Getting back on track after cancer treatment

A project helping patients take back control of their lives and speed recovery after treatment for breast, prostate or colorectal cancer has proved so powerful it has secured further funding...

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Community Hospitals in the Forest of Dean - Public and Staff Consultation

The 12 week Community Hospitals in the Forest of Dean public and staff consultation ended on 10 December 2017. We would like to thank everyone who has taken part and...

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Cheryl Haswell is Matron of the Dilke Memorial and Lydney & District Hospital. Cheryl has been in post since July 2016, and she is not new to the Forest of Dean. Cheryl Haswell

“I grew up in the Forest and went to school here in Bream and Lydney. As a child I spent a lot of time playing outdoors and did lots of walking too. I left when I was 17 to do my nurse training in Wales, and live in Gloucester now, but I still visit family and friends here - there are many good pubs for a nice Sunday lunch!”

Cheryl knew she wanted to be a nurse when she was a teenager, and did a pre-nursing qualification course at what was then the West Gloucestershire College of Further Education. She was encouraged to pursue nursing, and has since worked in mental health, trauma and orthopaedics in Gloucestershire. Before working in the Forest, Cheryl was Matron for Infection Prevention & Control at Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals for eight years - and is used to overseeing two different sites. “You just need to make sure your time is evenly spread, but that you are flexible on where you will be based each day. I like to do matron walkabouts in the hospitals, which includes checking on the wellbeing of our patients and getting feedback from them and also from our fantastic staff.”

This is Cheryl’s first role in a community hospital, and she enjoys the contact with a variety of other healthcare professions. “I have the opportunity to work alongside therapists, social workers, radiologists, administrators and the f Friends of the hospitals, who do wonderful work fundraising for us. It’s so varied, that’s what I really like – no day is the same!”

Cheryl is passionate about supporting new nurses, and believes that community hospitals are a great learning environment. “We have compassionate and caring staff here who support new recruits, those who want to develop and those who want to return to nursing. My advice to new nurses is make use of all learning opportunities during placements, be prepared to work hard and try as many specialities of nursing as possible. Never be afraid to move sideways and consider a first post in a Community Hospital to develop your confidence”

Cheryl has had many memorable moments as a nurse, but there is one that will stay with her for a long time “I was appointed to my first Senior Sister role on one of the wards at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital by Jane Cummings, who is now the Chief Nursing Officer for England. It was something I had to been working towards for a long time, and from there I went on to be matron in that specialism. It just showed to me that hard work does pay off!” 

Outside of work, Cheryl likes to watch her sons play football for Tuffley Rovers and West Bromwich Albion Development, as well as visiting her husband’s hometown of Portsmouth. She also enjoys trips to the theatre and is a keen traveller: “I would love to see more of India, and I want to visit Vietnam soon too”



 Six new Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) have started work in our community hospitals as part of the Trust’s apprenticeship scheme. 

HCA smallRian, Destiny, Chelsea, Sophie, Molly and Erin all recently left school or college, and were looking to gain healthcare experience, learn and earn at the same time. They found the apprenticeship opportunity online, and started working on the community hospital wards in September 2016.

“There has been a lot to take in, but everyone at the hospital has been so supportive” says Chelsea, based at Stroud General Hospital. “I’ve learnt so much since I started – there is always something new every day. There are so many acronyms to remember though!”  

Cathy Ford, Sister at Tewkesbury Community Hospital, says “The apprentices have brought new enthusiasm to the ward.”

Despite being based at different sites, the apprentices come together for group training, including basic life support and end of life care. They also look in detail at policies and procedures. They will be working on the wards for a year, and they will gain hands on experience as well as achieving a qualification in this time. On completion, the Trust hopes to offer the apprentices Band 2 HCA substantive posts or support to go onto higher qualifications. 



Colleagues and members of the local community gathered at the Sherborne Cinema in Gloucester for the launch of Getting it Right, a film about end of life care. Getting it Right

The video features clinicians, services users, relatives and representatives from local groups talking first-hand about their experiences of end of life care, the importance of understanding the needs of the individual and providing the right care at the right time. It explores difficult conversations about death, and is both moving and empowering. 

Jules Roberts, Clinical Pathway Lead at the Trust, researched and produced the film and says “It has been an absolute privilege to work with everyone on the film and I am extremely proud of the end result. This is a powerful way to raise awareness of the importance of high quality care that is tailored to the individual as we only get one chance to get it right. The filming process has been a great collaboration between the trust, local communities and partner organisations."

The 30 minute video is made up of six short segments, each with focus on a particular aspect on end of life care. These will be used for internal training, and will be shared with local partners. A short five minute version can be found on YouTube here.  

This film has been made possible through Listening into Action. 



Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust invites the public to its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday 11 October at Kingsholm Rugby Club, Gloucester.

The formal AGM session itself will commence at 5pm, however, members of the public are invited to attend from 3.30pm where Trust staff and health and social care partners will host an exhibition.

