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Trust recognised for pastoral care of staff

On Tuesday, 5 December, the NHS marks Care Certificate Celebration Day. For the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT), there is added cause for celebration with national recognition for the pastoral care the Trust provides to healthcare support workers (HCSWs).

Healthcare support workers work across the NHS in more than 30 roles, including nursing and therapy. They are supported at the WSFT to complete the care certificate, an identified set of standards that health and care professionals adhere to in their daily working life.

The WSFT took part in the pilot NHS England Pastoral Care Quality Award for support workers, and the Trust was awarded gold.

In a letter confirming the award, Dame Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “Congratulations on your achievement. To achieve the award, you successfully met a set of standards and demonstrated best practice pastoral care for support workers, including recruitment and induction; in-role support; ongoing learning and development; valuing staff and recognition.

“This achievement is testament to WSFT’s commitment to retaining staff and supporting them at every stage of recruitment and beyond. You demonstrated an approach to pastoral care which recognises and values the vital contribution of support workers to the care of our patients.”

The letter continued: “Effective pastoral care continues to be a key priority across the NHS and plays an important part in the experience of our support workers. The pilot, including valuable feedback received from participating trusts, will be used to inform potential future pastoral care initiatives which local system and providers may wish to introduce. Once again, I would like to thank you for participation in the pilot and for your ongoing work and commitment to providing excellent pastoral care for support workers.”

Louisa White, senior nursing workforce manager, part of the team at NHS East of England leading on HCSW recruitment, retention and development, presented the award to the WSFT clinical education team. She said: “Eleven trusts took part in this pilot, and only two were awarded gold. As a former staff member here, I am delighted that WSFT was one of them. It is a great achievement and a testament to the care and support the team provides to its HCSWs.”

Care Certificate Celebration Day was created to celebrate the care certificate and the support workers who have worked hard to achieve it. The certificate is used by health and care organisations all over the country and is designed to give everyone the confidence that health and care professionals have the same introductory skills, knowledge, and behaviours to provide compassionate, safe, and high-quality care and support.

Sue Wilkinson, executive chief nurse at WSFT, said: “The care our healthcare support workers deliver to our patients and service users is absolutely essential. They offer unique high quality care across all clinical areas within the Trust and are an integral part of our workforce. Our education teams have worked incredibly hard to ensure that there is bespoke support for all our healthcare support workers, and this has been recognised in the acquisition of our gold pastoral support quality award.”

The Trust’s integrated therapies service manager Annemie Waaning said: “The support workers in the acute and community teams in integrated therapies are the backbone of our department: they work across traditional boundaries and bring a wealth of skill, experience, and passion for patient care. We get amazing patient feedback about our support workers on a regular basis, and we are super proud of them: how wonderful to have a day to celebrate them and thank them for everything they do for patients and colleagues.”

Dan Spooner, deputy chief nurse, at WSFT said: “Healthcare support workers are an essential part of the nursing team. Out of all our roles they spend the most amount of time at the bedside of our patients. Because of this, they may be the first to spot signs of deterioration and improvement and they support the essential delivery of care planning in support of the nursing teams. Without the HCSW role, nursing teams would not be as safe or effective in supporting patient care within our organisation. The care that a HCSW delivers can make a huge impact on our patients experience which is why we should all champion and value this role and the amazing staff that do it so well.”

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