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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

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Quality staff for quality care

Posted on Thursday 15th August 2013
dr varma

Dr Madhusudhan Varma, consultant interventional cardiologist

Following the publication of the Keogh report in July 2013, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is continuing to work hard to address the areas recommended for improvement.

Concerns were raised about levels of nursing and medical cover and an overreliance on locum support. The report acknowledged that the Trust had previously identified this as a risk and is working with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation to strengthen our recruitment process.

The Trust’s number one priority is improving the quality of care for patients; therefore we will not settle for anything other than the best candidate for the posts and this will guarantee our continuous focus on the quality of the services we provide.

In the past, the Trust has had difficulty attracting new consultants to North Cumbria, particularly to West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, mainly due to the geographically remote location but also due to wider historical challenges faced by the organisation.  Now, as we are working closely with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, more senior clinicians from across the country are being attracted by the prospect of working in our Trust.

Since September 2012, we have appointed to 20 consultant posts and over 100 nursing posts. Permanent consultants are currently being recruited, bringing years of skills and experience to the Trust and helping to shape the future development of specialist services across North Cumbria whilst also helping to reduce costs of locum doctors which the Trust has historically had to incur.

Dr Madhusudhan Varma has recently joined as a consultant interventional cardiologist, expanding the team in The Heart Centre in the Cumberland Infirmary. Dr Varma said he was very excited to join the team just as the new Primary PCI (24/7 emergency service for patients with life-threatening heart attacks) service was launching: “Looking at the volume of patients we have been getting just in the first month, the predications were right that the volume would be extremely high, so this is the place to be for someone in my specialty,” he said. A sixth consultant interventional cardiologist is also set to join the team later this month.

As well as new consultants in medical specialties such as rheumatology and respiratory, new consultant surgeons are also joining in colorectal, vascular, upper GI and gynaecology. Consultants who are being recruited will work across both of our hospital sites – the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

Our A&E departments are also benefitting from new permanent consultants. Dr James Hayton has joined West Cumberland Hospital from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust. James said: “It’s an exciting time to join West Cumberland Hospital as there are lots of changes going on in terms of the Emergency Department.” A new consultant is also set to take up post in A&E at the Cumberland Infirmary in September.

Dr Clive Graham, Business Unit Director for Clinical Support & Cancer Services said: “The new consultants we are recruiting are bringing a wealth of new ideas and expertise with them. Recruitment is going well and some excellent appointments are being made as we work towards securing a more stable consultant workforce for the longer term. This is an exciting time to join our organisation as the acquisition with Northumbria moves forward to create one of the biggest Trusts in the country.”