Official opening for state-of-the-art scanner at Hexham hospital

Hundreds of people each month are now having key scans at a rural Northumberland hospital, thanks to a state-of-the-art facility officially opened this week by the area’s MP.

On Friday (September 10), Guy Opperman MP unveiled a plaque at Hexham General Hospital to mark the MRI scanner, which represents the latest development in an important partnership between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and InHealth, a specialist diagnostic provider.

The state-of-the-art machine has actually been in operation for more than 18 months now, with the original plans for an opening ceremony put on hold due to the pandemic.

Since opening, the service, operating three days a week, is seeing around 300 patients every month for key diagnostic scans, including around 25 cardiac patients per month undergoing specialised scans and 15 arthrograms – high-tech imaging for musculoskeletal conditions.

The hospital serves a large rural hinterland in the west of Northumberland, meaning timely access to the latest world-class technology much closer to home for many, not just in Northumbria Healthcare’s catchment, but across a wider, fairly remote area with limited access to MRI facilities.

Dr Rahul Dharmadhikari, radiology consultant and director of the Clinical Support and Cancer Services Business Unit at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Patients undergoing these scans may be nervous both about the procedure itself and what the results mean for them and their loved ones, so it’s important that these diagnostic tests take place as quickly as possible.

By having this facility at Hexham, in addition to the three scanners at our other sites, it means that a large number of patients can now access this service much closer to home, which can help to make them feel more comfortable.

Quick and accurate diagnostic testing so that we can start the right treatment as soon as possible is crucial to us as clinicians in ensuring we provide our patients with the high-quality care that they expect from us at Northumbria, and which the Hexham radiology team have continued to deliver despite recent challenges.”

The scanner at Hexham, which replaced a previous mobile unit, represents the most recent step in a more-than-15-year partnership between Northumbria Healthcare and InHealth, which has seen scanners already installed at the Trust’s North Tyneside, Wansbeck and Northumbria hospitals.

The collaboration, which sees around 30,000 scans taking place each year, was recognised at the HSJ Partnership Awards in 2020, winning the Partnering for the Future category.

Geoff Searle, InHealth’s CEO, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to formally mark the opening of the MRI facility at Hexham, a £1.5million investment which is just the latest step in our long-standing and fruitful relationship with Northumbria Healthcare.

We hope that this partnership continues well into the future, with valuable collaboration and learning that ultimately improves patient care and our ability to make healthcare better, together.

I’d also like to say thank you to everyone involved in the creation and running of this unit, including the team of InHealth staff who manage the unit day-to-day, for all of their efforts, not least for navigating through the pandemic and continuing to provide patients with access to the care they need.”

Mr Opperman was given a tour in the company of InHealth and Northumbria Healthcare representatives to see the facility which has already and will continue to support many of his constituents.

“I am delighted to be opening Hexham Hospital’s new MRI scanner, which will be a great addition to our local hospital, and deliver quicker diagnostics outcomes for my constituents,”  he said. “I have always said I will fight for as many health services as possible to be delivered locally in Tynedale and this is a vote of confidence in our local hospital.”

The new facility has resulted in a greatly improved use of space, better patient flow, better staff facilities and a more joined-up approach to diagnostic imaging at Hexham.

The dedicated unit was created following the conversion of the existing records room and small offices, and now boasts a new shared reception desk, examination room, equipment room, control room, naturally-lit cannulation space with sub-wait and changing room, and an assisted toilet facility.

InHealth 2021 Staff Survey results shows engagement is on the up!

We are delighted to announce that InHealth’s 2021 Staff Survey shows an overall engagement score of 75%! This is an increase of 1% from last year, which is a great achievement, given the challenges we have all faced over the last 18 months.

Staff engagement is the extent to which people in an organisation feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organisation and put discretionary effort into their work. With that in mind, this increase is a great demonstration that there are many factors contributing positively to how staff feel about working for the InHealth Group.

For overall engagement, we saw the following results:

  • 93% of staff would recommend InHealth services
  • 92% know what is expected of them at work
  • 90% believe patient safety is a key priority at InHealth
  • 88% believe that InHealth has done a good job of maintaining services during the pandemic
  • 84% care about InHealth’s future
  • 78% say that working at InHealth makes them want to do the best work they can – 1% increase
  • 75% say that they feel proud to work for the InHealth Group – 2% increase
  • 70% would recommend InHealth Group as a good place to work – 2% increase
  • 69% would still like to be working at InHealth Group in 2 years’ time – 1% increase

We have seen continued positive results in a number of areas, but we also know that there are things that we need to focus on. As our action plans emerge, we will be taking tangible steps to continue building on the positives and work on the improvements identified, to ultimately create an inclusive, engaging and supportive place to work.