The exhibition will focus on innovations across a broad range of the Trust’s community services. The Macmillan Next Steps Cancer Rehabilitation team will be promoting cancer awareness and offering advice and education on how to support those affected by, and living with, a cancer diagnosis. This will also include a walk through inflatable replica of the human colon providing a unique and educational look at bowel cancer and its consequences. 

You can also learn how to knit a twiddle muff – they’re simple-to-make – and are comforting and therapeutic for many patients with Alzheimer’s, arthritis and dementia, as they help encourage movement and brain stimulation.

The formal AGM session will include an overview of the Trust’s financial position, a summary of key achievements over the last 12 months and a look ahead to future plans for community services. Members of the public will also have an opportunity to put questions to members of the Trust board. This session will run between 5pm and 6pm.

Chair Ingrid Barker said: “The AGM is open to all members of the public and offers everyone the opportunity to share their views with us, and participate in learning more about the activities of the Trust. People will also have the chance to find out about a number of our new services offering innovative approaches to patient care.’ 



 If you are living with a long-term health condition then please complete a short survey about access to health information on the internet.

Sharing your experience will help guide us as we seek to improve the availability of local on-line health information.

The survey will only take a few minutes to complete and can be found by following this link



With the summer Olympics over and the long days drawing in, it seemed a great time to hold our Work Out At Work Week (19-23 September 2016) - a week aimed at encouraging colleagues to be more physically active and promoted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Work Out At Work Weet

As Health Care professionals we spend large amounts of our clinical time supporting our patients to recover from injury or illness and encouraging them to become more independent including through exercise and activity. 

We tend to be selfless by the nature of our professions. But this week encourages us to think about self. The principles of physical activity and the spectrum of benefits apply to Trust colleagues every bit as much as to our patients. Trust physiotherapists joined forces with the colleague group “Health & Hustle” and together we focused the week on promoting achievable, fun physical activity both within & outside work. 

Colleagues held a huge array of events and activities across the organisation, linking in with the Trust Active Health and Hustle community during lunchtimes and after work.  Organised activities included mid-day walks to High Intensity Exercise sessions and from linking in with the Green Gym to military boot camps. People gave their time walking miles and benefitted from social conversations that just get squeezed out of our busy working lives.  We posted daily videos & blogs, raising the awareness of the importance of activity.  It has been fantastic to see the enthusiasm that spread across our workforce and we have been able to link this in with the Health and Well Being Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN), aimed at our greatest asset – our colleagues.

So for a week it was great to see “self” have a higher priority and to be able to give people the opportunity to take part in such a great programme of events, wherever you are and whatever your role.

Thank you to everyone who gave their time, either organising events or taking part in them or just by being a bit more active than you normally would. Look after yourself – there’s only one you!

Sarah Morton - Professional Head of Adult Physiotherapy and Caroline Hooper - Clinical Lead, Musculoskeletal Assessment and Treatment Service (MSKCAT). 



Interested in a new nursing role in one of our community hospitals in the Forest of Dean? 

Then pop along to our recruitment day at Lydney & District Hospital to find out more! You will have the chance to chat with some of our nurses, find out more about current roles available and discover what working in a community hospital is like.

Our recruitment day is taking place on Monday 17 October, Stonebury House, Lydney & District Hospital, 9.30am - 2.30pm.

There are opportunities in both Lydney & District Hospital and the Dilke Memorial Hospital. For further information, please contact:0300 421 8651 or email



We are pleased to announce that Katie Norton will be Gloucestershire Care Services (GCS) NHS Trust's new chief executive. Katie has a wealth of experience in NHS leadership roles, including chief executive positions at Neath Port Talbot Health Board and North Somerset Primary Care Trust.

In her current role at Deloitte, Katie is responsible for leading a health and social care transformation team, working on a number of major engagements across the UK to support significant strategic and operational challenges.

Making the appointment, Ingrid Barker, Trust Chair, said: "Following the announcement by our current chief executive Paul Jennings of his retirement at the end of the year, the Trust has been working hard to find a successor to take the Trust forward from 2017.

"I have been committed to finding the best candidate for this role, and we're delighted to appoint Katie as chief executive. Her experience across all aspects of the NHS will be a real strength for delivering a compelling vision and strategy for the Trust, as well as achieving an improved and more sustainable health and social care system with our partners across Gloucestershire”.

Katie said: “I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have been selected as the new chief executive at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust. While it is clear that the NHS is having to navigate unprecedented challenges driven by increasing demand and a tough economic environment, it has been really inspiring to see the Trust’s continued focus on delivering high quality services to Gloucestershire’s population.

"It’s also very encouraging to see the strength of collaboration and partnership with the whole health and social care system across the county. I will be determined to build on this as I firmly believe that community services must be at the heart of a sustainable health and social care system.”

Paul Jennings joined GCS as an interim chief executive in July 2013 before taking on the role full-time in December that year. After nearly 40 years in the NHS and two decades in senior and chief officer roles, Paul will be retiring at the end of December 2016. Ingrid said: “Paul will be a hard to act to follow but part of his legacy will be the quality of the team, the strength of relationships and the depth of organisational ambition that Katie will inherit.”

Katie will join the Trust in early January 2017.