Welcome from the chief executive and chair

Even before Covid-19, we knew this first year as a merged trust serving the whole of the Black Country would have its challenges. But thanks to the commitment and determination of our brilliant staff, we have been able to continue to deliver services and help those most in need.

Sadly, like so many families, we have lost dear friends to this awful disease. We will

never forget their dedication. They will always be in our hearts, part of our family, and we remember them here.

• Support time recovery worker, Dawn Marshall

• Nurse, Thembinkosi Ngwenya

• Dr Kingumbu Kasanzi

When we came together as Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, we had

three goals. We wanted to deliver a consistently high quality service, giving fair and equitable access to our services regardless of where people live.

We wanted to give a greater voice and influence to mental health and wellbeing, including the challenges facing children, young people and their families, as well as those who need support with learning difficulties and autism.

And we wanted to improve the experience and outcomes for everyone using our services.

We wanted to build the strongest foundation for the future, so we can adapt and respond to the changing needs of our communities.

In this, our first year in operation as Black Country Healthcare, we have of course spent the whole year managing the pandemic, from adapting services so they could be delivered safely to ensuring staff received additional support should they need it.

While the pandemic has impacted on some of our ‘business as usual’ engagement work, it has also brought unprecedented opportunities to work in new ways with our local partners, both statutory and third sector, to share expertise, effort and resources. We have developed relationships with partners at a pace which may not otherwise have been possible, working together to meet the needs of the diverse neighbourhoods across the Black Country.

And at Black Country Healthcare we see diversity as one of our greatest strengths. Our staff reflect the communities we serve, and because they come from those communities they understand their needs, meaning they can deliver the services those communities need in the best way for everyone we serve.

We are pleased that in our first year we not only maintained our services in the face of the pandemic but also made significant progress in building a united organisation to deliver better for all our communities.

Mark Axcell, Chief Executive

Jeremy Vanes, Chair

Who we are and what we do

Across the four boroughs of the Black Country we provide:

  • Adult and older adult mental health services
  • Specialist learning disability services
  • Mental health services for children and young people

We also provide community healthcare services for children, young people and families in Dudley.

Number of staff: 3532

Temporary staff: 753

Hospitals: 7

Beds: 360

Community sites: 58

We serve a community of 1.2million

Annual turnover £211million

CQC overall rating: Good


Our highlights of the year

  • In April, we launched a new mental health helpline offering support, advice and signposting to people 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Over the spring and summer, we began a programme of engagement seeking  the views of our staff, patients, carers and stakeholders around our clinical vision and strategy and service transformation ambitions.
  • We launched the ‘ease the load’ campaign with a powerful film urging people to get help early if they were experiencing some of the more common mental health problems, alongside a series of four ‘coping with’ webinars focusing on sleeplessness, working from home, stress and anxiety and keeping well in winter.
  • In learning disability services (LD), we’ve made great progress in the Transforming Care agenda, and in October we welcomed commissioning colleagues to the trust, working alongside front-line services to improve care for those with learning disabilities.
  • Our children, young people and family services (CYPF) have been developing their offer and expanding their parent workshops, aiming to give children the best start in life.
  • In December, we started our programme of Covid-19 vaccination for staff, which is continuing to make excellent progress.
  • Our digital capability across the trust has grown throughout the year, with more staff supported to work remotely where appropriate and the development of our website and intranet.
  • In December we reached an important milestone with the rollout of our electronic patient record system Rio, improving how we manage patient data and supporting our clinicians to deliver high quality care.
  • Our staff - so vital to our success - continue to score us highly in the NHS staff survey, with Black Country Healthcare performing well in the sector and scoring top marks in our region in a number of areas.

Our strategic priorities for 2021/22

Adult mental health

  • Reduce out-of-area placements
  • Strengthen crisis services
  • Develop infrastructure to support mental health patients in their community

Older adults

  • New wards for Bloxwich and Edward Street Hospitals to eliminate dormitories
  • Review of therapy delivery standards
  • Review of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) provision

Learning disabilities and children, young people and families

  • Redevelop Penrose Hospital to support recovery and independence of learning disability patients
  • Review Gerry Simon and Larches facilities in the context of transforming care partnership
  • Build on the success of our children and young people keyworker pilot,
  • providing more support to children and families in navigating services and avoiding hospital admissions
  • Expand adult intensive support services into mainstream mental health, helping to avoid hospital admissions
  • New specifications to support consistent delivery of children’s and young people’s crisis services and eating disorder services

Our strategic priorities

  • Transformation of community mental health services
  • Eradication of dormitory wards
  • Staff health and wellbeing
  • Deliver year 1 of our new clinical and people strategies
  • Continue our journey to become an anti-racist organisation
  • Continue transformation to achieve improved health and care for learning disabilities and autism
  • Develop and implement our new estates and digital strategies
  • Continue to develop and integrate services for children, young people and families with partners in Dudley
  • Launch our quality improvement programme
  • Expand service user and patient voices
  • Health inequalities development
  • Leadership development
  • Lead provider and provider collaborative development
  • Inpatient services transformation
  • Developing our clinical divisions

The year ahead

Improving patient experience remains a priority for the trust. We aim to achieve this through co-production with our communities, our partners and our workforce, to maximise both

the impact and the use of our resources. We will collaborate with voluntary and community partners, as well as NHS primary care networks, to provide the best possible service and tackle inequalities in mental health, learning disabilities and autism.

At all times we will hold learning at the heart of our approach; to continuously improve by embedding research and innovation and developing a culture of quality improvement across the entire trust.

Keep in touch

We want to hear from you; if you have any feedback on our annual report, our plans for the future or our services you can give your feedback by emailing bchft.communications@nhs.net

If you require this document in another language or format such as large print, braille or easy read, contact our communications team on 01384 325015 or email bchft.communications@nhs.net.

To obtain a full copy of our Annual Report and Accounts, please visit blackcountryhealthcare.nhs.uk or email bchft.communications@nhs.net.

Join our team

We work with many different organisations and communities across the Black Country. Find out how we could work with you. Get in touch with our engagement team at bchft.communications@nhs.net.

We’re always looking for great new people to join our team. If you’re looking for a new job where you can really make a difference, check out our latest vacancies at www.blackcountryhealthcare.nhs.uk/working-for-us.

Or maybe you’re interested in becoming a governor or a member of the trust? Our members and governors represent the people who use our services and the communities we serve. Find out more at www.blackcountryhealthcare.nhs.uk/about-us/membership.