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Embracing change to deliver greater social value

Published February 2023

1. Welcome from our Chief Executive

Welcome to our social impact report for 2023. This report sets out the value we bring to the communities we serve. It shows where, in the last year, our teams have gone above and beyond, where we feel we’ve really given something back, and where we feel we’re making a real difference.

As a community interest company (CIC), we keep social value at our core.

This means we always strive to achieve wider social, economic, and environmental benefits through our work and through partnering with other organisations. It also links to our wider strategy of improving outcomes for all: whether it’s setting up incontinence clinics for Somali women in Bristol, driving up cancer screening awareness among Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities in South Gloucestershire, or supplying free period projects to people across North Somerset, when we say improved outcomes for all, we mean it.

Improving outcomes for all is our absolute commitment, with “all” really meaning “all”, and we know we have much to do to improve our equality, diversity, and inclusivity both within the organisation and for people accessing our services. This is being led by our Chief People & Culture Officer Sonya Wallbank and we are building a team to lead this programme which will run in parallel with the health inequalities & access work led by Penny Agent, our Chief AHP and Therapy Officer. As well as working in our localities, our staff also live in and around the BNSSG region. They are an important part of all the communities that we share, spending money, going to community groups, supporting local businesses, and nurturing bonds throughout our region.

As an organisation we recently launched a volunteering initiative whereby colleagues can spend a day or night volunteering for a local charity or community group of their choosing while still being paid. This means we can forge greater bonds with such groups in our area, help people in our communities, and support colleagues to give something back. Sirona is increasingly embedded in our communities both in working hours and outside, and we love being a part of the places we love and call home.

Over the last 18 months we’ve done a huge amount to develop new clinical models and services, but we still have a big piece of work to do as we move forward to optimise our operating model so we can provide even better care and support with improved outcomes in a more cost-effective way.

It will be important that we measure and monitor our progress to improve outcomes and we are developing plans to ensure we concentrate on less priorities, but with a laser focus on areas that help us develop new ways of working. This will strengthen our offer and enable to be as efficient as possible while maximising the use of technology and lean processes.

Technology will be key as we move forward with this approach, and 2023 was a year of technological progress throughout our organisation. For example, we launched a new wound care app, which allows us to monitor wounds remotely and implement care plans all while keeping people at home. We launched our on-demand British Sign Language interpreting service, improving our communication with people who are deaf or hearing-impaired. And we launched Chat Health, a confidential texting service for secondary school-aged children, meaning young people can get advice on mental health, healthy eating, sexual health, and more, all from their mobile phones. Together, these innovations, and others, mean we can continue to provide the right care at the right time at the right place.

Finally, I want to give a special mention to the Sirona Foundation, our charitable arm which supports projects that enhance health and social care services across our region. It continues to do incredible work and I know 2024 will be an even bigger year for the Foundation and Sirona as a whole.

Of course, we’re always looking for ways to improve, so if you wish to comment on any of our initiatives or have any ideas on how we can give even more back to our communities, please do get in touch.

Sue Porto

Sue Porto

Sue Porto, Chief Executive

2. Introduction to social value

Social value is a long-term, ongoing commitment to achieving wider social, economic, and environmental benefits through our work. This report details just some of the ways we’ve added social value to our communities and the impact this has had on our future plans.

Due to the wide and diverse range of our activities, it is not possible to report on all we do, so instead we have focussed on a representative sample of the initiatives and approaches we have developed and delivered.

We know the work we do creates different outcomes and means different things to different people. The value that others place on these changes helps us decide how to build on these, and we use feedback to enable us to make these decisions. If you wish to comment on any of our initiatives or have any ideas on how we can better serve our communities, please contact

2.1 The Sirona Foundation

The Sirona Foundation is our charitable arm which supports the health and wellbeing of communities, especially in areas we serve. The Foundation’s purpose is to fund equipment or projects that enhance health and social care services, so that local people using these services can maintain their independence, continue with their daily lives, and achieve the best possible health and wellbeing.

One partner the Sirona Foundation has supported is the Grace Period Project, which supplies free period products to over 60 people across North Somerset each month. Each bag contains a month’s supply of free tampons and pads, plus intimate cleaning wipes and some tea and chocolate.

“We want each bag to feel like a care package and we hope that when people collect their Grace bag, their period no longer feels like an additional pressure and instead is something to be celebrated. With the support from the Sirona Foundation, we plan to expand our support across North Somerset to raise awareness about period poverty and reduce the stigma around periods.”