InHealth featured in new IHPN covid19 partnerships report

InHealth is featured in a new report, which shines a light on the vital role independent providers of primary, community and diagnostic services have played in supporting the NHS during the most recent waves of the pandemic.

Following up on IHPN’s “Working together during covid19”, published last summer, this new report highlights how these partnerships have continued during the second and third waves of the pandemic to ensure patients have been able access the care they needed.

It demonstrates the breadth of support that the sector has provided to the NHS and patients all across the country through what was arguably the most challenging Winter period in the health service’s history. This partnership working has ranged from providing virtual support for vulnerable parents, young people and families across the country; deploying mobile clinical research facility to help support the development of the covid vaccine; rolling out the NHS’ Covid Oximetry @ Home service to support the treatment of patients with covid symptoms in their own homes; and the delivery of hundreds of thousands of remote physio appointments. The report also highlights InHealth’s support in delivering both CT services and the NHS 111 service.

Independent primary, community and diagnostics providers have also made a significant contribution in helping the NHS clear the elective care backlog across a range of specialities including ophthalmology, gynaecology as well as key diagnostic scans tests – providing care closer to people’s homes and communities and reducing pressure on the acute sector.

Today’s report from IHPN also highlights the dedication of the tens of thousands of independent sector staff during the second and third waves of the pandemic. This includes through their through their contribution to the vaccine rollout, where significant numbers of independent sector staff volunteered to help with the NHS’s biggest ever vaccine drive and delivering thousands of jabs for housebound patients, the homeless and other vulnerable groups.

David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said:

“I’m delighted to be launching our new report, “Working together…during the second and third waves of the pandemic” which showcases just some of the many inspiring partnerships between independent primary, community and diagnostic providers and the NHS during what has undoubtedly been the toughest winter in the health service’s history.

“Staff working in the independent community health sector really have gone above and beyond to deliver the best possible care for NHS patients – breaking down traditional organisational boundaries and collaborating in new and innovative ways with the NHS. This incredible work includes delivering support to covid patients in the community, providing much needed remote appointments and consultations and helping to clear the growing backlog of routine NHS procedures in the community.

“While covid cases have now thankfully reduced with pressures easing on the health service independent providers across the primary, community and diagnostics sector remain committed to supporting the NHS and building on this partnership working – locking in some of the key innovations that have come about during the pandemic and ensuring patients can access the care they need as the recovery of the health service continues.”

InHealth Reporting award celebrates Academic Achievement in Clinical Reporting

As part of the ongoing commitment to training and developing Radiographer Reporting, InHealth Reporting are proud to have recently presented the InHealth Award for Academic Achievement in Clinical Reporting – Adult Chest Pathway, to Jack Butler, Chest Reporting Radiographer from Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.

The award programme, which is approved by the College of Radiographers, was designed in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University and has been running for the last 4 years, recognising the hard work and dedication of students who are studying the Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Reporting.

The course involves an intensive year of study, both within the university and clinical departments, with successful students having to balance their ongoing full-time practice with their study and home lives, frequently studying in their own time.

Throughout the course, students have the invaluable support of both their clinical department and Radiologist colleagues in order to successfully complete their studies, which is reflected in the high success rate of students within this programme.

In an online award ceremony, which took place on Friday 12th March, the InHealth Award for Academic Excellence was presented to Jack Butler, Chest Reporting Radiographer from Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, who said: “The course  was a challenging but extremely rewarding learning experience, engaging throughout with thoroughly supportive university staff; ensuring myself and other graduates are equipped with the knowledge, skill and competence to accurately and efficiently report on adult chest x-rays. Working alongside our other colleagues in radiology, reporting radiographers have the real potential to save lives through timely and accurate diagnosis of diseases, and this is something I feel lucky to be a part of.”

The award was presented virtually by the team at InHealth, Canterbury Christ Church University and the President of SCoR, Chris Kalinka, along with the Radiology Team from Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.

During the ceremony, James Whittaker, Radiology Operational Lead, said: “On behalf of the team at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, we are delighted that Jack is receiving this award. Even at interview stage when joining the team here at Stockport, his answers were exemplary, he showed real aptitude even before his training began and he has put so much effort in. He was a delight to mentor, he’s very level-headed and calm, as well as being extremely hard working and enthusiastic. We’re thrilled for him”.

Chris Kalinka, President of the Society and College of Radiographers, said: “Radiographers make up the largest workforce in imaging and I really support ongoing Radiographer practice and development. It’s been so great to hear about all the fantastic things that have taken place over the last year. Often, when you’re in the thick of it, it’s easy to lose sight of just how much has been achieved, so for Jack, he should be really proud of himself, and of course the whole team at Stockport. A very well-deserved award”.

Blog: A reflection on our NHS partnership during the COVID-19 pandemic

As we approach the end of 2020, we have taken a moment to reflect on the last 12 months and recognise that despite the incredible challenges we have all faced, our partnership with the NHS has become even stronger and we have been able to deliver fantastic services to patients.

