Greater Manchester to help thousands of residents to stay in work through pioneering new approach to reducing the risks of ill health

Thousands of Greater Manchester residents whose health makes it hard for them to work will benefit through a ground-breaking new service launched today by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP).

Working Well Early Help is the first programme of its kind in the country. It brings doctors, employers, individuals and support services together in partnership to take early action to help residents with ill health at a crucial point when they are starting to be at risk of falling out of employment or newly out of work.

Backed by England’s largest ever NHS investment in local employment support, as well the European Social Fund, the £8 million scheme aims to change how health and employment services work together.

Adults of all ages across Greater Manchester who are experiencing poor health can receive up to six months of individually tailored advice and support from a dedicated caseworker to help them back to good work. This will typically include health, wellbeing and lifestyle advice; building of confidence and relevant skills and experience; and help to make changes at work or find suitable new employment.

It is estimated that 150,000 Greater Manchester residents are out of work due to their health – making up almost 2/3 of unemployed adults in the city region. For people aged 50 to 64 in particular, ill-health is the main barrier to work.

Early support, as offered by the new service, can be critical to people’s future prospects. Only one in five people get back to work after being off for six months, and after two years someone is more likely to die or retire than ever return to work.

Impacts of unemployment can include poorer general health, worsened mental health, increased likelihood of dying earlier, decreased physical activity and greater alcohol and tobacco consumption.

The recent Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review highlighted the costs of health-related unemployment to the city region. Local adults with long-term health conditions are nearly 13% less likely to be in work. The review concluded that health and social care are key to boosting productivity, spreading prosperity and tackling disadvantage across Greater Manchester.

The new scheme will particularly benefit people working in, and running, small and medium sized enterprises. Such SMEs – which are estimated to make up over 99% of Greater Manchester’s businesses – are often unable to afford traditional occupational health services. Working Well Early Help aims to fill this gap.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Greater Manchester’s executive lead for population health, Sarah Price, launched the initiative at a special roundtable event at Oldham Library. They were joined by Richard Cienciala, deputy director of the Joint Work and Health Unit at the Department of Health and Social Care / Department for Work and Pensions, local people who have found themselves struggling in work or losing their job because of their health, and some of the frontline staff who will now be supporting thousands of residents facing the same situation.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Our new Working Well Early Help programme is another example of how we are doing things differently in Greater Manchester and is another step forward for our ground-breaking Working Well programme. This pioneering new programme will allow us to act quickly to support those at risk of losing their job due to ill-health.  This will make a real difference and could transform the prospects of thousands of residents facing long-term unemployment because of their health.”

Sarah Price, executive lead for population health in Greater Manchester, said: “Being able to work is vitally important to the health, wealth and wellbeing of our residents, and to our city-region as a whole. It is a tragedy that people who fall out of employment because of their health can soon end up more likely to die or retire than ever get back to work. Our new Working Well Early Help programme is tackling this significant challenge head-on, by providing early support to thousands of people before long-term unemployment and its most serious consequences take hold.”

Cllr Sean Fielding, Oldham Council leader and Greater Manchester portfolio lead for employment and skills, said “Statistics show that in Greater Manchester residents with long-term health conditions are more likely to be out of work than in other parts of the country. That is why we are supporting this new service which offers people the support they need to stay in or return to work. The free service works in a holistic way, providing person-centred, tailored support to each individual. I would recommend anyone with a disability or health condition who is either struggling at work and currently on sick leave or newly unemployed to contact the service.”

The Working Well Early Help service builds on Greater Manchester’s family of highly successful Working Well programmes, which has so far assisted more than 20,000 longer-term unemployed people with health conditions to move towards work.

The initiative is being delivered by MAXIMUS Healthworks, in a partnership between MAXIMUS and north west-based social enterprise Pathways Community Interest Company. Together they have provided decades of specialist health, wellbeing and disability support. Its impacts will be evaluated by the city region’s Salford University and Sheffield Hallam University.


For further information please contact the Communications and Engagement team on 0161 608 4092 or email:

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Results of the Adult Social Care consultation

In December 2018, we contacted 4,962 existing users of adult social care services, to ask for views on their current experience with the service. Residents of Oldham were also invited to share their views on Adult Social Care Services. We received 337 responses.

Below is a summary of the key findings of the responses received from existing users of the service, who agreed to their replies being used.

