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Patients will benefit from our community services teams for another five years!

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We're delighted to share with you that patients will continue to benefit from our community services for another five years. Earlier this month the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) extended our contract to provide Community Services across County Durham and Darlington, for a further five years - until September 2028.

This decision reflects the hard work and innovation of all those working in our community services teams over the past five years. This contract renewal reflects the excellent care you give our patients and we're enormously grateful to you.

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Commenting, Malcolm Walker, Associate Director of Operations for Community Services, said: "I would like to congratulate every individual working in our community teams - the contract renewal is testament to your dedication to our patients, the majority of whom are frail, many with complex needs. You provide the very best care against many challenges, not least the sheer scale and nature of the geography we cover through all weathers.

"From the five Community Hospital wards we provide over 100 rehab beds that are a vital link between the Trust acute services and patients returning to the community. You provide clinic services all across County Durham and Darlington that ensure equitable access for all patients, and where needed you are welcomed into hundreds of patients homes every day.

"Over the course of the 5 years, we have added a number of services to our portfolio thanks to investment by the ICB and the Trust and developed many more, resulting in the Care Group growing to an employed workforce of 1,350 whole time equivalent staff.

"You have also shown creativity, improving and developing services in line with the needs of our patients and embracing opportunities - such as digital options. As a result your work has reduced waiting times for patients, improved crisis response to under 2 hours, increased therapy support to improve rehabilitation, improved access to equipment, all ultimately supporting patients to age well in their own homes for longer.

"The feedback from you through the Staff Survey is very positive regarding being a part of Community Services, and I hope that we can build further on that over the next 5 years to continue to deliver the service that we are all proud of.

"Over the coming weeks, the bulletin will run profiles of some of our amazing teams."

'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham