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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Board Headshots I Barker 4 IB Pref midsizeA joint Chair has been appointed following last month’s announcement that 2gether NHS Foundation Trust and Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust are working on proposals to  integrate as a single organisation.

Ingrid Barker was chosen following a formal selection process, which included a series of discussion groups involving a broad range of clinical and non-clinical representatives from both Trusts, as well as patients, service users and carers.

The discussion groups were then followed by a formal interview with members of 2gether’s Council of Governors alongside independent advisors. Their decision has also been ratified by the full Council of Governors as the appointing body.

Ingrid will take up her position from January 2018, after which a business case will be developed with a view to formally joining the two organisations from October 2018.

Ingrid said: “I am delighted to have been selected as Joint Chair of two Trusts who are providing such high quality services to the people of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. The coming months and years will be momentous, as we work to combine our experience, expertise and resources, in order to enhance the services we provide to our local communities. I look forward to working with colleagues across both organisations, together with our many partners, as we progress our proposals.”

2gether’s Lead Governor, Rob Blagden, said: “This is an exciting time for 2gether and Gloucestershire Care Services, and selecting the right candidate for the position of Joint Chair was extremely important. Our Council was clear that we would only appoint if our candidate was the best person to lead us in the months and years ahead, and we are confident that Ingrid is fitting for the role. Ingrid brings a wealth of local knowledge and experience combined with a passion to improve health outcomes for our patients.”

Nikki Richardson, Senior Independent Director for 2gether, added: “I would like to congratulate Ingrid, who has a huge amount of experience, both locally and nationally within the NHS. Her strong leadership will be vital as we progress our plans for integrating mental health, learning disability and physical health services, and work together to make services more seamless for our communities.”

Ingrid Barker is currently Chair of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust – a position she has held since April 2011. She was previously a Non Executive Director on the Board of NHS Gloucestershire for five years. She is a Trustee and board member for NHS Providers, elected to represent the Community Trusts across the country. Ingrid has undertaken national policy and service development roles through the Centre for Mental Health Services Development.  She was Deputy Chief Executive of an NHS Trust in Surrey and led Croydon Mental Health Unit as Unit General Manager, transforming institutional services to community provision.  A qualified social worker, Ingrid established a service for young homeless people in Central London and was Regional Director of MIND.  She also led the creation of the first mental health Patients Councils and Advocacy projects in Britain.

She has lived in Gloucestershire with her family since 2002 and during that time has served as Chair and as a Governor for Ribston Hall High School in Gloucester. She is currently a Governor of Hartpury College.

2gether and Gloucestershire Care Services announced plans to appoint a Joint Chair and Joint Chief Executive last month. The position of Joint Chair was ring fenced to the sitting Chairs of both Trusts. Ruth FitzJohn, who is currently Chair of 2gether, announced her decision to retire at the end of 2017 earlier this year.

Selection of the Joint Chief Executive will take place during November and the Joint Chief Executive will also take up position in January 2018.

A full programme of engagement will then begin with staff and partners about the next steps. Both Trusts will remain separate legal entities with independent Boards until a full business case is completed and necessary approvals are received.



The Trust held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday 27 September at Oxstalls Campus, University of Gloucestershire. We were pleased to welcome over 100 members of the public, stakeholders, partner organisations and colleagues to the event, with over 60 people attending the formal AGM.

The exhibition focused on the range of community-based services we provide, including our Integrated Community Teams (ICTs), Chat Health (our new text messaging service for 11-19 year olds), and our partnership with Macmillan to deliver the Next Steps Cancer Rehabilitation service.

Attendees also had the opportunity to view a model ward which will be used for student training, as part of the University of Gloucestershire’s brand new innovative nursing degrees, launching this autumn. As a key partner for the new degree programme, we are looking forward to working alongside nursing undergraduates to help them develop the skills and adaptability to deliver high quality patient care.

The formal AGM session included a summary of our key achievements over the last 12 months via a short video featuring Katie Norton, Chief Executive and colleagues from across the Trust. We also heard presentations from a number of service areas including a collaborative approach to improving the Children’s End of Life Care Pathway, and how our Allied Health Professionals will be delivering against the four impacts of the AHP National Strategy.


6 October 2017 


Volunteers and staff at Cirencester Hospital sarcophagusA stone sarcophagus, found in the grounds of Cirencester Hospital, is now on permanent display thanks to the hard work of local volunteers and community groups. 

The sarcophagus, which dates back to Roman times, was uncovered during the building of a new hospital wing in the 1970s. It was kept outside the physiotherapy department until the decision was made to put it on public display in the hospital grounds.  

The hospital’s Green Gym volunteers applied for funding from St James’ Place to arrange moving the sarcophagus outside, and then built a wooden shelter to protect it from the elements.

Andre Curtis, grounds consultant for Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, said: “It’s been such a collaborative project – the hospital volunteers have worked with apprentices from St James’ Place to build the shelter, the Barnwood Trust helped with purchase of the timber, and Cirencester Town Council and the Corinium Museum have both contributed towards an information plaque.

It’s taken two years to complete this project, and we are thrilled to see the sarcophagus on public display.”

Matron Linda Edwards said “I’m delighted that this historical artefact is now on display for everyone to enjoy. This has been down the work of our wonderful volunteers and contributions from many local Cirencester organisations, who we cannot thank enough." 

There are a further five sarcophagi in store at the museum, uncovered by the Cirencester Excavation Committee in 1969, and various others were uncovered in the 19th and early  20th centuries.

James Harris, Collections Officer at Cirencester Corinium Museum, said "The work by the gardeners represents the great local interest in and real care of our Roman heritage. The shelter will make a genuine difference to the longevity of the sarcophagus."


22 September 2017 

The two NHS Trusts providing community-based physical and mental health services in Gloucestershire are to join together under the leadership of one Chair and one Chief Executive.

2gether NHS Foundation Trust (2g) and Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust (GCS) will jointly appoint the new leaders later this year.

The joint Chair and Chief Executive will then set plans in motion to bring the two organisations together, with the aim of providing seamless mental and physical health services to patients, service users and carers.

The Trusts’ current Chief Executives, Shaun Clee (2gether) and Katie Norton (GCS), said: “We collectively employ more than 5,000 people, providing high quality healthcare services to people with physical and mental health conditions across Gloucestershire, and in 2gether’s case Herefordshire as well.

“The vast majority of our work is delivered in the community, but we also provide services from inpatient units, such as our community hospitals and specialist mental health units.

“It has become increasingly clear, both locally and nationally, that ‘there is no health without mental health’ and that a combined provider of mental and physical services could benefit many of the people we separately support.”

Chairs Ruth FitzJohn (2gether) and Ingrid Barker (GCS) added: “We believe that an integrated approach will further improve the experience and outcomes our patients and service users receive. It will also enable us to offer a better service to our healthcare partners – such as GPs and the acute hospitals – as well as other statutory and voluntary agencies.

“This will also be beneficial for everyone who works for both organisations. Combining our collective resources, knowledge, innovation and expertise, will enable us to provide a broader career path and open up new ways of working, which we hope will benefit our colleagues as well as our communities.”

Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Amjad Uppal, of 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There is a growing base of clinical evidence that mental and physical health care should become more integrated. We now know that treating and supporting the ‘whole person’ can aid prevention, improve recovery, increase life expectancies and generally enhance our overall wellbeing. Combining our clinical expertise and care pathways will, we believe, benefit everyone in our communities.”

Sue Field, Director of Nursing at GCS, said: “Our nurses and allied health professionals working in community health services know well the impact long term physical health conditions can have on people’s mental health.  I am excited about the opportunity we now have to improve the way we work together to better meet the physical, psychological  and social needs of people.”

The new Joint Chair and CEO will be appointed by the end of November, and will take up post in January 2018. Consultation will then begin with staff and partners about the next steps. Both Trusts will remain separate legal entities with independent Boards until a full business case is completed and necessary approvals are received.

Staff within both organisations have been informed, and will be continuously updated in the weeks and months to come.

Further announcements will follow in due course.

20 September 2017

A 12 week public consultation gets underway today (Tuesday) on a preferred option to build a new community hospital in the Forest of Dean by 2021/22, ‘fit for modern healthcare.’


Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group believe this option would ensure high quality care in the future, meet the needs of local residents and improve working conditions for staff. 


If agreed, the new hospital would replace Dilke Memorial Hospital and Lydney and District Hospital when it opens its doors. 


The consultation follows extensive engagement in the Forest of Dean throughout the lifetime of the Forest Health and Care Review. 


The consultation booklet describes why it is believed that ‘no change to facilities’ or effectively ‘replicating what we already have now’ will not deliver the care or service benefits that patients and staff deserve. 


The challenges:


• the two existing community hospitals are reaching the stage where it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide modern, efficient, effective, high-quality care

• the ability to maintain some essential services across two community hospital sites is becoming increasingly difficult with healthcare professionals working across different sites and the challenge of recruiting and keeping enough staff with the right skills

• there are significant issues relating to cost of maintenance of the existing hospitals and restricted space for services

• the current physical environment within the hospitals makes it increasingly difficult to ensure privacy and dignity for all patients and manage infection control

• too many people from the Forest of Dean are having to travel outside the local area to receive care that should be provided more locally

• healthcare needs within the Forest of Dean are not always being met effectively.


The consultation booklet also describes the following benefits associated with the preferred option:


• a new community hospital for local people, fit for modern healthcare

• significantly improved facilities and space for patients and staff

• more consistent, reliable and sustainable community hospital services, e.g. staffing levels, opening hours

• a wide range of community hospital services, including beds, accommodation to support outpatient services and urgent care services

• services and teams working more closely together

• better working conditions for staff and greater opportunities for training and development to recruit and retain the best health and care professionals. 


Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, Katie Norton said:


“We owe a debt of gratitude to people of vision and generosity who have helped develop healthcare facilities and services in the Forest of Dean over many generations. 