As a result of the consultation we are making the following changes:

  • A new resource allocation system is being implemented in April. This takes into account the social care expert view.
  • Additional information and advice is being added to the Oldham Cares website, and an information pack about services is being printed
  • The Care and Support Plan is being updated to include information identified as important o service users

Contacting the service for the first time:

  • Majority (50%) of referrals into the service came from GPs or other health professionals
  • 42% contacted the service because the people they care for needed services
  • 33% contacted the service to find out if they were eligible for services
  • 38% said no improvement was required to first contact
  • We supported people to
  • Self-care (71%)
  • Rehabilitate after an illness (55%)
  • Access their local community (55%)
  • Access voluntary sector services (57%)

Assessing social care needs

  • 71% of assessment were completed face-to-face
  • 83% were able to fully or partially understand their needs assessment
  • 100% said the assessment should cover their view
  • 97% said the assessment should include the carers view
  • 82% said it should include their cultural needs
  • 76% were happy with the outcome of their assessment

Calculating personal budgets

  • 92% agreed that the assessor should explain how their personal budget is calculated
  • 92% agreed that resources should be allocated fairly and consistently
  • 41% agreed that the Social Care assessor explained how their Personal Budget was calculated, but 31% could not remember
  • 77% of people felt that a personal budget should be calculated using a combination of social worker professional judgement and using a resource allocation system

Care and support plan

  • 71% agreed of strongly agreed that their care and support plan was easy to understand
  • 83% felt that the plan should tell them how much money they have to meet their social care needs
  • 83% felt that the plan should tell them how much they have to pay towards services
  • 59% were happy with the amount of time taken to get their care and support in place from first contact
  • People responded that it would be useful to include the following in their plan:
  • Key contact details of people involved in delivering their support
  • Contingency plan based on risk
  • Details of free care and support
  • Their signature and their assessor’s signature


When reviewing the care and support plan, the following were identified as important to users of the service:

  • Timeliness
  • Identified needs and outcomes clearly
  • Easy to understand
  • Focuses on the service user view (not the professional)
  • Completed with a worker they know

Oldham agrees pioneering contract on first ever International Social Prescribing Day

Oldham agrees pioneering contract on first ever International Social Prescribing day

Oldham Cares* has awarded a three-year contract to a local consortium of Voluntary and Community organisations to create a Social Prescribing Innovation Partnership arrangement – thought to be one of the first for the public sector in England.

This will see Action Together CIO, as the lead organisation, working with consortium charity partners Age UK Oldham, Positive Steps and Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind, to build upon the social prescribing across the borough.

Social Prescribing is a vital part of our Thriving Communities programme which is already helping residents to make good life choices to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare and take greater control – helping them to get the right help, at the right time, in the right place.

It prescribes social and community activities to patients who don’t need pills, connecting them instead to local community services, groups and opportunities, reducing social isolation and improving mental and physical health.

Oldham Cares encouraged bidders to work together to form consortium bids so they could develop an effective borough-wide Social Prescribing Network with social value and residents’ needs at its heart.

Initial elements of such a network have already been developed and delivered in the Oldham West cluster area.

This Innovation Partnership will now work with Oldham Cares Alliance partners and the Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) sector to co-design, establish and deliver social prescribing across the borough.

Sean Fielding, Oldham Council Leader, said: “We’re delighted to mark the first-ever International Social Prescribing Day by showing how Oldham is leading the way at a national level on this crucial agenda.”

“What’s fundamentally different about this approach is that this contract gives our local consortium the flexibility to work with partners and residents to fix and support local needs and arrangements across the wider health and social care system, rather than us stipulating and fixing what the required service is at the outset.

“A one-size-fits-all health and care system cannot adequately tackle the increasing complexity of people’s needs and expectations, so this approach enables our Innovation Partnership to come up with flexible solutions in each area, focussing groups around primary care providers, constantly iterating and improving the delivery of the service, and also having a social value focus that creates opportunities for residents as part of that process.”

“This is about us all in Oldham working cooperatively and flexibly to empower residents to live fitter, healthier lives and make better choices that will measurably help to combat anxiety, social isolation and depression.

“We know that around half of GP appointments aren’t directly related to medical conditions, but by referring people through this network to community facilities and social activities like walking, dancing, gardening and support groups, we can improve health and wellbeing far better than by simply handing out medication.

“Social prescribing has come of age in 2019. It’s an idea whose time has come and I’m delighted that Oldham residents are going to benefit from a truly innovative approach to delivering it.”

