Due to current concerns in regards to rising cases of Covid-19 in some boroughs of the Black Country and also in line with updated Government guidance and the delay in easing some lockdown measures, we have made the decision to cancel plans to reinstate visiting from 3 August across all of our inpatient sites.

We haven’t made this decision lightly, and we understand that it will be upsetting to both our patients and their friends and families, but it is a necessary step to take in order to keep everyone safe.

We continue to provide digital methods to support communication between patients and their loved ones and patients and all wards have access to these options.

We will review our visiting guidelines regularly and provide any updates as soon as we are able to.

 

We hope that you have found the digital ways of keeping in touch with patients useful during the last few months, all of our inpatient wards still have access to these methods and where possible you should continue communicating with your loved ones in this way, however, from Monday 3 August, friends and relatives will be able to see patients face to face, by appointment only.

 

Visiting will look a bit different to what you might be used to – days and times will vary dependent on the wards you friend or relative is on and we have put a number of measures in place to ensure the safety of you, our patients and our staff. These will be clearly explained to you when you book an appointment to visit.

 

You will be asked to wash your hands on entering and exiting the ward and you will be required to wear a face mask whilst on the hospital site – failure to comply with these requests may result in your visit being cancelled.

 

All visits must be pre-booked to enable the ward to manage numbers and ensure adherence to social distancing guidelines. Please note that if you turn up at the ward without an appointment you will be unable to visit your friend or relative.

To arrange a visit please contact the relevant ward directly:

 

Penn Hospital – Wolverhampton

Dale – 01902 445885
Brook – 01902 445925

 

Bushey Fields Hospital – Dudley

Clee- 01384 325086

Clent- 01384 325091

Wrekin- 01384 325088

Malvern and Holyrood- 01384 324603

 

Dorothy Pattison Hospital – Walsall

Langdale- 01922 608205

Ambleside- 01922 607053

 

Hallam Street Hospital – Sandwell

Abbey 0121 612 8669

Charlemont 0121 612 8673

Friar 0121 612 8664

 

Edward Street Hospital – Sandwell

Chance – 0121 612 8220
Salter – 0121 612 8250

 

Heath Lane Hospital – Sandwell

Macarthur - 0121 612 8530
Gerry Simon - 0121 612 8408

In view of the COVID19 outbreak, members of the public are invited to attend the Trust's Virtual Public Meeting. If you would like to accept this invitation, please click on the link here to access the meeting. If you have any queries, please contact Natalie Grainger at natalie.grainger@nhs.net.

Members of the public and press are also encouraged to submit questions on the public agenda attached by 28 July 2020 to the Trust’s Company Secretary Gilbert George at gilbert.george5@nhs.net.

Questions linked to the agenda will be read out at the public board unless a request has been received not to do so.

In view of the COVID-19 outbreak, members of the public are invited to attend the Trust's Virtual Assembly of Governors Meeting. If you would like to accept this invitation, please contact Natalie Grainger at natalie.grainger@nhs.net providing your email address and contact number.

Members of the public and press are also encouraged to submit questions on the public agenda by 20th July to the Trust’s Company Secretary Gilbert George at gilbert.george5@nhs.net.

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHFT) has made two new appointments to its senior team.

Dean Howells will join the Trust as Chief Nurse and Georgina Dean joins as Chief Finance Officer.

With a long career in healthcare, Dean has worked across the NHS, independent and charity healthcare sectors, and is currently Executive Director of Nursing and Quality at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. Appointed a Queen’s Nurse in 2014, in recognition for his commitment to high standards of practice and patient-centred care, Dean has a passion for developing a compassionate and caring culture. Dean is also Honorary Professor at the school of Health and Education, Middlesex University London.

Dean commented “I am delighted to be joining the Trust at such an exciting time for Black Country services. I am very much looking forward to working in very close partnership with service users, carers and all staff teams in further developing a supportive and compassionate culture which continually improves the delivery of great personalised care and clinical outcomes.”

In the interim, Judy McDonald will become Chief Nurse when Rosie Musson retires after over 35 years of service within the NHS at the end of July.

Georgina Dean joins the Trust from NHS England/Improvement where she was Director of Operational Finance for the Midlands region. She has previously held senior finance positions at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Georgina commented “I am really pleased to be joining the board of Black Country Healthcare as Chief Finance Officer. I look forward to getting to know the organisation and in particular meeting with staff, service users, carers and families. I am excited to support the newly merged organisation, and although Covid-19 has brought many challenges, it has also brought many opportunities which I want to build on whilst continuing to improve services for our communities.

