It’s fair to say that during 2022, health and care services have seen significant demand and challenge.
But as always, health and care staff across Norfolk and Waveney have risen to the challenge, persisted with issues grappling health and care services both locally and nationally and continued to provide health and care services for the people of Norfolk and Waveney.
Here’s a summary of just a few achievements over the past 12 months from across the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System.
Parents and carers were reassured that schools across Norfolk and Waveney were determined to do all they could to keep children in school in the face of a predicted peak in COVID-19 infections this January.
More than 200 headteachers and education professionals met over the New Year bank holiday to prepare for what looks to be a challenging start to 2022. A mammoth few months of vaccination efforts across Norfolk and Waveney also helped to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19. Public health experts, as well as health and care staff worked together tirelessly to do all they could to keep vital services open.
Construction began on a new, state-of-the-art £12.5 million Endoscopy Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, as part of plans to modernise its estate.
Whilst we are waiting for an announcement soon on a new hospital, this work to further develop the existing site was another example of how Norfolk and Waveney continue to invest in services to improve access and experience of health and care services.
People living in the Lowestoft area who may be unable to get outside to get active were invited to join in the Lowestoft Mile, a new virtual walking project.
Funded by the Lowestoft and Northern Parishes Community Partnership, the Lowestoft Mile currently comprises four virtual walks around the local area, filmed using 360o virtual reality and drone footage.
Developed by the East Suffolk Communities Team, all the walks are approximately one mile and have been created especially for people who are unable to leave their homes, including elderly people and those with health conditions. However, they are available for everyone to enjoy. The walks, which have a voiceover explaining local facts and interesting information, can be viewed on any device with a Wi-Fi connection. The videos can also be used with virtual reality goggles which work with a smartphone to give the user an immersive experience.
The Mobile Cancer Care Unit (MCCU) at James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust celebrated how it has been supporting patients in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area for just over a year.
The MCCU was introduced as part of the Transforming Cancer Community Care project, which aims to enable cancer patients to access care and treatment closer to home, in a calm and safe environment, so they don’t need to travel so far or come into hospital.
The MCCU is owned and maintained by Hope for Tomorrow (HfT), a charity which runs similar units across the country, and staffed by nurses from the Haematology and Oncology Units at the James Paget.
To mark the first anniversary of the unit, the MCCU team have produced this short video which explains how the service works – and also records the thoughts of some of the patients who use it.
A new digital platform was launched by Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to make it easier for patients to request outpatient follow-up appointments when they need one.
The Trust is working with digital partners to change the way we deliver outpatient care to better suit patients and carers.
Across outpatient services, departments across NNUH are putting follow-ups in our patients’ hands so that they can arrange a follow-up appointment as and when they need it, rather than at routine intervals. The move to patient initiated follow-up (PIFU) outpatient appointments aims to free up clinicians’ time for new appointments, diagnostics and procedures and patients who need us the most.
The new platform will enable patients to request a follow-up appointment, if they need one, via the DrDoctor platform by entering their name, date of birth and postcode and enables teams at NNUH to send appointment messages via text, email or letter.
Our Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney, RT Hon Patricia Hewitt published her first vlog, outlining how NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board and the wider ICS will continue to work together to help people lead longer, healthier and happier lives.
Along with a wide range of communication and engagement activities in the lead up to the launch of NHS Norfolk and Waveney and the wider ICS in July, this helped people to understand what changes people will be able to see as a result of organisations, partners and stakeholders working together even closer.
NHS Norfolk and Waveney launched and replaced the area’s clinical commissioning group, as part of changes to the health and care landscape which saw each part of the country have what is known as an Integrated Care System (ICS).
Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are partnerships of organisations that come together to plan and deliver joined up health and care services to improve the lives of people in their area.
As a result of the new Health and Care Act, Norfolk and Waveney ICS has legal status and includes a statutory Integrated Care Partnership (ICP), and a new NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB) called NHS Norfolk and Waveney.
As well as taking on the existing responsibilities of the CCG, the new organisation is accountable for the performance and finances of the NHS across Norfolk and Waveney – a total budget of £2 billion a year.
Norfolk and Waveney ICP also established as a formal alliance of partners with a role in improving the health and wellbeing of our residents. Norfolk and Waveney ICP brings together the NHS, local government, the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector and other partners to focus on prevention, wider social and economic factors affecting people’s health and reducing health inequalities.
During the pandemic, the number of patients waiting much longer than we would like for their treatment grew for multiple reasons. However, thanks to the incredible hard work of NHS staff in Norfolk and Waveney, the number of patients who have been waiting two years or longer for scans, checks and surgical procedures has now been eliminated.
The NHS Elective Recovery Plan, published in February 2022, set out how the NHS would tackle the backlog that built up as a result of the pandemic. It focussed first on treating those patients who had been waiting the longest, setting the ambitious target of eliminating two year waits by July 2022.
In Norfolk and Waveney, the three acute hospitals in our area (the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, James Paget Hospital in Gorleston and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn), have worked incredibly closely with community healthcare colleagues, as well as acute trusts in other areas of the East of England region.
Together, the hospital trusts have ensured that patients with the most severe and urgent conditions are always prioritised, followed by those patients who have been waiting the longest.
NHS staff across Norfolk and Waveney started the Autumn Booster campaign, vaccinating more than 400,000 people as at 15 December 2022.
The campaign, once again, saw staff go above and beyond to vaccinate our most vulnerable people across Norfolk and Waveney, protecting them from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and seasonal flu.
Health and care organisations from across Norfolk and Suffolk have joined forces to promote a new mental health campaign to encourage people to focus on their wellbeing.
Launched on World Mental Health Day, the ‘Take 5’ campaign encourages people to take 5 minutes to make their emotional wellbeing a priority.
We’re encouraged to eat at least ﬁve fruit and vegetables a day to take care of our physical health, but what about our mental health?
Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.
The Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership new Joint Agency Group supervision (JAGS) initiative was highly commended for Celebrating Outstanding Collaborative Practice in Child Protection as part of the Centre for Child Protection’s Collaboration Awards.
The multidisciplinary awards panel comprised of representatives from health, education, police, third sector, social work and fostering believed that the Joint Agency Group Supervision (JAGS) initiative was an impressive nomination and excellent example of partnership working with strengths in child protection, creativity, collaboration, and impact.
This month also saw the publication and official launch of the Norfolk and Waveney carers passport. Carers have told us that that they wish to be identified as such, in a healthcare setting. In order to help support Carers with this, health and care organisations co-produced a Carers Identity Passport, to ensure Carers are recognised and can get the help and support they require.
Finally, following engagement with partners, people and communities over the summer, the ICS Digital Transformation Strategic Plan and Roadmap was approved at the ICB Board (see page 83). The strategy, which will be launched in the New Year, explores the improvements technology can make to the quality of care people experience in Norfolk and Waveney.
10 Housing with Care flats across Norfolk were launched to support people who are medically fit but need care at home to leave hospital.
People will temporarily move from a hospital bed to a flat in a Housing with Care scheme for up to four weeks. They will receive 24/7 care and support before moving back to their home.
Developed as a partnership between Norfolk County Council, the landlords (Broadland Housing Association and Saffron Housing Trust), NorseCare, Country Kitchen Foods Norfolk and NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board the flats will be available until 31 March 2023.