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A new year message from Chair, Aislinn O’Dwyer, and Chief Executive, Ged Murphy

10 January 2024

Now that we have bid farewell to 2023, we reflect on progress made, challenges met, and a bright future ahead for our Trust. Taking stock is really important, not only to ensure we are prepared for what is ahead but also to celebrate how far we have come.

The last year, much like its predecessors, has undoubtedly brought with it unprecedented challenges. Yet, this has been faced by our colleagues with their usual resilience and spirit.

The unwavering dedication and commitment our colleagues have shown whilst caring for our patients is testament to both the strength of them all as individuals, and the NHS as an organisation – of which we marked the 75th year this year.

75 years of the first universal health system, still free at the point of access and the pioneer of countless treatments and medical advances, is an incredible feat, and one that we are all proud to be a part of.

As a Trust, we have marked numerous achievements this year, first and foremost, the much-anticipated reopening of our maternity unit, a wonderful development for both local families and our midwifery and obstetric colleagues. The return of this service would not have been successful without the support of staff, partners, and our patients, and we would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who helped to make this return happen.

Elsewhere, we have introduced our Virtual Ward service to provide care to patients at home and prevent hospital admission, we have seen the return of our Health Matters events and marked the launch of the newly revitalised and rebranded East Cheshire NHS Charity.

We have also facilitated a number of estates developments, from our new Elective Treatment Centre, which is improving patient experience and reducing waiting times, to the arrival of a mobile breast screening unit, the improvement of our endoscopy and radiology departments, the transformation of Ward 9, and the opening of our fantastic new LE&D Hub, to name just a few. Of course, we have also been delighted to receive a £5 million fund to develop the Community Diagnostics Centre at Congleton War Memorial Hospital, and work is now well underway on this project.

We have been shortlisted for the Health Service Journal Awards, our charity has been named a finalist in the North Cheshire Business Awards, and our incredible Estates team have won the Partners in Healthcare Settings Award at the national Premises and Facilities Management Awards.

Finally, through the NHS Staff Survey our colleagues rated East Cheshire NHS Trust as a great place to work, and that will certainly go down as one of our highlights of the last year. On behalf of ourselves and the entire Trust Board, we’d like to thank all of our colleagues and Trust volunteers for the hard work and dedication they show each and every day.

As we begin the new year, we’d also like to take a moment to remind you all to look after your own health and wellbeing, particularly over these winter months. This can be a challenging time of year in many ways, so, looking after ourselves, and each other, is really important. The NHS is here to support you, please seek advice if you need it. You can find resources on finding the right help, here.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2024.