Here at the Trust, we are always looking at ways to encourage colleagues to progress their careers as we know that this is good for their development and helps us retain our staff who are so important to us and you.

We have now created a career pathway for colleagues to realise their dream of becoming Registered Nurses by introducing the ‘Top-up’ Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship programme.

There is now the chance for our Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) to progress to the role of Nursing Associate (NA) before doing the ‘Top-up’ Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship programme and qualifying to become a Registered Nurse.

HCAs can initially undertake a two-year Trainee Nursing Associate (TNA) Programme to become a Nursing Associate.

Our NAs play a critical and valuable role in working together with nurses and integrated care teams to deliver safe quality care.

Nine NAs joined the ‘Top-up’ programme at the University of Wolverhampton last December and a further 10 have been recruited to start this July.

Good luck to all those who are due to start the programme. I am very proud of all my NA colleagues as I know they are passionate about their roles and the care they provide for our patients.

I see such enthusiasm from HCAs who are keen to develop and progress and we are so pleased that we can offer them the chance to become Registered Nurses by succeeding with the degree apprenticeship.

You can find out more about two of our NAs here – Anita Chant-Clift who was part of the first cohort to start the Top-up programme and Cheryl Walker who will start the programme in July.

You will see from their stories that nursing is in the blood and they have worked hard to fulfil their ambition of becoming Registered Nurses.

Last week, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff officially opened the £2 million Ophthalmology Unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH).

Part of the unit is the Cataract Suite, which has been named after Tony Barker in recognition of his 37 years continuous service as Honorary Treasurer of the League of Friends (LoF) of RSH.

The LoF donated nearly £200,000 towards medical equipment and clinical furnishing of the department and I would like to echo the words of the Baroness during the unveiling of a plaque when she said that the amount raised by the LoF was amazing.

The work of the LoF is incredible and they raise huge amounts thanks to the generosity of you all through your donations, legacies and fundraising events.

Thank you to the LoF and you for all that you do as we would not be able to have such wonderful facilities such as the Ophthalmology Unit without your support.