Martin Rayson

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Martin Rayson is the Director of HR and Organisational Development at the United Lincolnshire NHS Hospitals Trust


We’re starting the New Year in a healthy way in Lincolnshire’s hospitals, by turning all of our sites smokefree.

This means that from Monday, January 6, staff, patients and visitors to Lincoln, Boston and Grantham hospitals will no longer be able to smoke anywhere on hospital grounds, although e-cigarettes and vaping will still be permitted in outdoor areas.

We believe this is the right thing to do, because we want to provide a safer environment for everyone – promoting healthy lifestyle choices and reducing potential harm from exposure to second-hand smoke.

We know that there will be some who will be opposed to this change. We recognise that smoking is a personal choice, however we are a health-promoting organisation and feel it is our duty to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of all employees, patients and visitors. This was backed up by the majority of people who responded in the consultation exercise we undertook between March and August 2019.

Many of the people who use our services are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, such as pregnant women, babies, children and those with medical conditions. Evidence shows that even brief exposure to second-hand smoke can cause immediate harm to non-smokers.

Being completely smokefree reflects our commitment and responsibility for improving health and wellbeing, as well as being an expectation for all NHS organisations nationwide.

We will build on the work we already do and we will make sure that patients and staff will be fully supported to abstain from smoking during treatment, by being offered nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) as well as ongoing support.

So, from the beginning of January, anyone choosing to smoke on our sites will be politely asked to stop or move off site. There will be new signage, making it very clear to people what is expected of them and where they can and cannot smoke.

For more information visit the Smokefree ULHT pages of the ULHT website.

Martin Rayson is the Director of HR and Organisational Development at the United Lincolnshire NHS Hospitals Trust

It’s well documented that ULHT and indeed the NHS as a whole, is struggling to recruit.

On top of the national shortages, we often find it hard to attract new staff to our beautiful county. We have grown the number of posts in the trust to ensure we provide the best quality services for our patients. As a consequence, we have a large number of clinical vacancies (nurses, doctors and other health professionals), covered by high cost agency staff to maintain that quality of service.

It’s amidst this challenging climate that we have to think differently about how we recruit to our NHS and that is certainly what we are doing, with a number of different initiatives currently being trialled and implemented across the trust.

The Lincolnshire Talent Academy, first formed in June 2015 by ULHT to help attract school leavers into the NHS, is now recognised as a leading player in its field and has been supporting other trusts to develop their own regional academies across the country.

A first of its kind in the NHS, the Talent Academy is made up of health and care organisations across Lincolnshire, delivering work experience and NHS career pathway development opportunities for a range of clinical and non-clinical professions.

The Talent Academy has also been involved in a number of trailblazing recruitment initiatives for the trust, including the placement of nursing cadets, trainee nursing associates, developing the registered pharmacist, occupational therapy and physio apprenticeships and the Aspiring Medics and Dentists programmes. The latter hoping to attract the next new wave of hard to recruit medical personnel into the professions.

We are also delighted to be welcoming more than 90 newly qualified nurses into the trust as part of the 2019/20 cohort from the University of Lincoln. It’s always great to see our newly qualified nursing choosing ULHT to come to as a place to work and hope to retain as many as possible over the coming months and years as they progress in their careers.

Our strong links with the university are a key part of our recruitment strategy, as well as selling the many benefits of living and working in Lincolnshire, not least with the advent of the first cohort of Lincoln Medical School undergraduates embarking on their studies this year.

Our aim remains clear – to entice and secure a new generation into the NHS, to help bolster its future and keep this vital institution shining bright well into the 21st century.

Please visit our website www.ulh.nhs.uk and click on the ‘join us’ section to learn more about the trust and find out what opportunities we have to offer.

Martin Rayson is the Director of HR and Organisational Development at the United Lincolnshire NHS Hospitals Trust