Liz Windsor-Welsh CEO of Action Together CIO said “We are delighted to be working together with Age UK Oldham, Positive Steps, Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind, Oldham Council and Oldham Cares Alliance Partners to bring together all our local knowledge and expertise.

“We will create a social prescribing network that quickly and easily connects people in Oldham to activities and support that is available in their local communities. In Oldham we have a strong voluntary and community sector, 37,000 volunteers give 90,000 hours of their time each week to over 1200 community groups and organisations.

“Through the social prescribing network we will continue our work to strengthen this community action and help more people to connect to the fantastic groups and activities across all our communities.”

To find out more visit

*Oldham Cares is the new way health and social care services are working to improve the health and quality of life of Oldham’s patients and residents, and delivering high quality, joined-up health and care services now and in the future.

Local health and social care systems are being brought closer together under the banner ‘Oldham Cares’, as NHS Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, Oldham Council and a number of their partners and providers – including Bridgewater NHS, MioCare, Northern Care Alliance and Pennine Care Foundation Trust.

Together with the support and co-operation of other partners – including housing providers, employers, local businesses and Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) – Oldham Cares will focus on delivering the greatest and fastest possible improvement in the health and wellbeing of the borough’s residents by 2020.

Oldham couple raise vital funds for Royal Oldham Hospital maternity units

Losing a baby can be one of the toughest things that a parent ever has to face, but one brave couple from Oldham have used the loss of their son Dexter to support other parents on the maternity units at The Royal Oldham Hospital by fundraising with family and friends.

Parents Jessica and Michael Greaves sadly lost their son Dexter when Jessica was 15 weeks pregnant.

Jessica explains: “We sadly lost our baby Dexter when I was 15 weeks pregnant and we couldn’t really understand why he had passed away. The nurses at the hospital were very supportive. It was only when we were discussing our loss and we were trying to come to terms with losing Dexter that one of the nurses recommended that we visit Dexter’s Garden in the hospital grounds.

“We thought that the idea of a baby memorial garden on the hospital grounds was a lovely idea and the fact that it was called Dexter’s Garden really touched us. It’s a really special space, where you can go and have a quiet moment to reflect and remember your child. After hearing about Dexter’s Garden, that spurred Michael and I to show our support for other parents on the maternity units by doing some fundraising.”

Dexter’s Garden is a special baby memorial garden set up for all bereaved families as a quiet space for families to pause, reflect and remember the children they have sadly lost. It was launched at The Royal Oldham Hospital in October 2018 and was set up by Katie Bowker, a Midwife in the Maternity Department. The project is a personal one, which is very close to Katie’s heart, and a tribute to her son Dexter, who passed away shortly after birth in November 2016.

Katie said: “The idea behind Dexter’s Garden is to provide a special place for families who have lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy and after birth. My aim was to provide a safe, quiet place for families where they can reflect, mourn and pay tribute to their angel babies – a place that is calm, serene and beautiful.”

The £330 donation raised by Jessica and Michael for the hospital’s maternity units will be used to support families and purchase equipment. It will be split between Ward F1, F2 and Dexter’s Garden.

Support for families affected by the loss of a baby or child is available from SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity) at: or by calling: 0808 164 3332. Alternatively, parents can seek confidential bereavement support by contacting The Lullaby Trust at: or by calling: 0808 802 6868.

For any media enquiries, please contact Josie Neil, Communications and Engagement Lead on: 0161 6278703 or by e-mail:

Local views sought on NHS England’s recommendation to change routinely prescribed medicines

People in Oldham are being asked to give their views on the recommendation by NHS England to change how some medicines are routinely prescribed.

Last year NHS England completed a national consultation that looked at 33 routinely prescribed treatments that have limited clinical value or for conditions which will eventually get better of their own accord.  On average the NHS spends around £569 million a year on these treatments.

NHS England issued guidance following the consultation that is underpinned by the following principles:

  • Encouraging people to take care of themselves and their families
  • Stopping the prescription of drugs which have limited clinical effectiveness
  • Reducing the prescription of drugs available over the counter for the treatment of minor conditions such as coughs and colds

Each year NHS Oldham CCG spends a significant amount of money on medicines that are available to purchase over-the-counter. Some of this cost relates to prescriptions for patients who have long-term or complex conditions, but a considerable portion is also spent on minor conditions that may be considered suitable for self-care.

Pharmacy First

People with minor ailments can often seek the right care and treatment after being signposted to community pharmacies, or local supermarkets and shops, where they can purchase over-the-counter treatments.

