the event. The day provided a great opportunity for all professionals in both health and social care and charities to showcase all the amazing work they’re doing. This has now become a yearly event and a date in the diary for all, with organisations desperate to be a part of it, which is testament to the energy Heidi and many other LD clinicians put into the day.”
Acute Diabetic Foot Team
“The Acute Diabetic Foot Team is a small group of specialist podiatrists that provide specialist footcare interventions and support for patients with acute diabetic foot complications. Their aim was to identify and eliminate barriers to specialist foot care to improve patient and system outcomes. “They formed a system-wide working group, including representatives from all three providers of podiatry services, including clinicians, commissioners, and service managers. This team is amazing, with endless drive to not only provide great care with compassion but to lead, influence and act to improve care across multiple systems. This small team have achieved so much, and they truly deserve to be recognised for their efforts.”
Place Based Team of the Year, sponsored by Birketts
This award recognises a team or service within their Place or SSOCS that has demonstrated award-winning innovation and improved our services by using an innovative approach. Building on learning from others and best practice, the winner will have developed and implemented their ideas to make a difference.
High Intensity User Team
“The High Intensity User team is a 10-person team based in Norwich which delivers an innovative approach to support some of the most vulnerable people in society with a goal of reducing frequent healthcare use.
“The team work above and beyond to identify and support clients at their most vulnerable time, helping to prevent frequent usage of multiple services system-wide. They always demonstrate compassion and kindness to each other whilst undertaking this challenging work. They have been truly flexible and adaptable and open to innovation and change. All members of the team have used what skills they could to help with the response to the pandemic, for example working in vaccination clinics at short notice, delivering vaccine supplies and working to help with social isolation in shielding patients. The team has worked quickly to implement the new Dialog+ framework. Using Dialog+ enables the HIU team to ask patients questions about their welling in a consistent way. The change has joined up the patient journey across NSFT, primary care and our organisation.”
Home First Hub/Virtual Ward (West)
“This team has demonstrated incredible innovation, creativity, and flexibility in rapidly implementing the national Discharge to Assess guidance.
“The Home First Hub was created in response to the pandemic and was rapidly implemented through seconding people from multiple organisations. The team has then been on a continuous improvement journey; having a more sustainable service, working in a truly integrated way with partners, and ensuring the best patient experience possible. The focus has always been to enable patients to be supported at home wherever possible. The success of this team is not only down to everyone’s commitment and compassion but working as a multidisciplinary team across different partner agencies.”
Volunteer of the Year
This award recognises a volunteer who has gone above and beyond to help service users, carers, visitors, or staff. They are proactive in initiating new tasks to support staff, improve efficiency, and enhance patient experience.
Ernie Pinch, volunteer at Priscilla Bacon Lodge (PBL)
“Ernie has been a member of the volunteer team at PBL since 2017 working as a ward volunteer almost 20 hours each week. As well as his outstanding commitment, empathy and hard work on the ward Ernie also meticulously maintains all the bird feeding stations in the PBL grounds which give a lot of pleasure to the patients. Ernie is 100% determined to make a difference to each patient and their loved ones going over and above completing the tasks on his role description. They all know him by name and often ask for him. On the rare occasion that Ernie takes any time off he is missed by everyone.”
Gary Hamilton, Stockroom Support Volunteer at North Walsham Community Hospital
“Gary’s input is invaluable to ensure the smooth running of the NN2 community nursing team. Gary is great to have around too. He always seems to be happy and enjoys what he is doing, and I can’t thank him enough for the contribution that he pays to this team. As community nurses, we are always in a rush and busy, but you always know when Gary has been in because the storeroom looks amazing and clean. He is very friendly and always polite to staff. By having Gary’s help, it helps us deliver more nursing to people in their own homes.”
Outstanding Recognition Award, sponsored by VerseOne and Wagestream
This award recognises a staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to the delivery of safe, compassionate care for our patients and their families. They will have embodied our values of Compassion, Creativity and Community.
Steve Worley, Head of Procurement
“During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Procurement Team played a vital role in sourcing and providing a range of vital products and equipment to the trust, including the all-important PPE.
From the beginning, Steve demonstrated stellar leadership and commitment to both his team, the organisation, and individual services across the trust. Steve also helped to cover the trust’s Incident Command Centre (ICC) and worked a different shift pattern, late evenings, and some weekends to support the seven-day, twelve-hour opening times of the ICC. Steve stepped outside of his comfort zone and area of expertise, he was willing to learn, grow and develop as part of a greater cause. He put others first and was a true role model to all those around him as we journeyed through the pandemic.”
