Cementing relationships in North East Lincolnshire

Lately, I have been describing this period of developing our Integrated Care System (ICS) as in ‘the construction phase’.

Many colleagues and partners are contributing to the construction of the ICS, and as chair my special building projects include building the Integrated Care Board (ICB) and relationships with partners.

Over the last week I have been delighted to spend a couple of days in Grimsby, learning about the town and its communities and visiting important partners.

What an amazing surprise awaited me when I arrived at The Potting Shed at Grimsby Garden Centre. Although I knew of the work of NAViGO, an award-winning social enterprise that provides mental health services to the NHS and beyond across North East Lincolnshire, I wasn’t sure what to expect! Grimsby Garden Centre is much more than just a garden centre! Owned by NAViGO, it has provided over 80 skills, training and employment opportunities for people with mental health problems in North East Lincolnshire and all the garden centre’s profits are invested back into local mental health services, which means that when people buy from the wide range of great value plants and garden products, they are doing your bit for their community too. Inspiring!

My time with NAViGO also included visits to Rharian Fields, a specialist eating disorder facility. Tucked away in leafy surroundings, this bright and modern inpatient unit has seven individually designed bedrooms with en suite facilities, giving service users the privacy and personal space on their journey to recovery. Next stop, the services provided for older people with mental health problems where I met dedicated staff providing care and support to patients in such a thoughtful environment, and finally the state-of-the-art Harrison House site where inpatient services are designed to support privacy and dignity.

Equally fascinating was my visit to the currently under-construction new Emergency Department at the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in the town. What a transformation this will be when it opens in June. It wasn’t just the impressive construction site that captured my attention, I also listened with great interest to the ways in which the staff in this department have transformed the ways in which they work to improve the services they provide as well as improving the staff experience of working life. I was particularly pleased to see that the new building includes a generous space for staff to take breaks and relax away from patient areas. I will most certainly be making a return visit to see the completed building.

Meeting with Rob Walsh, the Chief Executive of North East Lincolnshire Council, in the majestic council offices in Grimsby added depth and context to all that I have seen and learned. I am hugely grateful to the many partners I met in Grimsby, who made me so very welcome and patiently answered my endless list of questions.

Sue Symington

Designate Chair: Humber, Coast and Vale Health & Care Partnership