Published on: 25 January 2019

Kevin McGee.jpgHello readers, happy Friday and welcome to this week’s blog.

Like millions of others, I have been enjoying the latest series of ‘Hospital’ on BBC2. I was captivated by the stories on last night’s programme which focussed on the amazing services provided by Liverpool Womens Hospital. You cannot watch a programme about the NHS and the people concerned in it – both patients and staff – without a huge swell of pride, and a lump in your throat, (especially where babies are involved). Last night was no exception.

The programme also highlighted the recruitment difficulties faced by that Trust being a stand-alone hospital for women and babies as opposed to being part of or close to a bigger, acute service.  It was a really interesting, moving programme (‘well done’ to our colleagues in the Liverpool Women’s) and reminded me how lucky we are here in Pennine Lancashire to have our superb, award-winning women’s services, which of course, are located on the Burnley General Teaching Hospital site, as well as throughout the community.

Speaking of women’s services, this week 22 – 29 January – is Cervical Cancer Awareness Week. It’s been great to see this issue highlighted and to support the local campaign to encourage women to have regular smear tests, and participate in cervical cancer screening.

The point of screening is to prevent cancer by identifying abnormal cells early, or to identify cancer early enough to enable treatment.  Screening works and I’d urge all eligible women to have their smear test.  One of our midwives, Sarah Johnson tells us how she survived cancer thanks to an early diagnosis here.

Of course, screening for disease is only one form of prevention – there are many other ways of promoting good health and preventing disease.  Good public health and the prevention of illness and disease has never been more important. I am really pleased that the Pennine Plan commits organisations to work together in an integrated way to provide the best possible support and services for our community, wherever possible in their neighbourhoods. This Pennine Plan fits well with the recently published Long Term Plan for the NHS.  Both acknowledge that we all, as individuals, have a responsibility to do our bit and avoid risky behaviour and make healthy choices – especially on behalf of children. You can see the Pennine Plan and more information on the integrated health and care partnership ‘Together a Healthier Future’ here.

I am delighted that as an employer, our focus on staff health and wellbeing continues. This also contributes to the prevention of poor health. We do genuinely care about our staff and we are serious about our aspirations to be the employer of choice, where the best people available want to come and work here (joining our already fabulous workforce). Did you know we have over 300 trained mental health first aiders? We provide smoking support for patients and staff; there is a gym, an occupation health team; fast physio and access to counselling.  We also ensure access to healthy food choices in our restaurants. I am confident we are doing our bit, but we will continue to do even more.  Please take advantage of the support that’s available. You matter!

Finally, as it’s Burns’ Night – a special shout out to all our staff who are Scottish or of Scottish heritage – enjoy those neeps and tatties!

Have a great weekend everyone, until next time…..