The Foundation also funds a Secret Santa initiative for vulnerable people who use our services during the festive period, with recipients nominated by colleagues from across our organisation. The idea came from staff and has been funded by the Foundation for over five years. Last year, a variety of gifts were donated, including toys, blankets, coats, flowers, food hampers. The purpose is to ensure that those in need know that someone is thinking about them at a special time of year.
As well as supporting all these projects and more, the Sirona Foundation has a new website to showcase its work and enable more people to get involved and support its work.


The Sirona Foundation’s Secret Santa initiative ensures that those in need know someone is thinking about them during the festive season

Baby Hub

The Sirona Foundation is key in giving back to our communities

2023 Grants awarded: Estimated reach: 7,991 people



April 2023


June 2023


Auguest 2023


Auguest 2023



3. Embracing change

The Covid-19 pandemic saw us all embrace new technologies. For us that progress hasn’t stopped: we continue to change the way we work to improve the support for people in our care.

This year we launched a new online presence for our children’s services. This project, which means the phasing out of the old Children’s Community Health Partnership (CCHP) name, was co-produced with parent carers, clinicians, Local Authority colleagues, children and young people to ensure it met the needs of all those groups.

It is also supported by Reachdeck, our all-in-one digital inclusion tool which improves accessibility for website visitors by enabling screen-reading technology and text size options, among others, as well as translation into more than 100 languages.

Separately, we launched a series of QR code posters. These posters display a series of QR codes, each of which takes users to their chosen medical leaflet online. This helps us to reduce paper use, as well as cutting supply chain contributors such as the costs and carbon emissions associated with transporting physical leaflets. It improves our accessibility, too, as the digital leaflets can be used with screen readers and other such assistive technology. This ensures we are as inclusive as possible and includes ensuring printed leaflets remain available for those with difficulty using or accessing smartphones.

All of this is reflected in our data, which shows that for certain services a higher proportion of contacts are now taking place remotely and that this has had a positive impact on the overall number of people we are able to support:
Website statistics

3.1 Chat health

This confidential texting service for secondary-school-aged children and young people across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire has proved extremely popular with more than 400 conversations taking place to date. The service covers a range of topics that includes mental health, bullying, sexual health & relationships, healthy eating, body image, drugs & alcohol, and self-harm.

“It was so helpful to get this support as I was so very worried, but everyone was kind and understanding”

A 15-year-old young person recently shared her experience after she was worried she could be pregnant.

3.2 Step programme

This year we launched Step (Start Today Exercise Programme), a home exercise plan to keep older people moving and ageing well. Aimed at people who find it difficult to get out and about, the exercises can be done in just five minutes from the comfort of an individual’s chair. To demonstrate the exercises, we produced a series of animations which people can follow from home via YouTube.

3.3 app

The wound care app uses smartphone technology to speed up documentation, take clinically accurate measurements, and, using photographs, track wound healing over time.

When a wound is deteriorating or stagnating, the app notifies those caring for the user. This allows colleagues to review wounds and put treatment plans in place, so people get the right treatments quickly.

This tool has been piloted in locality teams throughout this year and has been shown to promote evidence-based practice and reduced healing times for people in our care. The app will now be rolled out to teams across the organisation to allow people across the area to access this improved care.


Digital leaflets ensure we are as inclusive as possible

Screen grab

Chat Health has proved very popular and helped young people across our region

Wound Care

The wound care app is a prime example of us embracing technology to achieve better outcomes for all

Website statistics



total website page views this year to date (across CCHP and Sirona)


total website users this year to date (across CCHP and Sirona)


approx. people have used our all-in-one digital inclusion tool Reachdeck this year to date


people have used our accessible leaflet library this year to date, reducing paper use and helping more people access the right information

4. Working with our communities

We work hard to ensure we are in touch with all our communities in the way that suits them best.

For example, our Health Links team, which provides interpretation and outreach to communities in inner-city and east Bristol, put on events attended by over 1,000 people this year. Those events included education and advice on a wide range of topics, from dental care to sexual health to autism to covid and much, much more in between. It also included activities and group sessions to promote wellbeing, such as fishing and badminton sessions.

We also try to use local organisations, including, for example, local community spaces, where possible. In total during the 2022/23 financial year, we spent £31 million on local services, including £462,000 on local venues.
Using community spaces is part of our approach to add local value.

