I’d like to say a big thank you to nursing and health staff who worked differently during the most recent BMA Junior Doctor Industrial Action in December and January. It was a very busy period for the NHS and you played a pivotal role in supporting patients at this time. I recognise that it must be tiring each time there is strike action but I do hope the Government and BMA can resolve this issue in a timely way going forward.
Recently I have been working alongside Louise Wilson, the ICB’s Quality Improvement Dental Nurse, who has been championing quality improvement in dentistry, supporting practices to develop and continually improve services. We have always taken a holistic approach to promoting oral health through education, access to resources, and disease prevention. Sustainability is also an area of focus as we aim to move towards a greener future.
We’ve just launched a 4-week period of stakeholder engagement around our long-term plans to commission NHS dental services in Norfolk and Waveney. I would encourage staff to have their say around dental provision whether or not you directly or indirectly work with services, or as a patient yourself.
I would like to personally thank everyone who has fed into our system’s Quality Strategy so far. We still have more work to do to ensure that the way we measure impact of the strategy reflects patient and staff voices and what matters most to people living and working in Norfolk and Waveney. This will also include collaborative work with the local authorities to develop shared metrics around social care quality and Flourish outcomes for children, young people and families.
As we move forward with delivering the strategy, across the system, there will be lots of opportunities for people to get involved and be part of quality improvement; your experiences, skills and knowledge is what brings the plan to life and takes it forward into action.
I also want to highlight the success we have seen from a 12-month ICS pilot initiative educating older adults and staff in residential homes about hydration and how this can help reduce Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and more serious infections.
The system was successful in applying to represent the East of England in a pilot from October 2022 in 8 Norfolk care homes. Staff and residents were introduced to the DrinKit toolkit which has been co-produced by UEA researchers and care home in Norfolk and Suffolk. It focusses on staff training, developing hydration champions in homes and making drinking more fun.
Data has shown that following the introduction of the toolkit hydration practices have improved and staff have a better understanding of the links between dehydration, UTIs and falls and there were improvements in the wellbeing of staff and residents. We continue to look at the data for other areas of the pilot but funding has been secured for a second phase into the early months of this year.
Finally, you may have heard that flu cases continue to be high in our community which can make managing the flow of patients around our hospitals and healthcare settings a bit trickier. Flu vaccinations are available until 31 March from your local pharmacy or GP practice so please do get this protection if you haven’t already.
When it comes to infection prevention and control the basics such as good hand and respiratory hygiene remain important. Please do liaise with your organisation’s Infection Prevention and Control Lead if you have any questions.
If you have a topic you’d like to discuss with me or address in my blogs, please do email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Director of Nursing
NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System