Former Secretary of State for Health Patricia Hewitt praised the passion of staff at East Coast Community Healthcare when she visited the social enterprise in Lowestoft in her role as independent chair of the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.
She met with teams from across the organisation including therapists, district nurses and representatives from children’s services such as health visitors, school nurses and the Family Nurse Partnership which supports teenage mothers in the Waveney area.
During her time as a Minister in Tony Blair’s Cabinet, Mrs Hewitt championed the creation of social enterprises to provide health and social care services. She asked to visit ECCH on Thursday (7th June) to learn about how the community health provider operates as she works on plans for reforming the local health service.
Mrs Hewitt told ECCH staff: “You’re absolutely right to be proud of the team here. I think what you are doing here is absolutely terrific. I just love this sense that you are all so passionate about it and you’re all owning it. We’re all in this together and you’ve absolutely conveyed that sense rather than sitting here and saying “What are you going to do to fix this?”
On arriving at ECCH’s headquarters at Hamilton House in Lowestoft Mrs Hewitt was met by the organisation’s two staff directors Libby Goddard and Lisa Judge who were elected by staff and sit on ECCH’s Board representing their views. She also took part in a discussion about how staff saw community services operating as the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability Transformation Plan takes shape.
ECCH’s chief executive Jonathan Williams said: “We were delighted to be able to show Patricia Hewitt what makes our organisation special and how we have the flexibility to be innovative and do things differently from traditional NHS organisations. She was keen to hear about the new cultural change programme which we have embarked on this year in order to ensure everyone within the organisation has a collaborative determination to deliver the best possible quality of service and works together as a team towards our goals.
“There is a real sense of pride in what everyone is trying to do at ECCH. There is a genuine spirit and we really are passionate about what we’re creating. We appreciate what Patricia Hewitt is doing for the STP and we are very proud to have had the opportunity to share our thoughts and ideas with her.”