Mark Axcell, Chief Executive said “We are delighted to make these key appointments and they both bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and will make great additions to our executive team.

“This is an exciting time for our newly merged Trust and indeed the development of mental health, learning disability and family healthcare services across the region. We look forward to giving them a warm Black Country welcome.”

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is going above and beyond to help dementia patients reminisce and remember their loved ones during these difficult times.

Activity Co-ordinator and NHS Hero Jayne Burns is one of the many staff members who has gone the extra mile for her patients on Linden Ward at Bloxwich Hospital in Walsall.

Helping to give patients the best experience possible, Jayne and her colleagues make sure each individual patient receives a ‘This is Your Life’ book on admission to hospital. This memory book helps to stimulate patients’ memories and help them to reconnect with their loved ones by looking at photographs and keepsakes from their childhood to the present day.

Unfortunately, not all patients have family or friends close by which has been even more isolating for some patients during this pandemic; one of those patients being someone who moved from Jamaica to England all by himself when he was just 17 years old.

He had no photographs or notes he could look back on and so with an empty book, Jayne took the time to write to the Jamaican High Commission in London in the attempt to retrieve some items for his memory book which he would take with him on his journey outside of hospital.

Unsure if she would hear back due to the Coronavirus outbreak, to Jayne’s surprise she received a number of mementos and merchandise in the post. The Jamaican High Commission sent a number of items such as the Jamaican flag, books and photographs along with copies of the national anthem and popular songs to help populate the empty book.  

Jayne said: “Sometimes you have to just think outside the box, if patients don’t have family members or friends, it’s important to look a bit further because it really does make all the difference.”

In view of the COVID-19 outbreak, members of the public are invited to attend the Trust's Virtual Public Meeting.

If you would like to accept this invitation, please contact Natalie Grainger at natalie.grainger@nhs.net providing your email address and contact number. Members of the public and press are also encouraged to submit questions on the public agenda by 23rd June 2020 to the Trust’s Company Secretary Gilbert George at gilbert.george5@nhs.net.

Questions linked to the agenda will be read out at the public board unless a request has been received not to do so.

Members of the public are being invited to stand for election and make a difference as an active member of our Trust’s Assembly of Governors.

 

Governors play a vital role in influencing the future plans of the Trust, including how we can improve the quality of services for our staff and patients. It’s also about having a voice and representing the views and interests of local people.

 

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Chair, Jeremy Vanes, said: "This is the first time that we will be running governor elections as Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. It is an exciting time to join our Assembly of Governors and we would encourage anyone that is passionate about being an advocate for what matters the most to people of the Black Country, with regards to mental health, learning disability and children’s services, to put themselves forward.

"If you live within the Black Country, are aged 16 years or over and have an interest in mental health, learning disabilities and children’s services, why not apply to become a governor and help make a difference today!"

 

Whilst the role of the governor is a voluntary one, the Trust will support, and train those people interested in becoming a governor, to give them the confidence, and skills as well as the right knowledge, to enable them to take on this important role within the Trust.

 

If you are interested in becoming a governor you will need to be a member of Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Becoming a member is free and easy to do. All you need to do is go online at https://secure.membra.co.uk/BlackCountryHealthcareApplicationForm/  and complete a membership application form.

 

If you are already a member and would like to become a governor you will need to submit your application form online via www.cesvotes.com/blackcountry2020 . If you require any assistance in completing your application, please contact Ciara Hutchinson at Civica Election Services on 0208 889 9203 or email ftnominationenquiries@cesvotes.com  

 

Nominations close 5pm, Monday 6 July 2020.

To find out more about being a governor contact the Trust’s Membership Office on 0121 612 8061, email bchft.membership@nhs.net

Communication and staying connected during lockdown has been challenging for some, especially between our patients and services, however our Dudley Learning Disability Speech and Language Therapy team have embraced virtual conferencing and introduced Telehealth sessions for their clients! 

 

The team have been introducing new, innovative ways to carry out therapy sessions with some of their clients with learning disabilities who use communication books.

 

They have been carrying out sessions with them and their carers and have used social chat, games and activities through video calls to encourage their clients to use their communication books. They have also been able to use the screen share facility to demonstrate how to use the book for carers so that they have been able to build their confidence too.

