High praise for Northumbria Healthcare in CSR re-accreditation

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An organisation that provides health and care services in Northumberland and North Tyneside continues to lead the way nationally with its focus on all the ways it can support the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

In 2020, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust became the first health body in the UK to receive gold accreditation for corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Now the organisation has announced that it has been re-accredited, with a ‘significant improvement on their original rating’ being noted.

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For Northumbria Healthcare, CSR simply means focusing on all the ways that it can improve people’s lives – accepting its important position at the heart of its area and using this to have as positive an impact as possible.

The mini scrubs project is a good example of the trust’s engagement with schools. Picture by Gavin Duthie.The mini scrubs project is a good example of the trust’s engagement with schools. Picture by Gavin Duthie.
The mini scrubs project is a good example of the trust’s engagement with schools. Picture by Gavin Duthie.

This focus was brought together under one umbrella in June 2021 when the trust launched Our Community Promise. This followed the Covid-19 pandemic acting as a stark reminder of the challenges and inequalities that exist in the area and wider region.

The work is split into key pillars and these have recently been changed to better reflect the work of the trust. The five are now: action on employment, action on education, action on economy, action on environment, action on inequalities.

The trust’s chief executive, Sir James Mackey, said: “Through our approach to integrated care, we are involved in many different parts of the healthcare system. We provide care in our hospitals, in people’s own homes, in our GP practices and via our home care service.

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“This means we understand how important it is to support people in all the different aspects of their lives as best we can. It also means we know how much contact we have our communities and the impact we can therefore have.

“Recognition such as this accreditation is always nice, but it’s vital that this is based on meaningful actions and making a real difference.”

Under each of the pillars, positive steps have already been taken. For example, 25 per cent of the organisation’s apprentices now come from deprived communities, up from 20 per cent in 2021, and 5.5 per cent have a disability, against an NHS average of three per cent.

The widening participation team, which engages with schools, colleges and other education institutions to widen access to careers and job opportunities in health and care, has been expanded. Around 80 careers events have taken place in the past two years.

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A CSR specialist has been recruited in the procurement team to take responsibility for the drive to buy more products and services locally, while teams across the trust continue to progress their own plans to support the bid to reduce carbon emissions.

The trust also continues to provide a wide-ranging package of support to staff, who are also part of the communities they work to help. This includes financial well-being – there are now more than 1,000 members of staff using the Northumberland Community Bank.

Sir Paul Ennals, Northumbria Healthcare’s chair, said: “There is an understanding across the organisation that we can take responsibility for more than just the direct healthcare services we provide.

“We shouldn’t only be here to care for people when they get ill, but to help them stay well and stop them getting sick in the first place.”