With you in mind – Our strategy from 2023

Our strategy is something that binds us together, that sets out what is important to us, the things that we want to achieve together, the path that we want to take. We have called it With You in Mind. Because we work together, we have empathy and care for each other, and we will work tirelessly to improve mental wellbeing for the people and communities we serve.

Welcome to our strategy

What is our strategy?

It is something that binds us together, that sets out what is important to us, the things that we want to achieve together, the path that we want to take.

This is about what it is to be Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, sometimes called ‘CNTW’, and our hopes, aspirations and ambitions to support the people and communities that we serve.

We have called it With You in Mind. Because we work together, we have empathy and care for each other, and we will work tirelessly to improve mental wellbeing for the people and communities we serve.

Who is it for?

It is for us together. CNTW is not a faceless organisation, it is not a group of services, and it not defined by its buildings or its status.

We are CNTW. Together, we shape, drive and make CNTW what it is and what it can be.

How is this strategy different?

We asked people what they want from us.

The result is not rocket science. It is not unexpected. It tells us that what we all want is to be treated with humanity, with respect and with care.

When we need help, we want to be listened to, to be understood, and to be involved in making things right. We want to be safe, healthy and happy in our communities, with the people we care about and the people we love. We want people to respect our rights.

But systems, processes and yes, even organisations can get in the way.

We have looked at what people have asked from us and turned it into a set of commitments. A set of commitments that we will look to live by every day. And that in turn drives our ambitions for our future. What we aspire to be.

What will it mean?

Our world feels very challenged. We are recovering from a global pandemic. We are living through a cost of living crisis, which makes it hard for a lot of people to make ends meet. And we feel the impact of war in Europe and other parts of the globe. Health and care services are stretched to limits as demand for help grows. We can feel threatened, and we certainly understand the impact that this has on our mental wellbeing. This is a time of struggle. But it is also a time of great opportunity.

We need to change. Over the years our health and care systems have become competitive, divided and in many ways disjointed. We have also seen funding levels slow and in some sectors decline. And the pandemic has opened great holes where there were gaps in care. And this has hit the most vulnerable in our communities harder, at the same time as the gap between rich and poor is growing.

Our opportunity now is to think differently, to be bold and radical in our thinking. We have integrated care systems that bind us together rather than a competitive world that sets us apart. Now is the time for us to build relationships with our partners in primary care, the charitable and voluntary sector, with local authorities and other health providers. Together we can work better, simpler, and create time to focus on the things that matter to the people and communities we serve. This strategy set out our vision for what this can look like.

How will we deliver this?

This document is our guide; it sets out our strategic direction.

It does not tell us in detail how we will deliver, but sets out our ambition, what we aim to be.

Every year we will set out an operational plan which will describe how we will take our strategy forward in that year, what we will deliver and what we expect the impact to be. We will also set out a small number of supporting strategies, which will describe in more detail some of our key milestones and deliverables for the next five years. But perhaps, most importantly, we want this to be a living and breathing document, that we all play our part in delivering every day, with every contact…. with you in mind.

Ken Jarrold CBE, Chair and James Duncan, Chief Executive

About us

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust is a health organisation made up of 9,000 people across our region.

We spend more than £500 million each year, providing healthcare across North Cumbria, Northumberland, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland. Along with partners, we support people in their own homes, in their communities and in our hospitals.

We help:

  • People with mental ill-health
  • Children and young people
  • People with a learning disability
  • People with neurodevelopmental conditions
  • People who need support from secure services
  • People with neurodisabilities
  • People with problematic substance use or addictive behaviours

We also provide specialist support such as perinatal, mental health for Deaf people and gender dysphoria services.

Developing this strategy to reflect what’s important

To develop our strategy, we asked service users, carers, their families, our staff and partners to describe what matters to them.

They asked us to work together, with them in mind, with compassion, humanity and care. This is at the heart of this strategy.

We have developed long-term commitments in response to these asks, which will guide everything we do. We know that we are not currently achieving these commitments – but we want them to be our guide. We want these commitments to be our inspiration for how we work and how we change over the years ahead.