Allison Coxon, Service Lead for Long-term Conditions & Specialist Nursing
“Alli has pioneered the development of the Post-COVID Service. She has pulled together a fantastic team of clinicians by using innovation, flexibility, and compassion. Alli creates a positive inclusive workplace.
“Despite overseeing many services, she always seems to have time for everyone. She always makes you feel valued and proud of the work you do. Above all, Alli always puts the patient at the centre of the decisions she makes and brilliantly uses her clinical experience and collaboration skills to make the Post-COVID Service the success it has been. Alli has been able to bring cohesion and unity to the team and takes a leading role in service development and improvement. Alli will always stop and help, whether patient or staff, she can be counted on as a loyal team member.”
Patient Choice Award, sponsored by Virgin Media Business
Nominated by patients, their carers, and family members, this award recognises a clinical team or staff member that has gone above and beyond the call of duty and has made an outstanding difference to our patients.
Dr Josephine Scott, Specialist Clinical Psychologist
“In March 2020 I suffered a brain injury. I found it very difficult to come to terms with, and the whole situation was exacerbated by the pandemic. I was referred to Jubilee House and have been treated by Dr Scott. It is fair to say that she has single-handedly helped me through the most challenging experience of my life, and I cannot thank her enough. She is knowledgeable, astute, warm, intellectually curious, humorous, greatly empathetic, and adept at knowing when to draw one out or keep quiet. I have had to see various senior specialists because of my injury and have often felt patronised or an inconvenience. This most assuredly has not been the case with Dr Scott, who has skilfully used a variety of tools and techniques to adapt to what I have needed without self-consciously drawing attention to her own very evident expertise. I don’t like to think how I would have fared without Dr Scott’s support. I am extremely grateful for the help she has given me and believe she is most worthy of recognition.”
Anna Alpe, Community Link Nurse
“Anna has all the qualities that the public expect to see in a nurse. She cared for my mother and was calm, professional, and exuded compassion. Behind her mask you could see her eyes smiling. She had exemplar communication skills as she knew mum was fearful of medications and wanted to fight to the end. She was able to discuss the reason for symptom relief in her last 48 hours. The other amazing team members, who were all calm and professional, said they had been taught by Anna. In this busy and challenging world of the NHS, Anna put her patient at the centre of care, checked the family was ok, and went over and above liaising with primary care to ensure mum’s last few days were peaceful. Anna is a credit to NCH&C, nursing, and most of all patients that experience her care. As a family we cannot thank her enough.”
CEO’s Choice Award
Carol Abel, Linen Chargehand
Chair’s Choice Award
Chioma Goodchild, Podiatrist and Freedom To Speak Up Guardian
NCH&C celebrates national Community Health and Care Day
Saying a big thank you to dedicated and often unseen community health and care staff, Tuesday 1 November 2022 is national Community Health and Care Day.
Founded by NCH&C in 2020 to mark its tenth anniversary, Community Health and Care Day is a registered awareness day marked every year on 1 November. The day provides the opportunity for everyone to celebrate the vital role that community healthcare plays, and help raise the profile of this essential part of the NHS.
Community healthcare is the foundation of the NHS, helping people of all ages live independently, stay in their homes longer and leave hospital sooner. Although community health care makes up one fifth of the NHS workforce, it is often overlooked despite being firmly at the heart of every health and care system. Boosting ‘out-of-hospital’ care is one of the key elements of the NHS long-term plan and is vital for ensuring people can access the healthcare we need in the future.
This year’s theme is partnership and how we work together as a team and also with other services and providers to ensure our communities stay healthy, well and out of hospital. We are holding a special event at The Forum in Norwich to celebrate the day – everyone is invited to come and find out more about community health and care.
Stephen Collman, CEO at NCH&C, said: “Community Health and Care Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the compassion and dedication that goes into community care every day. Our mission to look after people locally drives us to bring our expert care to patients in our community hospitals, within GP surgeries, medical centres, and in their own homes every single day. The breadth of expertise within community health care really is extraordinary – it is a remarkable sector and incredibly rewarding to work in.
Anyone who wishes to get involved with Community Health and Care Day 2022 can head to the campaign page for ideas of how to show support. You can also download Community Health and Care Day social media assets, posters and flyers, to say a big ‘thank you’ to your local community healthcare teams.
Why I became a Pharmacy Technician
Why I became a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy Technician Day on the 18th October recognises the invaluable contributions made by pharmacy technicians to patient health, safety and as an integral part of the healthcare team. Our valued NCH&C staff share below why they became a Pharmacy Technician:
Abbie Alden – Pharmacy Technician
After I finished college, I knew that I didn’t want to go to university and that an apprenticeship would be the best way forward for me. I enjoyed science in school, so when I saw an apprenticeship for a pharmacy assistant come up, I knew that I had to apply.
