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Darlington Community Matrons

Chairman Professor Paul Keane and chief executive, Sue Jacques, recently spent time with the Darlington community matron team, based at Dr Piper House, finding out more about the important role they play in the local community. 

Darlington Comm Matrons

Community matron, Hazel Watson, explains, "Working closely with GPs in the Darlington area, we run weekly clinics that we call the 'ward round', in each of the local nursing and residential care homes, offering both reactive and proactive care.  As matrons, we've all had advanced clinical skills training and can prescribe, meaning we can undertake assessments and offer the kind of care traditionally given by GPs.  

 "Where a patient needs to be seen quickly, we also provide same-day visits between 8.00am and 8.00pm, seven days a week. 

 "We also have a caseload of housebound patients who we support with chronic disease management. 

Our aim is to assess patients who present with a variety of illnesses and provide care or interventions that aim to prevent hospital admission.  For serious emergencies and life threatening situations we liaise with hospital and ambulance services.

 "As you can imagine, we have excellent relationships with care home staff and often get to know their residents well.  We also work closely with the district nursing team (we even share an office).

Our team consists of eight whole time equivalent community matrons and we could not provide the kind of service we do without the dedication and hard work of the assistant practitioners we work alongside. They also carry out annual disease reviews of all patients on our caseload.

 "We have regular meetings with all the GP surgeries and reflect on hospital admissions with the aim of identifying if there is anything we could have done to prevent them, or if we can provide any additional support to the patients or their families.  We also have twice weekly multi-disciplinary team meetings with district nurses, intermediate care (RIACT), social services and voluntary sector groups, such as Age UK Darlington and DAD (Darlington Association on Disability).

 "We're all really proud of the work we do and the relationships we have with fellow professionals, our patients and their families."

 If anyone would like to know more about the service, please email clinical services manager,

'In recent times, I have utilised admissions to Richardson for respite direct from my fracture clinic, even at weekends. I have never worked anywhere with this efficiency before - it is reassuring and invaluable for the patient.'

Patient, Lowson / Starling Wards, Richardson Hospital