 

Carers have fed back that the sessions have not only be useful for practicing using clients communication books but have also given the clients something to look forward to as they have had an opportunity for some social interaction and to have some fun!

 

Well done team! 

Today mark's Learning Disability Awareness Week and we are encouraging learning disability carers and healthcare workers to consider their mental health and address their wellbeing.

We are encouraging individuals who care for someone with a learning disability, be that in a clinical setting or in their homes, to join a two-part virtual workshop hosted by clinical psychologists on topics around supporting their wellbeing during the Coronavirus pandemic, from exploring the difficulties and challenges they may have experienced whilst caring for someone during lockdown, to the importance of maintaining self-care at work and at home.

 

The sessions, which take place on Tuesday 16 June, 10am and Thursday 18 June, 10am via Zoom, will last for 30 minutes each, and will also allow time for any individuals to ask any questions they might have.

 

Scott Humphries, Deputy Director for Learning Disabilities at BCHFT said: “Whilst our frontline workers have been vital during this lockdown period, carers and healthcare workers, especially those looking after individuals with learning disabilities can often be overlooked, overworked and feel more isolated during this pandemic.

“We hope that by discussing the adversities that they may have experienced during these challenging times, from stress, anxiety and fatigue, we can look into how to support them further post lockdown and Covid-19.”

 

Throughout the week, the Trust will also be sharing a variety of learning disability roles currently on offer, empowering learning disability stories and helpful, educational resources that carers can access and download via their social media channels and website.

 

Details of the virtual workshop are as follows:

10% of all sites open to Covid-19 studies in England are in the West Midlands.

Could you help contribute to scientific knowledge of the virus? Check for studies you may be able to take part in, whether you have had coronavirus or not, at www.bepartofresearch.nihr.ac.uk.

Recruitment update for Covid-19 can be found by clicking here.

Public Health England (PHE) has advised of a potential scam involving a text message being sent to some women claiming to be from the NHS Cervical Screening Programme “Call and Recall” service.

The text message advises that the recipient is overdue for their cervical screening test (smear test) and to call a mobile number to book an appointment and provide personal details. 

These text messages are NOT from the NHS cervical screening programme, please DO NOT disclose any personal information should you receive this message.

This has been reported to the Action Fraud Line.

For more information on cervical screening, please visit the NHS website.

In view of the COVID19 outbreak, members of the public are invited to attend the Trust's Virtual Public Meeting. If you would like to accept this invitation, please contact Natalie Grainger at natalie.grainger@nhs.net providing your email address and contract number.

Members of the public and press are also encouraged to submit questions on the public agenda by 26 May to the Trust’s Company Secretary Gilbert George at gilbert.george5@nhs.net.

Questions linked to the agenda will be read out at the public board unless a request has been received not to do so.

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is stepping up to support colleagues across the health and social care system in dealing with coronavirus.

A bespoke package has been developed by the trust offering hospital and community NHS staff, council workers and care home staff across the Black Country psychological support.

Trained mental health professionals are on hand to speak with workers should they need help in managing their wellbeing during these challenging times. The package also includes access to online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helping with a range of concerns including stress, anxiety and resilience.

Alongside the offer for health and social care workers, the trust has recently launched a new phone line to support people experiencing mental health crisis.

Available to residents of all ages across the Black Country, the phone line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 0345 6460827.

Ashi Williams, Director of People, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “We know in the current climate that people across the health and social care system are coming under increasing amounts of pressure, which can affect their mental health. As a system partner we wanted to do our bit which is why we developed this package of support.

“Now more than ever it is really important for people to look after their wellbeing and we want to make sure that help is available should people need it.”

Thembi.jpgMark Axcell, Chief Executive of Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of our colleagues, Thembinkosi Ngwenya (48) who passed away in hospital from Covid-19.

“Known to his colleagues at Thembi, he was a highly respected and hugely popular mental health nurse. After qualifying in May 2018, Thembi joined the organisation in October 2018 and worked as a nurse on both Friar Ward and Abbey Ward at Hallam Street Hospital in West Bromwich.

“He was an incredibly dedicated nurse; full of kindness, compassion and understanding towards the patients he worked with and will be truly missed by all his colleagues.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Thembi’s family and our thoughts are with them and all who knew and loved him at this difficult time.”