Now, mindful of changes in healthcare and the needs of our population, we have an opportunity to build on that legacy. 


We are proposing to invest in the Forest of Dean to support modern, high quality care and believe the preferred option of a new hospital would deliver real benefits to patients and our dedicated staff.


Subject to the outcome of consultation, we would work with local people to design the facility. We would want it to be a worthy successor to the current hospitals and in keeping with the unique environment of the Forest of Dean.”


Accountable Officer of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Mary Hutton said:


“We share the view that local people and future generations in the Forest of Dean deserve the very best community hospital facilities.


The possibility of a new hospital, and the benefits that could bring, was raised by many people during review discussions, including healthcare professionals who identified opportunities for more joined up working.


We are keen to hear the views of patients, health and care professionals and the public and there are number of ways to feedback.”


Local GP and Chair of the Forest of Dean Primary Care Group, which includes representatives from local GP practices, Dr Sophia Sandford said:


“A new purpose built community hospital could offer many benefits to our patients – whether that’s improved clinical space to support services, more reliable, consistent opening hours for some services or simply an improved care environment for patients.


We recognise that there are a variety of views and we would encourage community partners, those working within local services and the public to take part in the consultation and have their say.” 


Local GP and member of the Forest of Dean Primary Care Group, Dr Paul Weiss said:


“Patient care has to be the top priority and I believe that the preferred option presents a genuine opportunity for the people of the Forest of Dean to get a first class, purpose built community hospital that will serve future generations.


I believe it would bring staff together and attract clinicians to work in the Forest of Dean.” 


Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group are also taking the opportunity through this consultation to ask for views on:


• A set of criteria which would be used to help decide where any new hospital would be located and;

• How a recommendation should be made on any preferred location.


There are a number of ways in which local people can have their say and take part in the consultation: 


• Read the booklet and complete the survey on-line at:   

• Complete the FREEPOST survey in the consultation booklet and return it by 10 December 2017 using the freepost address. The booklets will be available in local pharmacies, local GP surgeries, community hospitals, libraries and District Council buildings

• Attend one of the public drop in sessions or visit the Information Bus (dates, locations and times can be found in the consultation booklet or on the website here).


12 September 2017 

The Trust’s 2017 Annual General Meeting and Exhibition on Wednesday 27 September at Oxstalls Campus, University of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls Lane, Longlevens, Gloucester, GL2 9HW. 

The theme for this year’s Exhibition (4pm-6pm) is “Understanding You”, where you can find out more about the range of community-based services we provide. This includes our Integrated Community Teams, ChatHealth (our new text messaging service for 11-19 year olds), and our partnership with Macmillan to deliver the Next Steps Cancer Rehabilitation service.

Our Annual General Meeting will start at the same venue from 6-7pm and will feature a review of the year, video stories, and presentations from clinical colleagues.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Parking is available at the venue, for which there is a small charge.


7 September 2017 


Gloucestershire County Council is running a consultation on some changes to public health nursing (including health visiting and school nursing) . It’s part of work being done in the Trust with the county council to bring together health visiting and school nursing into a single service for all children aged 0-19 and their families.

The council is asking parents-to-be, parents, guardians and young people in particular about what the proposals mean for them.

There are five topics in the survey:

Two year old development check –  helping more parents access the check

Baby hubs –  helping parents meet other parents and learn from professionals and each other

School nursung hubs –  bringing school nursing to more parents, children and young people in the county

One to one support – designing a consistent approach to common issues

Hearing screening – helping hearing problems to be identified earlier

Read more and complete the survey at

A young people’s version is available at

The survey is open until Sunday 19 November and paper copies are available at libraries, GP surgeries and children’s centres.

6 September 2017


ChatHealth GraphicA new text messaging service offering the county’s 11-19 year olds confidential advice about their health and wellbeing will be launching on Monday 4 September.

ChatHealth is a new service offered by Gloucestershire Care Services (GCS) NHS Trust School Nursing Team. The service will offer support to young people with questions relating to a wide range of health and wellbeing issues including: relationships, bullying, healthy lifestyle, anxiety, drugs, smoking, stress, body worries, alcohol, self-harm and sexual health. As well as giving advice, the School Nursing Team can signpost to appropriate services and other support.

Messages sent to the dedicated number (07507 333351) are delivered to a secure website, and responded to by a GCS School Nurse. The service is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays. Texts are usually replied to within 24 hours. Out of hours, anyone who texts the service receives a bounce back message explaining where to get help if their question is urgent, and when they can expect a response. 

Sarah Birmingham, GCS’ Head of Children and Young People’s Services said: 

“The majority of young people today haven’t known a life without technology. It has been part of their environment from an early age, so we thought it would great to embrace the opportunity to use mobile phone technology as a communication and information tool. 

Launching this service in Gloucestershire is an exciting opportunity to make health information more easily accessible for 11-19 year olds.”

Although the service is confidential and young people do not need to disclose their name, if there is a concern for an individual’s safety, there are safeguarding procedures in place.

Young people will still be able to see a School Nurse face to face in a school or college drop in or other setting.


30 August 2017