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New Chief Nurse “Means Business”
Written by Communications Team   

Ashford & St Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust welcomed a new Chief Nurse, Caroline Becher, in June. Over the past few weeks Caroline has been visiting different wards and departments within the hospitals and meeting staff and patients to get their views on patient care and where improvements can be made.

Caroline said: “My first impressions of the Trust have been good and it seems a very friendly place to work. I have seen examples of excellent nursing practice and huge levels of staff commitment, but there are always improvements to be made and we need to work on ironing out inconsistencies so that all patients receive the best possible care. I know there are going to be some difficult decisions to make. I can assure the public that all of these will be done in the best interest of our patients and I will not shirk any of them”.
Caroline at work in the Surgical Assessment Unit
Caroline at work in the Surgical Assessment Unit
“My main priority is to improve the patient experience, which means looking at all aspects from the very first contact at admission, how patients are welcomed and communicated with. Accommodation, quality of food and cleanliness are also very important in addition to the patient’s individual nursing care requirements. I don’t believe you can lead without being seen or can make changes without knowing first hand how things work on the ‘shop floor’ so I will be doing clinical shifts in wards at both Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals.”

“Protecting the privacy and dignity of patients is very important to me and I will be a driving force behind this issue. I am thrilled to see the Trust and Department of Health making such a significant investment (£1.9 million) in re-modelling the wards to ensure single sex accommodation.”

“Top of the agenda is also the role of the Matrons as I really believe a highly visible and accountable Matron can make it all work. The Trust currently has 16 Matrons and I want them to really understand what influence they have and feel empowered to take charge of their departments and set the high standards all staff should aspire to meet. One simple but noticeable change will be to their uniforms; all Matrons will shortly be wearing a bright and recognisable scarlet uniform so that patients and visitors to the hospital can clearly see who to go to with any concerns.”

“I am also focusing on the very important area of infection prevention and control. At the Trust we have a team of nurses dedicated to the prevention of hospital acquired infections. Whilst it is really important to hit national targets, to me the incentive is to reduce any unnecessary personal suffering. I believe all staff should do everything within their capability to protect our patients from contracting any infections. Great progress has been made in this field and there has not been a hospital acquired MRSA case for over 20 weeks. However, we won’t be resting on our laurels as there is always more preventative work to do.”

Caroline trained at Guys Hospital in London and has spent many years working in acute care services. She has held several senior nursing posts, the most recent of which was Director of Nursing and Quality at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

Caroline said: “I was attracted to the Chief Nurse position as it is a challenging role covering two acute hospital sites. The Trust is also in the process of applying for Foundation Trust status and I felt I could bring valuable experience from my time at Queen Victoria Hospital, which achieved its Foundation Trust status in 2004.”

“In order to gain Foundation Trust status we must meet several criteria and an ongoing programme of improvement is in place. I truly believe the Trust has the potential to be great and I am excited to have joined in such a period of positive change.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 August 2009 15:53