Very early on in the pandemic, InHealth re-orientated our entire organisation to support NHS England in responding to the challenge of COVID-19. As an independent healthcare provider with more than 25 years’ experience of working in partnership with the NHS, delivering services to more than 3 million NHS patients each year across a range of different areas, there was much that we could offer in terms of allocating available resources to fighting the pandemic.

Building on what was already a positive relationship with the NHS and due to InHealth staff and services being located across the country in hospital sites, community settings and through our mobile fleet, we not only repurposed some of our clinical services, but also redeployed staff and made them available to work locally wherever needed. Our ambition was to add as much capacity to the NHS as possible, through our team of 2,500 healthcare professionals.

By providing additional training and creating flexibility within our own workforce, more than 1,000 members of staff were ready to be redeployed into the NHS – from working on the COVID-19 frontline and supporting administrative roles, to being available in the Nightingale hospitals and COVID-19 testing centres – every available member of staff was on hand.

From a service perspective, InHealth dedicated equipment, facilities and resource to the pandemic, including:

  • CT scanning: our entire fleet of CT scanners was dedicated to the NHS
  • NHS 111 service: at the request of the London Ambulance Service (LAS), we repurposed our Patient Referral Centre in Rochdale to support handling COVID-19 calls
  • Reporting: we invested in purchasing and installing a number of reporting work stations to allow appropriately qualified Radiographers to remotely report plain-film x-rays from home
  • Booking COVID-19 tests: our booking team from Diabetic Eye Screening Programmes was made available to book COVID-19 tests for NHS staff across the south of the country

More than 2,500 InHealth staff focussed their total attention on supporting the NHS, on top of the equipment and resources made available.

InHealth was also able to continue providing patients with vital access to a number of services, despite the pandemic. Although our Breast Screening service in Surrey was temporarily suspended, we repurposed our screening centre to provide a diagnostic service for women in that region with breast cancer symptoms. This allowed the clinical pathway for those women to continue, whilst the symptomatic service remained unavailable at the local Trust due to COVID-19.

Feedback from staff has been incredibly positive, across our dedicated COVID-19 projects:

“Everyone has been so incredibly welcoming under such pressured circumstances. I have so far found the whole experience incredibly humbling and rewarding, and I am thankful for the opportunity to help out.”

“I volunteered on the CT scanning project; I have really enjoyed the opportunity to see another aspect of the company, I found it really interesting and nice to back within the patient care setting instead of my lounge! The people I have met over the shifts have been lovely, friendly and very patient considering this is completely different from my usual role.”

“I am extremely grateful that InHealth has supported my decision to work with the NHS on a COVID-19 ICU ward. To be able to help out in such challenging times on the frontline with such a dedicated and skilled team is a privilege”.

“To be able to help during this pandemic is very rewarding. NHS Trust staff have been amazing in supporting us and providing all the training required not to forget appropriate PPE.”

We are incredibly proud of all of our colleagues for their dedication, commitment and passion – without them, we would not have been able to support the NHS in this way.

We are incredibly proud of all of our colleagues for their dedication, commitment and passion – without them, we would not have been able to support the NHS in this way.

InHealth Reporting award celebrates academic excellence in clinical reporting

As part of the ongoing commitment to training and developing Radiographer Reporting, InHealth Reporting are proud to have recently presented the InHealth Award for Academic Excellence to James Nolan, MRI Reporting Radiographer from Tameside Hospital.

The award programme, which is approved by the College of Radiographers, was designed in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University and has been running for the last 3 years, recognises the hard work and dedication of students who are studying the Post Graduate Certificate in Clinical Reporting.

The course involves an intensive year of study, both within the university and clinical departments, with successful students having to balance their ongoing full-time practice with their study and home lives, frequently studying in their own time.

Throughout the course, students have the invaluable support of both their clinical department and Radiologist colleagues in order to successfully complete their studies, which is reflected in the high success rate of students within this programme.

Most recently, the InHealth Award for Academic Excellence was presented to James Nolan, MRI Reporting Radiographer from Tameside Hospital, who said: “The MRI general investigation course at Canterbury Christ Church University was a fantastic opportunity for me to develop my skills and take on new challenges whilst also offering a solution to the increasing reporting demands within my department. It is great honour to receive this award – it is brilliant to see that Reporting Radiographers are valued for their role both within the NHS and wider the healthcare community.”

The award was presented by David Adams, Business Development Manager for InHealth Reporting, in the presence of Helen Johnson, Associate Directorate Manager Clinical Support Services at Tameside & Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust and staff from the radiology department.

David said: “We are extremely proud to be part of this incredible initiative, which acknowledges not only the hard work that goes into the course, but achieving the highest academic score in their year group. Congratulations to James and I wish him the best of luck in his MRI reporting career.”