Our aim is to deliver on these commitments every day, in every contact. In this document we set out how we will meet these commitments, through our vision, our values, and the ambitions that we are setting ourselves.

Commitment to our service users:

  • Understand me, my story, my strengths, needs and risks. Work with me and others, so I can keep healthy and safe;.
  • Protect my rights, choices and freedom;
  • Respect me and earn my trust by being honest, helpful and explaining things clearly;
  • Support me, my family and carers in an effective, joined-up way that considers all my needs, and
  • Respond quickly if I am unwell or in crisis, arranging support from people with the right expertise. Make sure I don’t have to keep repeating my story.

Commitment to our families and carers (also known as our ‘Carer Promise’):

  • Recognise, value and involve me;
  • Work with me to ensure you’re aware of my needs as a carer;
  • Listen to me, share information with me, and be honest with me when there is information you can’t share;
  • Talk with me about where I can get further help and information, and about what I can expect from you.

Commitment to our staff:

  • Respect me for who I am, trust me, value me and treat me fairly;
  • Allow me freedom to act, to use my judgement and innovate in line with our shared values;
  • Protect my time by making systems and processes as simple as possible so I can deliver the work I aspire to, learn, progress & get a balance between work & home;
  • Offer me safe, meaningful work and give me a voice, working as part of a team that includes other professions and services, and
  • Support me with compassionate managers who communicate clearly and understand what it’s like to do my job.

Commitment to our partners and communities:

  • Explain what to expect from CNTW;
  • Help us to fight illness, unfairness and stigma;
  • Make sure that organisations talk to each other and put the needs of people’s before their own. Share responsibility for getting things right;
  • Get to know local communities. Respect their wisdom and history;
  • Be responsible with public funds;
  • Share our buildings, grounds and land; and
  • Protect the planet

Our vision:

To work together, with compassion and care, to keep you well over the whole of your life.

Our values:

Our values are what bind us. We have considered these in the light of what people have asked of us. We believe that these are the values that we share together, and that we need to uphold if we are to meet our commitments:

We are caring and compassionate…

because that is how we’d want others to treat those we love.

We are respectful…. 

because everyone is of equal value, is born with equal rights and is entitled to be treated with dignity. We want to protect the rights of future generations and the planet that  sustains us all.

We are honest and transparent….

because we want to be fair and open, and to help people make informed decisions.

Our five ambitions

To deliver our commitments and the care that we want to achieve, we have five ambitions in this strategy:

  1. Quality Care, every day – We want to deliver expert, compassionate, person-led care in every team, every day.
  2. Person-led care, when and where it is needed – We will work with partners and communities to support the changing needs of people over their whole lives. We know that we need to make big, radical changes. We want to transfer power from organisations to individuals.
  3. A great place to work – We will make sure that our workforce has the right values, skills, diversity and experience to meet the changing needs of our service users and carers.
  4. Sustainable for the long term, innovating every day– We will be a sustainable, high performing organisation, use our resources well and be digitally enabled.
  5. Working with and for our communities We will create trusted, long-term partnerships that work together to help people and communities.

How will we deliver this strategy?

This strategy is our guide.

We must all own it and consider it in everything that we do. Each year we will develop an Annual Plan, which will explain what we will do that year to deliver this strategy. The Annual Plan will consider national policies and priorities but will always be guided by the commitments and ambitions set out in this strategy. It will set out specific actions for each area of this strategy, how we will achieve them and what we expect to see as a result.

We will also develop a number of enabling strategies to support our ambitions, which will set out the key things we need to do over the next five years. We will publish these strategies and hold ourselves to account for their delivery.

Perhaps most importantly, we will build this strategy into the work of every person and every team across the organisation.  This strategy will not be delivered without us all playing our part, through the decisions we make and the behaviours we demonstrate every day. This is a document to enable devolution, to guide decision making and to bind us together in the way we work and the goals we aspire to. We will work to make it a reality every day, in everything we do.

For a PDF of our strategy and an easy read version please visit this page.