I had never worked in a healthcare setting before, but it was exciting knowing that I was going to be doing something completely different. Both my dad and step mum had worked for the NHS for years, so it felt quite natural to follow suit.
The apprenticeship was based at Hellesdon Hospital, a mental health trust, so I knew there would be challenges to overcome having seen people in my life experience mental health problems. My day-to-day role would include dispensing inpatient and discharge medication, as well as looking at the storage of medication, making sure stock was in date.
Whilst I was completing my NVQ level 2 & 3 training, I realised how much knowledge I was gaining from learning about different medications, and that I found it so interesting. I started choosing a different health issue each week, e.g, blood pressure, and I would complete mind maps on which medications would help with that issue, this has really helped me more now that I am a Pharmacy Technician working as part of the Medicine Optimisation Team at NCH& C.
As part of my job role, I am required to give information about medication to patients and If I can’t answer a question, I know that I can always refer to the pharmacist for help. My favourite part of my job as a Pharmacy Technician is talking to the patients, and I love when they feel comfortable enough to ask me questions, the communication between myself and the patients always makes me feel appreciated and that I’m doing my job well.
There is always something new to learn doing my Job as a Pharmacy Technician, from learning about medications, to new policies and procedures. I still love my job as a Pharmacy Technician ,8 years in.
Gemma Baxter – Pharmacy Technician
I started working in pharmacy 16 years ago when my children were young and while I was studying for a Health and Social Care Degree with the Open University . I initially started in a community pharmacy as I wanted to work in health care; helping people improve their health and it fitted in well with my children . I helped put medication stock away, started learning how to dispense prescreptions and served customers who were collecting their prescriptions. I really enjoyed working with people and was interested in finding out more about medicines. I completed the Medicine Counter Assistants course so I had more knowledge to advise customers about products they could purchase and also the dispensing assistants course so I could dispense patient’s prescriptions competently. After a few years I was keen to expand my knowledge further and continue learning while working and went on to study for my NVQ and become a registered Pharmacy Technician. This allowed me to learn about how medications worked and what they were used for . I then applied this knowledge to my practice , counselling and advising patient’s about their medications referring to the pharmacist when required.
After 8 years in community pharmacy I made the decision to move to an acute hospital setting as I wanted to gain an understanding of how pharmacy worked in hospitals and the different range medications prescribed. Initially I worked in the pharmacy department dispensing inpatient, outpatient and TTOs and adapting to the new procedures and variety of medications prescribed . I passed my accuracy checking course with the UEA so I could do the final accuracy check of prescriptions. I then started to visit the wards to check patient’s own medications and order further supplies, to do ward stock top- ups, medicine reconciliations, help process TTOs and counsel patient’s about their medications.
I really enjoy my role as a pharmacy technician as it is so varied, over the years I have worked in community pharmacies, prisons , psychiatric hospitals and acute hospitals. An attention to detail is required, communicating with patients and all members of the multi-disciplinary team , helping patient’s with medication adherence and fundamentally making medications safer for patients. There is always something new to learn too which keeps the role interesting and I’m sure this will in continue in my new role with NCH&C.
Megan Champion – Pre-registration Trainee Pharmacy Technician
I previously worked in healthcare for about 7 years, working in different roles and gaining different experience. I always enjoyed working in healthcare but struggled to find a job that I could progress in and continue as a career. When working in my last care job I decided that I wanted to work in the NHS and try and get myself a job that could progress into a career for my future.
I frequently looked on the NHS jobs website for opportunities so when I saw this pharmacy technician apprenticeship, I felt positive and optimistic about it. I didn’t have any experience in pharmacy itself, however I did have many years of experience in different care settings administering medication to service users/patients, seeing the benefits and effects of medication and also participating in medication training that was part of my role. I always found medicine interesting so I thought I would take the plunge and apply.
The reason I chose an apprenticeship and not a more university route, was because I completed a NVQ at my previous job which included working and learning and just felt it was the most beneficial way for me and my learning needs, I enjoyed completing it and felt confident doing it. I also felt a bit stuck as I needed to work to be able to cover me financially but really wanted to learn and begin something new. So doing an apprenticeship especially within the NHS was such an amazing opportunity for me and I felt like from the start I really appreciated how lucky I was to be able to get the job and be on the course.
Since doing the apprenticeship I feel like it was the best decision I ever made, I feel like I have a good career ahead of me that I really appreciate, I have enjoyed learning so many new things and I think because of me valuing this so much I have really put my 100% into it. I feel like I am excited for my career and excited to continue to learn throughout my career and I am proud to have a pharmacy technician role.
I think an apprenticeship has been the best type of learning I have ever done; I have been able to put things I learn into practice which has helped me solidify that knowledge and gain experience at the same time. I have managed to explore different roles, meet different people with so much different experience which has been amazing for my development. I feel like in the two years I have learnt so much but not just from the study side of things, I feel like it helps you gain confidence, experience and more respect for the role and others roles too, you learn so much about yourself and what you are capable of, you develop people skills, I feel I can work by myself and in a group setting equally as confident.
Overall, for me, an apprenticeship has been the best way for me to learn and develop alongside the study aspect, I feel like a mixture of placements, independent learning and study is the perfect learning style for me and has helped me get through the course with confidence and I am glad I took the opportunity.
Denyse Porter – Lead Pharmacy Technician (ePMA)
I began my career in Pharmacy in 1976 as a dispenser for an Independent Pharmacy – I wanted to work at Boots in the laboratories originally but at the tender age of 17 I was informed I was too old to join their training programme-, so that decision decided my career path.
In 1977 to get a qualification as a Pharmacy Technician it was a day release at a local college for 2 years to gain a City & Guild Qualification, however the pharmacy I worked for wouldn’t pay for the course, so I paid for the first year myself and attended the course on my day off. In 1978 I was successful in gaining employment as a student at the Nottingham General Hospital and began my career in the NHS. I was still required to pay for part of the course with no guarantee of a job at the end of it, but at least I got a day to attend and in 1979 I passed the course with Merit and qualified as a Pharmacy Technician. I was offered a job on qualifying at the Nottingham General Hospital and worked in the Pharmacy Manufacturing unit – there very few commercial products in those days- and learned how to manufacture creams, potions, and lotions. In 1981 I was promoted and became at that time the youngest Senior Technician in the Trent Region working at the Newly opened Nottingham Queens Medical Centre.
During my employ in the NHS, I have had experience in all aspects of pharmacy through my various roles both as a manager and as a member of various pharmacy and multidisciplinary teams. I have been involved in many firsts too.
Medicines Management-I have been involved in Medicines Management for several years in various formats and was involved in an original pilot in 1995 which was published by senior pharmacists from the Queens Medical Centre Nottingham* in self-administration and re use of patients own medicines. The result of this project led to one of the first ward discharge services in the UK and I was part of the team that helped develop the first Medical Admissions Unit at the QMC*.
Medicines Safety -My experience and interest in safe and security of Medicines began in 2008 when the NHS in England was required to audit Medicines Safety. I was tasked to write and conduct an audit based on Duthie requirements and produce a report that I was required to present at an acute hospital in the Southwest to the hospital executive board. Things haven’t changed much over the years, and I am still writing and conducting and presenting audits, revising the questions as standards have changed due to various incidents
Medicines Waste Management -In 2010 the Environment Agency issued guidelines on bulk waste that was produced by the Health Service. At the time I was working for a Community Health Trust in the Southwest and tasked with producing guidelines for our Inpatient Units and Community Teams for disposal of Pharmaceutical Waste. This was extremely challenging as a lot of technical jargon and data had to be interpreted. Again, I had to present my guidelines to the Executive Board for approval. I have since discovered that my guidelines have been used by several other Trusts which I suppose is a bit of a compliment.
Training and Education -I have been involved in training and Education for all my career and feel it is vital to share learning and to support colleagues throughout their career. I currently act as Educational Supervisor for our apprentice technician.
Unusual Projects I have been involved in -I have been involved in unusual projects not always ones identified with pharmacy, one of those being when I worked at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth as the Pharmacy Purchasing Manager. I was responsible for purchasing and invoicing for the British Antarctic Project – who knew that Condoms were used for protecting sensitive scientific equipment.
The Hospital was also one of the main Centre’s for Travel Vaccination for Students in the Southwest and I was responsible for purchase supply and invoicing.
Derriford Hospital was also one of the first hospitals to have a triple Pharmacy Robot of which I was on the project board. The Hospital was also one of the Strategic Health Authority pilot sites for the Pyxis ward based dispensing project- a fore runner to ePMA which I was required to lead.
In conclusion Why did I decide to become a Pharmacy Technician?
It was never a conscious decision, but I am very much a believer that the path is set out for you and things happen for a reason, so maybe my path was to follow that of a Pharmacy Technician and to fly the flag on this day at NCH&C