Helen said: “Due to the continuing pressure to provide radiological services of an increasingly complex nature and to provide faster diagnosis, the challenge ahead of Radiology is one of difficulty if we do not embrace and invest in the talents that are inherent within our teams. James is an excellent Radiographer, a fantastic role model and a true ambassador for our profession and it was my pleasure to celebrate his achievements”.

Martin Mitchell, Lecturer for Diagnostic Radiography at Canterbury Christ Church University said: “I am delighted that James was awarded this prize, he has shown himself to be a dedicated student who demonstrated excellent level 7 (post graduate) analytical and reporting skills throughout his programme of study. I wish James and his cohort of fellow reporters every success for their future reporting careers”.

Partnership working improves referral to scan times for prostate cancer patients

This ‘Movember’, InHealth are raising awareness of how important it is for men to receive prostate scans as quickly as they can after being referred by their clinician. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, with more than 47,500 men diagnosed every year – recognising symptoms and making a GP appointment as quickly as possible is crucial in the road to treatment and recovery.

Across all of InHealth’s NHS acute hospital based MRI facilities, our average referral to scan time is just 5 days; meaning that patients are scanned within a week of being referred by their GP or Consultant. Some of our sites also offer walk-in appointments and others consistently deliver scans within 48 hours of referral.

In the UK, the average time for a patient to be scanned after referral is around 28 days, which highlights the fantastic work taking place between InHealth and our NHS partners to deliver services to patients across the country, which ultimately help men receive effective support and treatment quickly.

At Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, where InHealth are currently building a brand new MRI facility while using our mobile and

relocatable units to maintain service provision, together with the Trust’s radiology department, we are routinely delivering the MRI scan and providing a report to the referring clinician within 5 days.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust

Our strong partnership is integral to this achievement and the collaborative approach is testament to the importance we collectively place on making sure patients are seen as quickly as possible.

Mr Shahid Khan, Consultant Urologist at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said:

“This is amazing work and is a great measure of our combined success and only one example of why we have such positive feedback from our many patients! There have been fantastic improvements in our care pathway; driven by hard work, positive attitudes and innovative approaches. Producing such outstanding results, against a 28 day pathway, in the midst of a global pandemic, represents a real success”.

Movember is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event – more information here: www.Movember.com.

Thrilled to be announced as finalists in the 2020 HSJ Awards!

We are thrilled to be announced as finalists in the HSJ Awards for our partnership with Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust!

Our nomination is for the HSJ Partnership Award, which aims to highlight partnerships with the NHS and the benefits that working with independent sector organisations can bring to patients and the NHS.

Following the most testing period for the sector in recent history, this year’s awards will ensure that the essential role these organisations play in strengthening our healthcare system, remains in focus.

Our collaborative approach to improving access to diagnostic services in the North East won at the HSJ Partnership Awards in 2019. Let’s see what this year brings!

Leading the way in Endoscopy – Olympus seminar participation

Last week, the team at Olympus hosted a virtual learning event on the topic of Transnasal Endoscopy and invited our very own Nurse Endoscopist, Lois Penketh-King, to facilitate part of the seminar.

As a JAG accredited Nurse Endoscopist, Lois is part of the faculty for Olympus and specialises in this field, so was very happy to take part and host a session on patient nasal anatomy and patient preparation.

It is evident that Lois is incredibly passionate about her role and delivering a positive patient experience – she received fantastic feedback after the event!

InHealth has been providing high-quality endoscopy services for over 10 years from both mobile and static clinics across the UK. We are the only provider in the UK to provide fully staffed, equipped, JAG accredited and CQC registered mobile units and we see more than 40,000 patients each year.

When it comes to transnasal endoscopy, we use Olympus 290 series equipment, which minimises the need for patients to have sedation and, as a result, will often see more procedures successfully completed vs. the traditional method of the oral route.

 

A new generation of Radiographers celebrate graduation

Last week, at a virtual celebration event, graduates from the Diagnostic Radiography and Medical Imaging course at the University of Portsmouth finally celebrated their success.

Organised by the university, the event recognised the achievements of the students who have just finished their studies, as well as those who won prizes. These included graduate Bethany Wiltshire and current students Holly Byrne and Ravshan Zakirov, who all won InHealth Clinical Excellence awards.

The awards recognise the hard work and dedication of students who are studying the Undergraduate BSc in Diagnostic Radiography and are part of the ongoing commitment we place on the training and development of radiographers.

Fodi Kyriakos, Head of InHealth Reporting, who virtually presented the awards, said: “We are extremely proud to be part of this incredible initiative, which acknowledges the hard work that goes into the course and ultimately welcomes qualified diagnostic radiographers into the profession. Congratulations to Bethany, Holly and Ravshan.”