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18 January 2023

Special New Year's visitors for Tower Hamlets Community Health Services

The Trust's Community Health Services in Tower Hamlets welcomed Dame Ruth May, Chief Nurse for NHS England, and some other very special guests, in January.
Ruth May visit 2023

Tower Hamlets Community Health Services (THCHS) welcomed some very special guests on Thursday 12 January, included amongst them was England's Chief Nursing Officer for England, Dame Ruth May.

Dame Ruth May was joined by the Chair of the National Board for Community Nursing, Baroness Judith Jolly alongside Registered Mental Nurse Dorcas Gwata, named as Best Nurse in the Sun newspaper's national Who Cares Wins Awards 2022, as well as NHS England’s Deputy Director of Community Nursing, Sam Sherrington. They came to meet staff, find out about how the service operates, and to accompany and observe some community nurses carrying out home visits to service users.

ELFT Chief Nurse and Deputy CEO Lorraine Sanduza welcomed the guests with a description of how the Trust started out delivering mental health services in three east London boroughs in the early 2000s, to expand into Bedfordshire and Luton in 2014, then later taking on community and primary care services.

ELFT's Director of Nursing Community Services Ruth Bradley explained how the Trust’s focus on population health, improved experience of care and staff experience work together to act as measures of progress. 

THCHS Lead Nurse Nike Bademosi went on to describe some of the numerous QI projects currently underway across the service.  

Nike explained how important QI is in terms of helping to sustain and build on staff well-being and described the overall makeup of the service, with specialist teams that work alongside colleagues from the local acute trust. 

Borough Director Petra Nittel spoke about how robust career and training pathways worked to address the challenges of staff recruitment and retention, alongside Nursing Associate and secondment opportunities as well as after-work and breakfast club activities. 

Commenting on her visit, Dame Ruth May said:

“It was a privilege to join the trust’s district nursing team on some home visits to see first-hand the essential and complex work nurses deliver in the community.

"This visit was also a great opportunity for us to hear about the trust’s wider community nursing service and the innovative work being delivered to support the workforce.”

Reflecting on her experience of the day's visit, Baroness Jolly said:

"It was a real pleasure to meet the team at East London NHS Foundation Trust, and talk about the work and challenges they face. 

"I was also pleased to join one of the team on her visit to a patient who lives alone and has been a patient of longstanding."

After meeting District Nursing Team leader Lola Sodipo and accompanying her on a home visit, Dorcas Gwata said: 

“I want to be looked after by someone like Lola when I’m old!  

“Her level of skill and experience is incredible.  

“She is so passionate and proud of her team. It is clear that THCHS delivers what is an outstanding example of what good community nursing looks like.”