Pharmacists have a wealth of experience and training, particularly when it comes to treating minor ailments and no appointment is needed. Local pharmacies are also often open for longer hours than GP Practices, giving people an alternative to waiting for a doctor’s appointment when they may not really need one.

Dr John Patterson, Chief Clinical Officer for NHS Oldham CCG explains: “We want people in our communities to remain healthy for longer and by supporting them to adopt healthier lifestyles and self-manage common conditions and minor ailments, we aim to keep them well at home, avoiding unnecessary GP appointments and preventing admissions to hospital wherever possible.

GP appointments

Appointments and subsequent prescribing for minor ailments take up around an hour of every GP’s time each day. Nationally the cost to the NHS for this work amounts to £2billion every year, so by helping our local communities to self-manage common conditions, this could free up more time for patients who are in real need of clinical treatment.  It could also potentially help the NHS reinvest money to treat more serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Dr John Patterson adds: “The types of medications referred to in the guidance include paracetamol, which costs as little as 19p for 16 tablets. However, we are acutely aware that some individuals and families are unable to afford to pay for medication and as health professionals, we will retain the power to prescribe from the list of recommended treatments as and when appropriate.”

Local views

The CCG wants the views of local patients, the public and other stakeholders on the NHS England proposals before taking any further decision on whether to remove these products from routine prescriptions locally.

Please take the time to read the supporting information and then complete our survey so that we can make an informed decision based on the views of patients, public and local communities.

An easy read version of the survey is also available.

More information about the OTC engagement work we are doing can be found on our website. The full NHS guidance can also be found below.

The survey will be open from Monday 4 March until Monday 1 April 2019.

Early Help available for Greater Manchester residents with health conditions as new programme goes live

An innovative new programme, providing free specialist support for people with a disability or health condition who are working, absent or newly unemployed in Greater Manchester, went live today (4 March).

Working Well Early Help gives individuals access to a dedicated Vocational Rehabilitation Case Worker and early intervention resources, such as online support, to help them stay in work after a period of absence, or return to work if recently unemployed.

Individuals across ten Greater Manchester boroughs can self-refer to the programme, or via their employer, GP, local authority or community group.

The new programme is commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership. It is delivered by MAXIMUS HealthWorks, Pathways CIC and part funded by the European Social Fund.

Dr Paul Williams, MAXIMUS UK Division President said: “We’re delighted to deliver this innovative new programme, giving individuals rapid access to support that addresses specific barriers and enables them to stay in, or get back into work as quickly as possible. Working Well Early Help allows us to test a new, integrated approach, working with community partners and offering a real focus on health and wellbeing.”

GDE Fast Follower funding agreement announcement – £10m digital health programme for local NHS gets go ahead

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been given the go ahead to deliver an exciting new programme of digital health technology and electronic patient pathways by NHS England.

The Trust, which is part of the Northern Care Alliance, is partnering with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust to become Manchester’s first Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Fast Follower organisation. The NHS Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme is a national initiative which aims to improve digital maturity across the NHS.

A £5million funding boost will be matched by the Trust to invest a total of £10million in digital technology and improved patient care systems across hospitals in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and North Manchester.

Dr Georges Ng Man Kwong, Consultant Chest Physician and Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO), said: “This is great news for patients and will mean our patient care systems and processes will become more advanced, using new digital technology.

“Being a GDE Fast Follower provides us with a great opportunity to try, implement and, if necessary, modify and improve new technologies to support patient care following ‘blue-print’ principles and processes which have already been tested at Salford.

“Importantly the GDE Fast Follower programme runs alongside our infrastructure improvement and future Electronic Patient Record (EPR) programmes which, as a whole, will enable us to achieve a digital future for healthcare.”

Pennine Acute NHS Trust is committed to change through investment in technology and digital initiatives and over the next few months staff will be reviewing the new technology and standard methodologies.

As part of the GDE Fast Follower approach, Pennine aims to replicate a number of projects deployed at Salford Royal.

For example, in the first phase of the programme they will be exploring how staff can use:

  • Digital task management App on wards –  to improve patient task workflow and ultimately improve bed management with prompt discharge of patients.
  • Virtual consultation including state-of-the-art mobile robotics to help discharge patients
  • New digital clinical decision support forms to support delirium and dementia, dietetics, VTE, stroke and FNOF pathways
  • Online appointment management system for patients – introducing booking and scheduling reminders for patients in the first phase.