Thembi was a devoted husband and father to his two sons. His wife said: “Thembi was an incredible person and we are devastated by his passing. He was a loving husband and wonderful father to our two boys, and was passionate about his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“He was so proud when he completed his training in 2018 and secured a job as a mental health nurse. He loved his work and was incredibly dedicated to the patients that he looked after.

“We would like to pay tribute to the staff at Russells Hall Hospital who cared for Thembi during his illness.”

We would ask that you respect the family’s wish for privacy at this difficult time, as they start to come to terms with the terrible loss.

At Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, our staff are working tirelessly to provide mental health, learning disability and children’s services to communities across the whole Black Country.

It would be amazing if we could show them just how appreciated and important they are in this fight against Covid-19, and we are hoping you could help us!

We’d be so grateful for any artwork such as drawings, paintings, letters, poems, or any messages of thanks/support that we could display at our sites.

These can be sent to bchft.communications@nhs.net or:

Membership

FREEPOST RRRG - BTCC - UKSE

Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Delta House

Greets Green Road

West Bromwich

B70 9PL

They would really lift the spirits of our staff who are working so hard in these challenging times - thank you!

People across the Black Country now have access to urgent mental health, learning disability and/or autism support following the launch of a new helpline from Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The phone line, which is open to residents of all ages across the Black Country, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Particularly suited to those who feel like they need urgent help, the helpline is manned by specialist mental health staff, who will provide advice, support and signposting over the phone.

Alongside the phone line, the trust is encouraging people to get support through the Healthy Minds / Talking Therapy services which offer psychological therapy services for people experiencing common problems such as low mood, depression, anxiety and stress.

Chris Masikane, Chief Operating Officer said: “We are delighted to launch the new 24/7 phone line, which we hope will provide advice and support to those who need it urgently.

“We know that many people are experiencing increased distress or anxiety during these uncertain times. I would urge you to pick up the phone and speak to one of our specialist mental health professionals who will be able to support you.”

All of the trusts other services are still in operation and are encouraging any current service users to maintain their usual route of contact.

People can access the 24/7 phone line by calling 0345 6460827.

For Healthy Minds / IAPT services:

Free online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programmes are available via:

Following the recent COVID19 situation and subsequent government directives, our Trust Board will be invoking s28.1 of its constitution and excluding members of the public from attending the Trust Board public meeting scheduled for 29th April 2020 and other public meetings until further notice.

s28.1 Meetings of the Board of Directors shall be open to members of the public. Members of the public may be excluded from a meeting for special reasons.

Members of the public will be able to download Trust Board papers here and submit any questions or queries on them to Gilbert George, Company Secretary at gilbert.george5@nhs.net .

Questions for the Trust Board public meeting on the 29th April, must be received by the 27th April. Questions and responses will be read out in the public meeting unless otherwise requested not to. 

Former DWMH medical director and CAMHS consultant psychiatrist Dr Kate Gingell has returned to support patients on the frontline in response to Covid-19.

Dr Gingell, who retired from Dudley and Walsall Mental Health (DWMH) Partnership NHS Trust in July 2019, has re-joined the newly merged Black Country Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

The Dudley CAMHS team has welcomed Dr Gingell back with open arms especially during this difficult time.

Chief Executive Mark Axcell said, “It is wonderful to see the dedication and commitment from Dr Gingell who has returned from retirement to help us battle Covid-19.

“We are so appreciative of former colleauges who are taking this opportunity to help and support our staff, patients and the community across the Black Country at this time.”

 

Dawn.jpgWe are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of our colleagues, Dawn Marshall who passed away recently from complications caused by Covid-19.

Dawn has been a valued member of our organisation for almost 10 years, working at Hallam Street Hospital, McCarthur Unit and more recently as a Support Time Recovery Worker based at Quayside House in Oldbury.

She was always very helpful and supportive to her colleagues and was able to build a real rapport with the service users she worked with. She had an incredible bubbly character and was always breaking out in song.

Whenever Dawn took time to reflect on her career within the NHS, she always said that making sure her patients knew there was a life to live beyond their mental health was her priority.

 She will be sorely missed but fondly remembered by all who knew her.

We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Dawn’s family and our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.

 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are ensuring that the safety of our staff, patients and carers is our number one priority, meaning that those who require our services have continued access.

There may, however, be some disruption to our supporting services. Our staff will continue to provide help and suport in line with national guidance, and we advise that you protect yourselves and those around you by also following NHS advice which can be found here.

