Photo: Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer (centre) and Lisa Llewelyn, Director of Nursing from North East Essex CCG, with members of the hospice team
Last Friday the team from St Helena Hospice in Colchester were delighted to welcome England’s Chief Nursing Officer, Ruth May, on an official visit. Ruth met some of the people staying in the hospice who were pleased to be able to share their positive experiences of the care they receive from the team. St Helena’s Hospice helps local people facing incurable illness and support children and adults facing bereavement.
Lisa Llewelyn, Director of Nursing from North East Essex CCG, was also in attendance for the visit, demonstrating how St Helena is working as a key partner of the local Alliance with health and social care.
Plans for development discussed
Plans for extension and refurbishment of the hospice were discussed. Jo Tonkin, Director of Care and Caldicott Guardian, reports that it was helpful to understand Ruth’s perspective as National Director responsible for infection prevention and control, on how their plans for development can have a Hospice feel but maintain compliance with infection prevention and control standards and be advanced enough to support the complex needs of their patients.
Ruth also spent time with the nursing team from the SinglePoint and Hospice in the Home service, hearing about how the 24/7 call centre and rapid response service supports patients and families in their homes and the community.
Ruth said: “I’m delighted to be here today in Colchester, my home town, looking at and celebrating the work this Hospice does for the local residents. I’ve had a friend who died here several years ago and he and his family had great care, sensitive and compassionate care. Clearly this place has a lot of history and as a local resident I’m delighted to be associated with St Helena.”
Throughout the visit, Ruth conveyed her passion for nurturing the next generation of NHS nursing, midwifery and allied health professions (AHP) leaders, encouraging professional development opportunities and working across the health system to put in place the optimal cultural conditions for all NHS employees to thrive. She spoke of her plans to support the increase in the number of student nurses in training in universities and clinical placements in a variety of settings.
Improved mental health awareness
Advocating for improved mental health awareness in the workplace was also discussed and the hospice team were proud to introduce her their mental health first aider and inform her of their new freedom to speak up guardian role.
Ruth was also impressed to hear about the vast range of volunteer roles within St Helena who support the frontline workforce and, without whom, the hospice wouldn’t be able to reach so many within their local community.