The Trust is also setting up two new Digital Experience Centres, based at Royal Oldham and Fairfield Hospitals, to showcase some of the new technology for staff and patients.

The Royal Oldham counts the cost of missed patient appointments

The Royal Oldham Hospital is asking patients who are unable to attend their hospital appointment to do the right thing; cancel or rearrange it and free up the slot for other patients, after recent data highlighted the financial cost of patients not attending.

Recent research has shown that missed appointments cost the hospital at least £2.7million a year, based on figures which show that 13% of patients failed to attend their appointment at The Royal Oldham. Figures show that 22,158 patients missed their appointment from a total of 120,133 available clinic slots.

These figures highlight a waste of resources and clinic appointments, which could be used to reduce waiting times for other patients. That’s why the hospital is urging patients to cancel or rearrange their appointment if they are unable to attend.

Nicola Firth, Director of Nursing and Interim Chief Officer at The Royal Oldham Hospital, said: “There are many reasons why patients might not be able to attend their appointment and we’ll do our very best to help them reschedule their appointment for a more suitable time. It’s incredibly important that we don’t waste the appointment slots that we have available given the pressures our hospitals experience financially and in terms of waiting times for appointments. We’re urging patients to let us know as soon as possible if they are unable to attend their appointment, so that we can offer the slot to another patient. Many slots are often wasted simply because we don’t have enough notice to offer the slot up to other patients.”

An average appointment costs at least £120 and every time an appointment is missed, the costs of DNAs or ‘Did Not Attends’ adds up. Figures at The Royal Oldham show that 12% of patients fail to show up for their first appointment and almost 13% for follow up appointments. Unfortunately, this figure reflects a similar trend in hospitals across England. Figures from the NHS Confederation suggest that 5.8million appointments were missed in the year to September 2018, which cost the NHS around £700million.

The Royal Oldham Hospital is undertaking more research to understand the reasons why patients don’t attend their appointment and is looking at ways it can better support patients to cancel or reschedule their appointment.

In the meantime, the Trust is urging patients to help the NHS to make the best use of available resources by cancelling or rearranging any appointments they can’t attend. They can do this by calling the Trust’s Booking and Scheduling team on: 0161 778 2233.

For any media enquiries, please contact Josie Neil, Communications and Engagement Lead on: 0161 6278703 or by e-mail:

The Royal Oldham Hospital welcomes new Nursing Associates

The Royal Oldham Hospital and other local hospitals managed by the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group are set to welcome the first wave of new Nursing Associates, with 13 new Nursing Associates due to start work on wards at the Royal Oldham this month.

The new staff will join teams across the group’s five hospitals in Oldham, Salford, Bury, Rochdale and North Manchester, after successfully qualifying from a new two-year foundation degree course at The University of Salford.

The Nursing Associate role is a new national role that has been launched in a bid to bridge the gap between Healthcare Assistants and Qualified Nurses, and to supplement existing nurse recruitment.

The Royal Oldham Hospital, which is part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS group, is one of the first hospital groups in the country to be involved with the initial nursing associate pilot project set up in 2017 and the new Nursing Associates are amongst the first wave of new trainees to graduate the course.

A total of 31 new Nursing Associates have been trained across the NCA group, with 13 of those graduates set to start work in Oldham. Hospitals at Bury and Rochdale will benefit from 14 of the Nursing Associates, eight will be based at North Manchester General Hospital, and eight will be based at Salford Royal. They will enter the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register before embarking on their new roles on wards across the Trust.

Nicola Firth, Director of Nursing and Interim Chief Officer at The Royal Oldham Hospital, said: “We are thrilled to welcome our new Nursing Associates as they embark on their new careers in nursing and begin their new roles supporting the patients and staff on our wards.  This is an exciting development and we are proud to have been part of their journey towards a new and exciting career in nursing.”

The new Nursing Associates will add to a growing number of clinical staff being recruited across the hospital. Over the past year, The Royal Oldham Hospital has recruited 133 qualified nurses, 26 midwives, 94 doctors and 21 Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), all of which have helped the hospital to improve the care and treatment offered to patients in Oldham.

Suzanne Drury, Lead for Clinical Workforce Transformation, explains more about the new nursing associate role and how it will help transform patient safety and care on hospital wards: “The new Nursing Associates will play a key role within nursing teams throughout the hospital. They will work with our healthcare assistants and registered nurses to deliver first class care to patients. Their role will provide vital support to registered nurses, with their duties including a variety of clinical tasks. They will also perform and record key clinical observations such as blood pressure, temperature, respirations and pulse checks, all of which will help to improve the care patients receive on wards and departments.

