Staff and patients at CHEC Worcester were celebrating this week after the community-based healthcare provider marked a whole year of working in partnership with the NHS to increase patient choice and reduce waiting times. 

Since first opening its doors at St. Martin’s Quarter in April 2023, CHEC Worcester has provided ophthalmology and gastroenterology services to more than 7,900 patients and completed over 1,200 cataract surgeries. The community hospital has also succeeded in consistently maintaining very low waiting times, with patients currently able to access treatment in up to one week. 

“It’s hard to believe it’s only a year ago that we welcomed our first patients to CHEC Worcester,” comments Kathryn Irving, Hospital Manager. “We’d like to thank the local community for choosing CHEC, trusting us to deliver the highest standards of care, and for joining us to celebrate our first anniversary this week!” 

Over the last 12 months, CHEC Worcester has pioneered a series of initiatives that make it easier for patients to access its community-based healthcare services. These include a free Home to Hospital™ pick up service and an online patient booking app. 

“Patient choice and reducing waiting times are at the forefront of the NHS agenda. Working in partnership with the NHS, we constantly look for new ways to make it easier for patients to exercise that choice and access the treatment they need,” continues Kathryn. 

CHEC has established a stronghold for community healthcare provision across the West Midlands region, with hospitals in Coventry and Stoke, and a new site confirmed to open in Kings Norton. Throughout the UK, CHEC now has more than 20 hospitals.

CHEC, one of the UK’s leading providers of community healthcare, has bolstered its online presence with a new website that is designed to meet patient needs, improve user experience and present expanded service offerings.

The recently launched website has introduced accessibility features to ensure anyone with eyesight conditions can easily navigate content and access the information they need. Enhancements include advanced font functionality to adjust the size of on-screen text and improved contrast sensitivity.

Quick links and enhanced search functions have also been embedded, making it easier for all users to navigate the online hub. The community healthcare provider has also facilitated two way communication with patients, by enabling feedback to be shared through the site.

For ophthalmology professionals, CHEC has simplified access to resources such as online and in person CPD training events, while all referral pathways can now be accessed directly from the homepage.

To better reflect the expanded services available, the new website has a dedicated area for gastroenterology, offering patients and professionals comprehensive information about available treatments and procedures.

“CHEC has always centred on community, and as we continue to invest in expansion, patient care remains at the heart of everything we do,” explains Jose Bailey, CHEC Chief Commercial Officer. “It was crucial for us to ensure the new website not only reflects our growth as a business, but is functional and accessible for those who need us most.”

CHEC, one of the UK’s leading providers of community healthcare, was celebrating earlier this month after treating the 3,000th patient at its Preston hospital, just three years after opening its doors. 

Working in partnership with NHS England, CHEC Preston gives local residents increased choice and improved access to ophthalmology services in the community. Julie Jemmett from Chorley went home with the title of 3,000th patient after having cataract surgery with CHEC. 

Based in Broughton Business Park, Fulwood, CHEC Preston opened its services to the local community and surrounding areas in 2021. Since then, thousands of patients have chosen CHEC Preston as their community eye hospital of choice. 

Antonia Fox, Hospital Manager, said: “Our patients are at the heart of everything we do. And what a truly magical moment to be there when Julie became our 3,000th patient in just over three years. Thank you, Julie, and thank you to the whole CHEC team for everything you do, everyday!”

Headquartered in Preston, CHEC has more than 20 hospitals UK-wide, with a North West stronghold through its Preston, Blackpool and Accrington hospitals. 

Ruth Edwards, MP for Rushcliffe, recently visited CHEC Nottingham, a community ophthalmology and gastroenterology hospital to understand more about how its service helps relieve the pressure of waiting times on the NHS. 

CHEC, an independent, community provider working in partnership with Nottingham University Hospitals, and in conjunction with the Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board (ICB), has developed a model which enables patients to be seen in as little as one week, dramatically enhancing the quality of life of Nottingham residents. Since CHEC Nottingham opened in 2021, it has treated more than 30,000 patients in both ophthalmology and gastroenterology specialisms, with an average wait time of 3 weeks.

Ms Edwards was invited to attend CHEC’s hospital, located on Nuthall Road in Aspley, to meet its clinical and management team and gain a first-hand insight into the benefits of community healthcare, including improved patient choice, increased accessibility and shorter waiting times. 

