South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust held a ‘virtual launch’ of The Older People’s Improvement Collaborative (TOPIC). Chief Executive Ken Bremner and Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals Melanie Johnson gave the opening speeches. The keynote address was given by Professor Brian Dolan OBE, who is known internationally for his work on the care of older people and who will be supporting the project with leadership sessions.

TOPIC’s objectives are to:

  • Improve patient care
  • Improve patient experience
  • Improve staff support, development and education
  • Improve recruitment and retention of staff

Melanie Johnson said: “The challenges of caring for our ageing population* are well-recognised and I’m proud to say that our staff working on wards designated for care of older people at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital are passionate about what they do and are committed to providing the best care.

“Through TOPIC, we intend to equip staff with the skills to drive quality improvement and offer them education opportunities in leadership and management, as well as nursing, to achieve better patient outcomes, as well as provide them with the opportunity for furthering their careers.”

The programme will be supported by external advisors from University of Sunderland and Durham University and local artist Bob Olley will provide creative input.

Photo: Zoe Potter, deputy manager of one of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s wards dedicated to the care of older people, with a TOPIC information bag.

*18% of people in the UK are aged 65 and over and 2.4% are aged 85 and over (Office of National Statistics July 2017).