4.1 Incontinence outreach to Somali women

A specific project launched by the Health Links team this year focused on expanding support for Somali women experiencing bladder and bowel issues. In partnership with Bristol Health Partners’ Bladder and Bowel Confidence (BABCON) Health Integration Team (HIT), our Health Links team invited Somali women to workshops to share what specific challenges they faced accessing support for incontinence, and how they could be better supported. These sessions included a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist giving information and guidance about our Bladder and Bowel Service.
Feedback showed stigma around bladder and bowel issues meant women were reluctant to discuss their problems with their GP, or even family and friends. They also highlighted practical concerns, such as a language barrier when an interpreter wasn’t available, and not having a clinic near to where they live. The feedback led to an animation and leaflets specifically for women in the Somali community and it is linked to a dedicated clinic in East Bristol for all women.

We’ve had over 1 million contacts with our communities over the past year:

Sirona contacts

4.2 Baby hubs

As part of the Public Health Nursing Service transformation, 40 baby hubs are available across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, many in partnership with local Children’s Centres and Family Hubs, with the aim of building community capacity and adding social value to the communities that we serve.

The focus of the hubs is to provide a friendly, safe and welcoming local community space which parents can attend with their children, find support, use calibrated weighing scales and swap experiences about their parenting journey. The hubs are community spaces where up-to-date, evidence-based, unbiased information can be found and where supportive relationships with practitioners and other parents can be formed.

The social nature of the baby hubs provides an opportunity to deliver a pro-active, family-centred model of community support which builds parental confidence and self-efficacy around their relationship with their baby. Parents are encouraged to share their experiences and adopt a reflective and compassionate approach to the challenges that come with parenthood.

The baby hub model is an approach to community-based support based on a published systemic review of the evidence for child health clinics (Webb 2015). There are plans to update the evidence review and undertake further evaluative research in this important area of public health work. The Public Health Nursing Service will continue to be responsive to emerging research and feedback from families to continually improve the quality and efficacy of this community offer.



of colleagues had either received or booked their autumn 2023 flu vaccine


of colleagues had either received or booked their autumn 2023 covid-19 vaccine

5. Partnerships and Communities

We continue to work closely with the VCSE (voluntary, community, and social enterprise) sector.

Through our partner organisations, we encourage supporting priority groups, strategic fundraising, peer support within communities, sharing of experiences, co-design of services with the people who use them, and trusting relationships.
Through these programmes we aim to reduce health inequalities and promote better outcomes for all.

We are currently working with VCSE partners to develop a framework for how we work together in the years ahead.

5.1 Stroke reading service

One such partnership is with Interact, a charity that employs some 160 actors to read to people recovering from stroke. The service, which we employ in our stroke rehabilitation unit at South Bristol Community Hospital, provides non-medical stimulation and company to people who, in some cases, can no longer read by themselves. It helps us ensure we give the best care possible, no matter what form that care takes.

5.2 Partnership with British Red Cross

The Haven is our specialist community healthcare service for asylum seekers and refugees who are new to Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. Increasing use of temporary hotel accommodation for asylum seekers has led to significantly increased demand in the region, meaning the Haven is often the first service to contact new arrivals.
This led to challenges, including initial health assessments being taken over by other, non-health related enquiries, resulting in longer appointments and waiting lists. As a result, and to improve provisions for new arrivals to the region, The Haven has partnered with the British Red Cross.

A project coordinator, funded by The Haven and employed by the Red Cross, is now working in designated hotels for asylum seekers in BNSSG for three days a week to provide advice and support to people on non-health related issues. This has included providing clothing referrals, mobile phones, bus passes, and other signposting.

This partnership has enabled The Haven clinicians to focus on identifying and addressing urgent health needs, while also ensuring people get the support they need in adjusting to life in the UK.



Initial assessments were completed between 1 May 2022 and 28 February 2023

6. Equalities

Reducing inequalities is a goal that runs through all our work. From the Health Links team improving access to healthcare for people whose first language isn’t English to our websites being built with accessibility in mind, every team ensures equality and improving outcomes for all is our focus.

Internally, we have a number of staff networks which continue to grow. The disability and long-term conditions network, LGBTQ+ network, and global majority network are true champions in their fields. Each of these aims to make Sirona a better place for colleagues and the people we look after.

