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.
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
"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
"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
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
If anyone would like to know more about the service,
please email clinical services manager, email@example.com
'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient
ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough
- could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'
Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community