EVERYONE should feel safe and supported when they come into Colchester Hospital.

So the hospital’s new chief nurse Giles Thorpe is on a mission to ensure everyone’s care is looked at holistically.

Giles joined the East Suffolk and North Essex Trust, which runs the hospital, in November.

He took on the role before the second wave of coronavirus hit.

With a 20-year career in the NHS, beginning in intensive care, Giles said he is often humbled by his peers, now more than ever, having witnessed just how “dedicated and flexible” he’s seen all staff be since he arrived.

He said: “I’m astounded by the sheer dedication of staff throughout the pandemic.

“Members of the team are working in areas they’ve never been to before.

“They’re putting patients before themselves every day and may have been personally affected by this too.

Chief nurse - Giles Thorpe. Pictures: Steve Brading

Chief nurse - Giles Thorpe. Pictures: Steve Brading

“The commitment and flexibility of the workforce is amazing. This has been so challenging, so tough.”

Giles is both aware of, and worried about, the impact on staff after the pandemic, the pressure to “turn everything back on straight away” and how there won’t be any breathing space, no time to sit, reflect and heal.

Caring for patients is also the focus of every driver and decision for Giles.

When Giles talks about delivering the best care for patients, he’s visibly sparking with enthusiasm to make it happen.

Read more:

“Quality, safety, patient experience and family experience are hugely important,” he said.

He said: “I’ve spent a large part of my career in end-of-life care, working in intensive care and for NHS Blood and Transplant.

Chief nurse - Giles Thorpe. Pictures: Steve Brading

Chief nurse - Giles Thorpe. Pictures: Steve Brading

“Working with traumatic death was one of the most humbling parts of my clinical experiences.

“It wasn’t easy supporting someone’s loved ones to make difficult decisions, but very grounding.”

Giles was drawn to the trust as he felt it was a trust which is moving forward, listening to patients and staff as well as pushing boundaries.

He said: “I thought I really want to be a part of that leadership team. It’s large and complex and I like working with that level of complexity.”

Moving forward - cheif nurse Giles Thorpe has big plans for the hospitals future

Moving forward - cheif nurse Giles Thorpe has big plans for the hospital's future

Despite the complexities, Giles has a lot of plans for the future, including supporting staff with new opportunities.

“The NHS shouldn’t just be about working your way up from the bottom. We should support someone working here, then maybe in the community, then perhaps as a care home manager then back to the Trust. All that knowledge and experience is invaluable.”

Embracing difference is very important to Giles, leading the diversity agenda and creating a voice for the lesser-heard groups in the community.

He added: “We need to make sure the ‘stay silent’ groups are heard.

“We know there are health inequalities, we need to look to these communities who don’t often share what they need or think, engage with them and learn.

“We can do better.

“People are more than one particular characteristic and shouldn’t be thought of like that.

“We need to look at everyone’s care holistically.

“I am already looking at patient experience groups and how we are going to reinvigorate those after Covid.”

Gile believes there is more more work to be done with BAME groups and a huge piece of work around the LGBTQ+ agenda.

“We know people don’t want to share same-sex partner information when they come into hospital - this is not OK,” he added.

“We also need to support the trans community to feel safe coming into hospital.

“We need to ensure everyone feels safe.

“As an organisation we need to challenge ourselves, innovate, and we need to respond to our communities’ needs.

“We also need to stop and reflect at times, to look at our achievements as well as learn where we need to go in the future.”