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You can teach an old NHS new tricks

As you know, our NHS is 70 years old. But, as I’m sure you’ll agree, age is nothing but a number. Keeping active and doing new things helps you to stay young, and the NHS is doing this all over the country.

Currently our Trust is also defying its 45 years; we’ve recently launched a spate of new, innovative services with further initiatives on the horizon.

This is part of the reason I’m so proud of our outstanding staff and their outlook on life here at the Trust; they’re motivated to look for opportunities to improve and do more for patients. They don’t do what is easy, they do what is best.

A great example of this is our investment in a brand new cardiac centre which opened to patients this week. It’s taken nearly two years to build the new lower-ground floor unit at the West Suffolk Hospital, but it has been in discussion for many more. Both our cardiology ward and cardiac care unit are now located together, and use of a new state-of-the-art catheterisation lab has started this week.

Previously we were only able to offer angiograms once a week, on a mobile unit that visited the hospital car park. Now the new lab will enable us to carry out a combination of diagnostic angiograms and pacemaker procedures five days a week, meaning better care and reduced waiting times for patients and reduced pressure on other centres we often refer patients to.

The diagnostics unit, which the Trust’s My WiSH Charity has been hard at work fundraising for through its Every Heart Matters appeal, has also moved to the centre, meaning  we can provide an integrated, improved offer of cardiac care for the west Suffolk community in one location. An incredible £445,014 has so far been raised through the appeal. Thank you if you have supported this in any way, for those of you up for setting yourself a challenge then please consider doing it for Every Heart Matters to help the charity reach its £500,000 target. We’ll be sure to tell you more about the centre over the coming months.

Developing new services and facilities like this are a huge undertaking. Many members of staff are involved in various stages and their sheer dedication and determination to succeed are a real credit to them.

Our fantastic midwifery service has also been busy innovating. The team felt there was sometimes a need for new parents to discuss their birth experience after the initial weeks of having a baby. As such, they have launched Birth Reflections, a confidential service where parents can return to the hospital, ask questions, and even go through their clinical notes. This is personal, holistic care which goes the extra mile and supports the mental wellbeing of our new parents. We don’t have to do it, but we want to.

It’s not just our staff who do their bit for new services, we’re regularly inspired by our local community too. The wonderful Mrs Betty McLatchy, former councillor and mayor of Haverhill was the motivation behind opening up an ultrasound clinic in the town recently. She spearheaded £20,000 of community fundraising, which helped to purchase a £65,000 high-end ultrasound machine, allowing an ultrasound clinic to take place in the town.

Being proactive, doing things differently or introducing new ways of working are hugely important in terms of making improvements.

If we don’t stay active, innovative and enthusiastic our NHS will start to feel 70 years old; and so will we.

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Chief executive, Steve Dunn

Chief executive, Steve Dunn