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Landmark moment for trust as it flies the ‘teaching hospital’ flag

Posted: 4 April 2022

Picture of celerbations of teaching hosptial trust
Today, Monday 4 April, marked a landmark moment in the history of West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust as it formally raised flags across hospital sites to launch its new status as West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The trust officially achieved its long-held ambition to become a ‘teaching hospital’ in December 2021. The title acknowledges the dedication of teams and individuals who have set the standard for many years delivering high quality teaching, learning, education and training across the workforce.

Dr Ashley Reece, director of medical education and honorary clinical associate professor UCL medical school, said: “Teaching and educating the next generation is part of our core business. It’s what we do, day in day out, supporting learners across every part of our organisation, on the wards and with on the job teaching and training.”

Teaching doesn’t just take place in classrooms. A ward-based paediatric simulation training programme runs in clinical areas giving all staff the opportunity to participate; the critical care unit runs courses to upskill medics on wards; and student nurses on placement provide care while learning on the job.

The trust is linked with many partner academic institutions and is involved in training medical students from University College London (UCL) and St George's University in Grenada. It is currently developing a partnership to train students from the medical school at Brunel University, London and already works with the universities of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. The trust also trains students from Cardiff, South Bank, City University London, and Suffolk universities in a wide range of nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare professions and roles.

Chief people officer Andrew McMenemy said: “Gaining ‘teaching hospital’ status is a real pinnacle of achievement for the organisation demonstrating how much importance we place on the development of our workforce, providing training, learning and education opportunities for all our staff. It speaks volumes to a culture that enables staff to be the best they can be in an environment that supports them to flourish.”

Medics and clinical staff learn from formal education and also from research. Teaching hospital status will help the trust to grow in this area and increase its research activity in collaboration with academic partners. Dr Ashley Reece said: “Research underpins excellent patient care helping us provide treatments based on reliable evidence of their effectiveness. It’s an important part of the ‘teaching hospital’ conversation and brings us to the forefront of medical and clinical developments.”

Chief executive Christine Allen said: “I’m delighted that the commitment of our staff to developing both our workforce and training the workforce of the future has been recognised with this change in status. It’s a real badge of honour for the organisation. It cements the reputation of the trust as a place that really cares for its staff which in turn will make West Herts an employer of choice. This will help us provide better patient care for the communities that we serve, which ultimately is what we’re here for.”

As a valued delivery partner of UCL's medical undergraduate programme, the trust is working with UCL's medical school to appoint a new non-executive director to join the West Herts board with special responsibility for this relationship.

Chairman Phil Townsend said: “Our change in status is clearly very important to the people we recruit or intend to recruit but it’s not just a change in name. It shows that we are an NHS trust that is committed to the future. All our staff and local communities should be very proud of what’s been achieved and very positive about the trust’s future.”
  1. Hear more about how West Herts gained ‘teaching hospital’ status in this podcast created by director of medical education Dr Ashley Reece.
  2. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: westherts.communications@nhs.net. For out of hours media enquiries please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  3. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  4. For more information about our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. You can also join our followers on Twitter (twitter.com/westhertsNHS) and find us on Facebook (facebook.com/westhertsNHS).