It has been another year where Gateshead has faced significant challenges with increased pressure on our services, rising numbers of patients requiring our care and greater strain on the resources that we need to run the Trust.
Despite these increasing challenges our staff have, once again, risen to the occasion by delivering some fantastic levels of care and performance for the benefit of all our patients in Gateshead.
For Gateshead Health it was a double celebration last year as not only did the whole country celebrate 70 years of the NHS, we also shared that happy anniversary with our own Royal opening of the hospital in 1948.
Our celebrations included visits by former patients and staff, turning the Gateshead Millennium Bridge blue, rediscovering Pathe news footage from our original Royal opening and taking over a local Park Run to highlight the work of NHS staff.
There has also been much cause for celebration throughout the year with the Trust rated as one of the best performing in the country for cancer care, the Cragside Unit for dementia patients reopening after a major redevelopment and a range of new theatre equipment coming online.
There is a growing national focus on how health and care services can work much more closely to help patients, which is why it was so pleasing to see our partnership work recognised at one of the highest profile events in the NHS calendar.
The Gateshead Care Partnership, which brings together the Trust, Gateshead Council and local GPs, was presented with a prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Award for Improved Partnerships between Health and Local Government.
This was in recognition of how we are working to streamline health and social care services for the people of Gateshead and means that GPs, hospital staff and social care professionals from the council can all come together and help deliver a much more coordinated system for patients.
The ultimate aim of this is to bring together all the expert knowledge and resources into a single point of contact so that patients and families can navigate the health and social care system far more easily.
By working alongside our partners at the Council and in primary care, we can continue to put patients, and their needs, at the heart of everything we do.
In the HSJ awards, the Trust was also one of six trusts shortlisted for national trust of the year.
This was a fantastic achievement by everyone working for the Trust and provided some tangible recognition for all the hard work by our staff.
Every day NHS teams across Gateshead are delivering vital services to the public both in hospital and out in the community, so to be shortlisted for the most prestigious award was testament to the commitment and dedication of all our staff.
Everyone in Gateshead should be proud of the high quality care that we’re providing to patients day in,
day out at a very challenging time for the NHS.
Although much attention is placed nationally on performance in Accident & Emergency, it is important to remember that overall performance in Gateshead is a reflection of how the entire health and care system is working.
Across the country the NHS is seeing a rise in the number of people using emergency services and Gateshead is no different.
The number of patients attending our Emergency Care Centre (ECC) has increased by 4.6% since last year and by 8.1% since it opened in 2015 – that’s an extra 6,985 people.
Despite this increase in activity we’re seeing more patients within 4 hours than ever before and 94.1% of these people would recommend Gateshead to friends and family if they needed A&E treatment according to the latest survey results.
The values of the organisation put the patient at the very centre of everything that we do and that has continued this year with our work to engage with the public, whether that’s patients, carers, families, volunteers, governors or members.
This was highlighted again with our busiest ever open day in November, with more than 200 people turning out to learn more about Gateshead Health.
The hard work, dedication and passion of all our teams in both clinical and support roles, in the hospital and across the community, continues to shine through and we owe everyone across the Gateshead Health family a huge thank you.