Ms Edwards said of her visit to the hospital: “It was great to see the fantastic facilities at the community healthcare clinic in Nottingham as well as the enthusiasm and professionalism of the team. I am delighted that this service is available to people in Rushcliffe via the NHS and that GPs across the county can refer patients to it.”

Ophthalmology is a crucial service for diagnosing, treating and managing general eye conditions as well as more serious issues including glaucoma and cataracts, while gastroenterology focuses on the body’s digestive system. 

The introduction of community providers such as CHEC has seen positive results in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In ophthalmology specifically, total activity was up more than 15 per cent in 2023 compared to 2019 – and average waits are down by as much as two weeks.

CHEC, one of the UK’s leading providers of community healthcare, has marked a clinical milestone this week after treating its first surgical eye patients at the recently opened Centre Park site. 

One of the first patients to benefit from CHEC’s community cataract procedures was Brian Larkin, aged 74. 

When asked about his experience at the CHEC Warrington hospital, Brian said: “Having been referred to CHEC by my optician, I was offered a quick appointment date. When attending on surgery day, the theatre was spotless, and the surgery was painless. The whole experience was great, and the team were friendly and efficient.” 

Working in partnership with the NHS, CHEC is helping to reduce waiting times in Warrington and the surrounding areas by making essential treatments more accessible in the community. 

The new Warrington hospital will support the NHS in reducing waiting times for ophthalmology by treating patients within four weeks of a referral being received.

Lauren Puckering, Hospital Manager for CHEC Warrington, said: “Patient choice and care are front and centre of our operations at CHEC, and we’ve developed a wide range of initiatives to make it easier for people to access the healthcare services they need. But the most rewarding part is seeing the impact our community-based healthcare has on people like Brian.” 

Andy Carter, MP for Warrington South, has officially opened a brand new community ophthalmology hospital which promises to improve patient choice in the area. 

CHEC, an independent provider working in partnership with the NHS, is now available to provide ophthalmology services to patients from its location at Centre Park. Its community approach to healthcare provision enables patients to be seen for vital procedures in as little as one week, dramatically enhancing their quality of life.

Elsewhere in the North West, CHEC Accrington has delivered ophthalmology services to more than 3,100 patients since it opened just over a year ago, having completed over 700 cataract surgeries with an average wait time of just a week. 

Mr Carter was invited to attend CHEC’s new hospital – located in Phoenix House, just south of central Warrington – to meet its team and gain a first-hand insight into the benefits of community healthcare, including improved patient choice, increased accessibility and shorter waiting times. 

Lauren Puckering, Hospital Manager for CHEC Warrington, said: “We’re delighted to have marked the opening of our new hospital with a visit from Mr Carter MP, knowing he is as committed as we are to supporting residents in the area to access vital healthcare quickly and easily. In bringing our hospital to Warrington, we are playing a key role in improving patient choice and reducing waiting times for procedures which, once complete, transform a person’s wellbeing. Those in the area requiring ophthalmology support should speak to their optician, GP or hospital and discuss the option to be referred to CHEC Warrington – it’s a step thousands of people around the country have already taken, with amazing outcomes for all.”

Mr Carter MP said of his visit to the hospital: “I welcome CHEC’s decision to open a new centre in Warrington. I’ve long argued for better healthcare facilities in our area and CHEC’s relationship with the NHS and their commitment to providing timely and patient focused treatment is really evident at their clinic.

“Patient choice gives NHS patients who need treatment the ability to choose where they go to see a consultant and where procedures are carried out. More providers means more choice and faster treatment for both diagnostic procedures and eye care.” Ophthalmology is a crucial service for diagnosing, treating and managing general eye conditions as well as more serious issues including glaucoma and cataracts. The introduction of community providers such as CHEC has seen positive results in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In ophthalmology specifically, total activity was up more than 15 per cent in 2023 as compared to 2019 – and average waits are down by as much as two weeks.

CHEC has achieved Investors in People status, with its company values and culture pinpointed as being fundamental to the company’s success. 

Achieving the accreditation for the first time since it was established in 2012, CHEC has been recognised for its ability to lead and inspire team members; deliver a structured programme of work with ongoing performance management; achieve continuous improvement and create sustainable success. 

