A (great) week in Cumbria

Written by Seamus O'Neill on 16th March 2017

I haven’t done a blog in a while but we had such a good few days in Cumbria last week that I thought I needed to share some of the highlights with you.

We supported two major events; Suicide Prevention: New Frontiers event in partnership with the Cumbria Partnership NHS FT and the second LOC in the Lakes learning collaborative’s day with CLIC.

Whatever you read about healthcare in Cumbria – and there are any number of ringside commentators – you really do have to visit and work with the people there to get any sense of how hard people work in the NHS in Cumbria and how much really excellent practice there is.

A couple of examples:


Elaine Readhead, AHSN NENC

The suicide prevention event held on Monday 27th Feb in the Rheged Centre, Penrith, was a showcase for the relevant latest research and models of care. It was designed to support front-line staff in delivering best practice in their particular health setting. It sourced best practice from those who know it and deliver it and it was sought from local, national and international practitioners.

Was it any good? Well, over 200 people attended from the Cumbria, the North East and beyond, and over 200 were still there at the end…I haven’t seen the feedback yet but that’s pretty unheard of!

Sincere thanks to the team for all their hard work in putting the event together – honorary mentions to: Claire Kenwood, Richard Thwaites and Jackie Rigby for their leadership on this and Elaine Readhead, our Mental Health Programme Lead, and Sarah Black from AHSN Comms for pulling it together.



Dr Stephen Singleton, CLIC

The second Learning Organisations Collaborative (LOC in the Lakes) run by CLIC (the Cumbria Leadership and Improvement Collaborative) was on Thursday 2nd March and was also in Penrith. It really was a terrific day, I had been at the first one, which was good, but this was even bigger and better. Again it had over 200 people registered and there was a real buzz and excitement about the place. A large part of that was down to the energy and enthusiasm brought to their work by Stephen Singleton and the CLIC Team.

It was also partly due to the fact that the NHS England Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh attended and gave the keynote address. But it was also due to the fact that CLIC are tapping into and supporting the commitment and aspiration of the practitioners who are passionate about improving their care system. Sir Bruce is on record as having said that “only those in the system can actually change it” (Healthcare Leader 2017 Issue 1) and that was the message, challenge and endorsement he gave to us.

If you get a chance to attend one of the CLIC events you should go. Stephen, Gill, Karen and the team are good people to be around. They know how to keep people engaged and make the learning fun.


Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England

There were sessions on all sorts – innovative thinking, creative writing, ceramics, weaving, poetry and lots more – and you know what? By the end it all made sense! It was a celebration of creativity and a chance to get to know fellow practitioners in an environment where many of the usual barriers were down. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to catch up with so many old friends and to have the chance to make new lots of new friends as well.

So the AHSN engagement with the health and care system in Cumbria continues apace. We will build on the links we have made in our existing Programmes of work. The two examples above are, respectively, part of our Mental Health Programme and our Patient Safety/Quality Improvement programmes. We are continuing to look for ways that we can develop our work in Cumbria and so we are delighted that one of the new Patient Safety projects we are supporting is A partnership between Cumbria Partnership FT, Cumbria CCG, Cumbria University and County Durham and Darlington FT to roll out digital care at scale (with falls prevention as an exemplar)

I look forward to being able to report on the impact that has – perhaps I’ll do that as I tell you what happens next in LOC in the Lakes 3. Many thanks to colleagues for their hospitality, hard work and for the impact they are having though the AHSN programmes.