HOPE that European visit results in ongoing sharing of good healthcare practice – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

The three guests – Ana Ideias, a Portuguese head of HR, Maila Perez, a doctor from Spain, and Mwaba Chilufya, an Italian perfusionist (someone who operates a heart-lung machine during surgery) – spent three weeks learning about leadership within the trust as well as sharing information about their work and practices.

The visit was part of the HOPE project (Hospitals of EurOPE), which is a European exchange programme that offers those with healthcare managerial responsibilities an opportunity to spend time in another country’s healthcare system for several weeks, followed by an international meeting for all participants. In the UK, it is supported by the NHS Leadership Academy.

The trio’s stint with Northumbria Healthcare ended with them giving presentations reflecting on what they had learned, sharing ideas that they could pass on and other feedback about their experiences.

Ruth Auton, the trust’s head of education, learning and organisational development, said: “The HOPE programme is all about sharing good practice and learning from each other, so the catalyst for us to get involved was to showcase what we do well in Northumbria, but also to learn from other healthcare systems.

“The feedback from our visitors all highlighted the collective and integrated ways of working we have here, something that is slightly different to their experiences back home, so that was really pleasing to hear.

“They were also very interested in how we try to look at everything through a public-health lens to support our communities to be as healthy as possible alongside our extensive staff wellbeing efforts, which then filters through into providing high-quality patient care.

“The programme is valuable because not only does it allow you to listen, learn and hear what others do, but also reflect on what we are doing well, as seen through the eyes of someone coming in from a different healthcare system.”

Ruth added that the exchange can act as a catalyst for thinking about ongoing future improvements within the trust and also supporting Northumbria Healthcare staff to go to other countries to learn, bring ideas back and develop professionally.

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