“Their training has been rigorous and they have gained a range of experience across all fields of nursing, which can only benefit the care and treatment we provide to patients. I’m sure they will be a very welcome addition to our wards.”

One of the first new Nursing Associates to qualify and start work at The Royal Oldham includes Mike Lee, 31 from Mossley, who will be joining the Theatres Team.

Mike said: “I was inspired to train as a Nursing Associate, as it was a great opportunity to train for a career in healthcare. The fact I could learn skills in a range of different placement settings across the trust, whilst gaining hands-on experience and clinical skills on the job really appealed to me.

My training as a Nursing Associate has been very interesting and rewarding. I’ve experienced a variety of different placements, which has given me a great insight into the care we provide to patients in both the hospital and community. Although the workload can be challenging, I’ve been fully supported by trust clinical educators and my colleagues, which has been great. My first placement was two years ago on the theatres team at The Royal Oldham and I’m really excited to be joining the team as a permanent member of staff.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about career opportunities in nursing at the Northern Care Alliance, should contact: or You can also follow our recruitment team on Twitter at: @NCAlliance_Jobs.

For more information on the new nursing associate role and what it involves, please visit:

For any media enquiries, please contact Josie Neil, Communications and Engagement Lead on: 0161 6278703 or by

CQC survey of new mums’ experiences of maternity care at Royal Oldham and North Manchester hospitals shows significant improvement

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) survey of women who gave birth at The Royal Oldham Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital in 2018 reveals a marked improvement in their experience when compared to the same survey carried out in 2017.

In 2017/18, staff at both hospitals have supported women to give birth to 8,711 babies, serving the communities of Oldham, Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton, Bury and North Manchester.

The CQC is the the national regulatory body for all health and social care services in England. Overall, the CQC survey which is undertaken at every maternity service in England, shows 12 questions with improved scores when compared to 2017’s results; this is in three categories.

The three broad categories are ‘Labour and birth,’ ‘Staff,’ and ‘Care in hospital after birth.’ Each question is awarded a score out of ten, with a ten representing the best possible response.

Of the three categories, the category showing most improvement at the hospitals is the ‘care women received in hospital after the birth of their child’ category. Within that category, the new data shows the care mums received in 2018 was ‘significantly higher’ quality in four areas.

In summary, the four areas of ‘significant improvement’ include, the time it takes mums to be seen by a staff member after birth; the kindness and understanding of staff; the length of time partners and others can stay with mum after birth; and the cleanliness of the wards and rooms in the hospital.

Simon Mehigan, Divisional Director of Midwifery and Gynaecology at The Royal Oldham and North Manchester General hospitals said:

“We are delighted with the findings of the new CQC maternity report for 2018, which shows our maternity services at both The Royal Oldham and North Manchester General hospitals continue to make improvements. I would personally like to thank our midwives, doctors and all the other staff involved in providing maternity services in our hospitals and in the community for all the hard work they have put in to make this happen. The teams have worked diligently and with passion to deliver great services.”

Mums also highly rated the information they were given after their birth, and in this area, The Pennine Acute Trust is one of the best performing in the country.

The Royal Oldham has benefitted over the last 18 months from new senior and operational management and from significant investment in strengthening its maternity workforce including employing 26 new midwives in 2018.

The CQC data is based on the survey responses of 152 women who gave birth at The Royal Oldham and North Manchester General in 2018. The response rate to the survey was 26 percent.

The Royal Oldham Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital are managed by The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which is now part of a group arrangement of hospitals and healthcare services with Salford Royal NHS Trust called the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group. Together the Northern Care Alliance oversees five hospitals and community services in Salford, Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and North Manchester.

The CQC report can be found on its website at

Case study

New mum Natasha Ratcliff from Middleton gave birth to baby Maya-Rose on Wednesday 6 February 2019. Baby Maya-Rose weighs 6lb 13oz and she is doing well.

Natasha is pictured here with baby Maya-Rose and mum Tracy. Natasha was due to return home with baby on Thursday 07 February 2019.

Natasha said: “The birth centre staff have all been fantastic. They have been very supportive and go the extra mile for you. I think I’ve had the best experience that I could possibly have had. It was very relaxing; the staff listened to me and really supported me throughout the birth.”