Specific feedback included that team members are ‘overwhelmingly happy and proud to be a part of the organisation’, seeing CHEC as ‘a long-term employer with whom they want to develop their career well into the future’. Assessors noted the ‘close-knit community feel of CHEC’, and described it as a place where feedback is always ‘constructive and positive’.

For more than a decade, CHEC has been working in partnership with the NHS to increase patient choice and provide access to timely care and treatment locally. Through its community hospitals nationwide, CHEC makes specialist eyecare and gastroenterology services more readily accessible in local communities by offering patients greater flexibility and reduced waiting times. In 2022/23, CHEC consulted over 335,000 patients, with an average referral to treatment time of less than four weeks.

In the last 12 months, CHEC has increased its number of sites nationally from 14 to 21, creating 135 new jobs; has appointed to various positions in its senior leadership team, and has launched an enhanced market strategy which brings with it an improved business structure and a broader range of development opportunities for the CHEC team.

Amanda Williams, Chief People Officer for CHEC, said of the accreditation: “People are at the heart of what we do. Our company mission originates in improving patient choice and wellbeing, but we know that to achieve that we must focus much of our attention on our team, ensuring they’re happy, safe and supported at work.

“Achieving Investors in People status proves we are getting that right. The feedback from our assessors is that we are clear in our company objectives, and that we work collectively – as team – to achieve them; that our values of care, passion, togetherness, listening and focus are embedded at every level of the organisation; and that we give our people the information, authority, knowledge and skills to do their job well.

“As a relatively new organisation, we have areas we want to improve on as we move forward. This accreditation gives us the perfect springboard from which to make considered and strategic decisions which ensure our team continues to excel, collaborate and thrive during their time with us.”

Staff and patients at CHEC Stoke, the Outstanding CQC rated hospital, were celebrating after the community-based healthcare provider marked five years of working in partnership with the NHS to increase patient choice and reduce waiting times. 

“It’s hard to believe it’s five years ago that we welcomed our first patients to CHEC Stoke,” says Joshua Phillips, Hospital Manager. “We’d like to thank the local community for choosing CHEC, trusting us to deliver the highest standards of care, and for joining us to celebrate our fifth anniversary!” 

Since first opening its doors at the Parklands site in 2019, CHEC Stoke has provided ophthalmology services to more than 26,441 patients and completed over 13,888 cataract surgeries. The community hospital has also succeeded in consistently maintaining very low waiting times, with patients currently able to access treatment one week or less. 

“I’m so proud to be celebrating five years of CHEC Stoke, and to have been part of CHEC since 2018,” explains Kim Garrett, Deputy Hospital Manager. Since CHEC Stoke opened, Kim has undertaken various theatre roles, qualified as an Ophthalmic Scrub Assistant, and became Deputy Hospital Manager in 2023.

“To have the flagship site get to its fifth anniversary is a massive achievement and I’m delighted to be celebrating with our fantastic team,” Kim continues. “Thank you to Nick Brownfield, Waseem Qureshi, Tahira Rehman, Ruth Balliu, and Carolynne La’Course for their commitment to our hospital since its doors opened five years ago, and to the wider team who work so hard to provide our patients with the highest quality care.”

Over the last five years, CHEC Stoke has pioneered a series of initiatives that make it easier for patients to access its community-based healthcare services. These include a free Home to Hospital™ pick up service and an online patient booking app. 

“As we mark the fifth anniversary of CHEC Stoke, I’m overjoyed at the strides we’ve made and the lives we’ve touched,” comments Imran Rahman, CHEC CEO and Consultant Ophthalmologist. “From day one, our mission was clear: deliver healthcare with top-tier medical expertise, compassion, and innovation. Today, I can proudly say, mission accomplished, and with CQC Outstanding cementing that thought!”

“Our stellar team has not only delivered exceptional patient care but also embraced innovation with open arms. Cutting-edge tech, data-driven solutions – we’re not just keeping up; we’re setting the pace,” continues Imran. “Huge thanks to our Stoke family – staff, healthcare heroes, partners, and our amazing patients. You’ve all been instrumental in making CHEC Stoke the success it is today.”

CHEC has established a stronghold for community healthcare provision across the Central England region with hospitals in Coventry and Nottingham. Throughout the UK, CHEC now has more than 20 hospitals.  

“As we celebrate, let’s look to the future with excitement,” concludes Imran. “The next five years promise even more groundbreaking innovation and unwavering dedication to our community. Thank you for being part of our incredible journey.”