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An example of the illuminating ceiling tiles in use at Rotherham Hospital. Image courtesy of Visualite.

MORE than £300,000 worth of improvements will be made across the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA) to benefit the wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors thanks to funding from NHS Charities Together.

Both Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Funds and Pennine Acute Hospitals Charity secured money from the national organisation’s Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, which supports NHS staff, patients and volunteers impacted by the pandemic.

At Salford Royal new illuminating ceiling tiles on the Critical Care Unit (CCU) will allow stunning visuals, such as blue skies and trees, to be shown – giving the impression of looking through a window. Other improvements at Salford include a new sensory room and family quiet area and upgrades to frontline staff wellbeing areas and staff rooms.

Julie Cheney, Critical Care Consultant Nurse at Salford Royal, said: “We’re delighted to be able to make this transformation to our department and look forward to creating uplifting and tranquil spaces for our patients and their families during what is understandably a distressful and anxious time.

"By making these small changes to our surroundings in such a creative way, we believe it will have a big impact on the wellbeing of our patients, their families and our staff too.”

The Royal Oldham Hospital will get some additional illuminating tiles, as well as a family garden, new staff kitchen on The Victoria Breast Unit, upgrades to staff and patient visitor areas, reclining chairs for children, physiotherapy equipment for the Intensive Care Unit, and sensory equipment for the A&E department.

Across the Fairfield Hospital and Rochdale Infirmary sites money will go towards new bike storage areas, restaurant furniture, bariatric wheelchairs and sensory toys for the paediatric community team.

Worship areas and community service areas across all NCA sites will also be improved. And new resources and materials will be created for the NCA’s BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) community.

Louise Simpson, Senior Nurse, Estates & Facilities, for the NCA, said: “It’s fantastic news that we’re able to improve so many areas across our different sites that will benefit our whole community – patients, families and staff.

“Our staff work incredibly hard, but rightly all NHS funding goes towards providing the best care we can for our patients and their families. Securing NHS Charity funding means we can invest in the health and wellbeing of our staff, by improving staff rest area facilities. This allows staff to take time out, refresh and recharge which is invaluable for those who work tirelessly on the front line.” 

Funds are also being used to benefit North Manchester General Hospital, which is still covered by Pennine Acute Hospitals Charity, with projects including upgrades to staff changing and rest areas.

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Funds has now changed its name to NorthCare Charity. The charity will encompass Pennine Acute Hospitals Charity from next year to bring together fundraising across the NCA. NorthCare Charity supports the delivery of outstanding care across Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Salford by funding innovative equipment, education, research and wellbeing activities.