If you have any queries regarding appointments, please use the contact details that have been provided to you previously, as they are specific to the service you use.

Although the NHS is experiencing additional pressures during this time, we want to assure you that your care is highly important to us, as well as the need for those who use our services to remain informed and connected at all times. If you have any concerns or questions, please make sure to get in touch.

You can read a letter from Chief Executive Mark Axcell addressed to patients and carers here, as well as an easy read version.

We are currently looking for people to join our staff bank, to support our estates and facilities team.

There are a number of opportunities available across our Trust sites in Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell and Wolverhampton - if you or someone you know is interested in this opportunity, please email bcpft.bankhelpdesk@nhs.net with an expression of interest, also indicating the area in which you would prefer to be based, and whether you are able to travel.

The only requirement is some experience in either housekeeping/cleaning or catering, and roles are available to start as soon as possible.

NHS Regulators gave the green light for the planned merger of two NHS trusts in the Black Country.

On 1 April, staff and services from Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership transferred over to Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to form one NHS trust – known as Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

This development means that there is one main NHS provider for mental health, learning disability and children’s healthcare services across the Black Country.

Mark Axcell, Chief Executive of both trusts commented “We are delighted that our plans were approved and have joined together.”

“Whilst 1 April signified an important milestone for us, our focus at the moment is ensuring we are doing all we can to provide safe care and supporting our health colleagues across the system in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both trusts were recently rated ‘Good’ in their most recent CQC inspections and have seen improving staff survey results. This development has only strengthened that work and has helped us to forge future plans around strengthening local mental health and learning disability provision.

 

Following the recent COVID19 situation and subsequent government directives, our Trust Board will be invoking s28.1 of its constitution and excluding members of the public from attending the Trust Board public meetings until further notice.

s28.1 Meetings of the Board of Directors shall be open to members of the public. Members of the public may be excluded from a meeting for special reasons.

Members of the public will be able to download and view Trust Board papers by clicking here and submit any questions or queries on them to Gilbert George, Company Secretary at gilbert.george5@nhs.net.

A strong desire to help others has led Stevie Chand, (27) from Dudley, into a career working in the healthcare profession.

He currently works as a vocational specialist for Dudley and Walsall Mental Health NHS Partnership Trust (DWMH), which sees him supporting people with mental health conditions, physical health concerns or long term conditions gain sustainable employment. 

“Ever since a young age, I have enjoyed working with others,” explained Stevie.

“Prior to joining DWMH two years ago, I worked in a drug and alcohol recovery service, before moving on to support people who had HIV/Aids. What really struck me in this role was the affect that these issues could have on a person’s mental health – which ignited a passion within me to work more closely with a mental health service."

Stevie thoroughly enjoys his role, which sees him spend a lot of his time working in the community to support his clients on their employment journey.

“My days are mostly spent meeting with my clients and supporting them with things such as CV building or preparing for interviews. I meet them wherever they feel safe and comfortable to meet me – this could be GP surgeries, libraries or their own home.

“A part of my role also involves supporting my clients once they have found work, so I often meet them before or after their shifts.

“The job is incredibly rewarding – to know that I am reaching out to someone who might be feeling really down on their self and then to see them flourish and start to develop some self-belief brings a smile to my face each and every day.”

During February, we celebrate LGBT+ History Month, something which is particularly close to Stevie’s heart.

“I was first attracted to work for the Trust as I knew they were a Stonewall employer – and I have been incredibly impressed with the work they do to promote equality. I am a member of the LGBTQ+ staff network and feel incredibly supported to be able to bring my whole-self to work.”

Outside of work, Stevie has a passion for fashion!

“I can often be found around a sewing machine or deep in a fashion magazine,” laughed Stevie!

“I also enjoy going to the gym and travelling.”

Stevie says that his next big challenge is to go to university to do a clinical degree: “I’d love to get more involved in the clinical side of mental health.”

So who is Stevie’s own hero?

“My mom and my grandma – they are both the strongest and kindest women I know. They have always allowed me to be my most authentic self and to be unapologetically me. Throughout my life they have taught me the importance of being a shoulder to cry on for somebody who needs it.”

Stevie’s mental health message: “Talk – I know everyone can get lost in work, raising little ones and general life, but having a moment to talk to someone about how you feel is the most important thing you can do for your mental health.”