6.1 Cancer screening awareness among GRT communities

Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities experience health inequalities. Our wellbeing leads are working with communities across Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire to help address these inequalities. This includes going to traveller sites to talk about cancer screening and other important health issues with the aim of breaking down barriers and supporting people to access care.

6.2 BSL interpreting service

This year we launched our on-demand British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting service, improving our accessibility for people who are deaf or hearing-impaired.

The service allows BSL users to instantly communicate with us by video, either remotely, or in-person with our colleagues. The new service is a big step towards improving access to our services and providing equity in communication.

We continue to offer in-person BSL interpretation where required, too.

6.3 Bristol race equality

Health inequalities also exist among black and minority ethnic (Bame) groups, and this forms a large part of our work to reduce inequalities. As part of this work, Dr Jo Brooks, a consultant community paediatrician, is on the Bristol Race Equality Steering Group.

The group, which was the first of its kind in the UK, was initially set up during the covid-19 pandemic with the aim of ensuring diverse communities have equal access to the vaccine and information around it. Since that groundbreaking work, which included busting all sorts of myths, the group has pivoted to tackling inequalities in maternity, where data shows women of colour experience worse outcomes than white women.

In this role, Dr Brooks has liaised with diverse communities around Bristol and the group will continue to tackle inequalities in all areas of healthcare.

6.4 Learning disability and autism liaison team

Our learning disability and autism liaison team help people with learning disabilities or autism in Southmead Hospital. They meet with carers, staff, and people with learning disabilities or autism, helping raise awareness and accessibility throughout the hospital, for example by providing training to colleagues and accessible information to patients. Since February 2023, they have been joined by Olivia, an expert by experience, who has helped improve our hospital passport system and our easy-read leaflets, among other achievements.

Staff numbers

Staff numbers

7. Children’s Services

Our children’s services this year have undergone a huge transformation with the roll-out of the baby hubs and new health visiting pathways co-produced with people and partners being launched early in 2024.

The new pathways have been developed with system partners as part of the Public Health Nursing Transformation, to align our services across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Health Visiting teams are currently taking part in training sessions to learn the new ways of working. The service is also moving to a new EMIS build and a standardised way of working. The roll-out and EMIS migration is due to be completed in February. Once the new ways of working have been embedded into the Health Visiting Service, the new pathways and support packages for the School Nursing Service will be rolled out in spring 2024.

7.1 Trainee paediatrician scoops two awards

Trainee community paediatrician Dr Saba Hussain won national and regional awards for her compassion and innovation. Dr Hussain has been training with us for the past five years, working at settings across Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.

She was named the best senior paediatric trainee in the Severn Deanery at the Paediatric Award for Training Achievements (Paftas). She also scooped the national Pafta senior trainee award from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

7.2 Lifetime

In a huge milestone, our Lifetime Service is celebrating 30 years of helping thousands of seriously ill children to receive the care they need at home, rather than in hospital.

The team provides a nursing and psychology service to children and young people with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions, and their families, across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. They enable children to live at home, attend school, and enjoy activities they would not normally be able to do if they had to remain in hospital.
To celebrate the Lifetime Service’s achievements, specialist children’s nurse Hannah Gordon was invited to WellChild’s annual awards ceremony to talk to the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, about her role.

She was chosen by WellChild to sit next to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, so she could share her passion for her invaluable work and promote the need for additional WellChild nursing posts.

Separately, two of our Community Public Health Practitioners were recognised at a Royal carol service to celebrate those who go above and beyond to help children and their families.

Katra Adeed and Amal Aden attended the Together at Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey in December along with midwives, health visitors, nursery teachers and community volunteers from across the UK.

The service was attended by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales, who were joined by Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and other members of the Royal Family.

Katra and Amal’s colleagues nominated them to be able to attend the event to highlight the invaluable contribution they make to families, communities, and the Health Visiting Service in Bristol.

Katra speaks Somali and Amal speaks Somali and Arabic, and they work alongside the Health Visiting teams to enable people who speak little or no English to access health services.

7.3 New children’s website

The Children’s Services section of our website has gone live following a large-scale, collaborative project to make our online presence more accessible to families and professionals in our communities.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved with the project and helped to shape the site.
Feedback from partners and service users has been very positive so far and the website will continue to evolve and improve: we continue to work with services to enhance the resources we offer to families and professionals.


The new children’s website was made with accessibility in mind

Since the new section went live, it has had 16,000 more page views, compared the same period last year.



Page views 2023


Page views 2022

People have also been looking at more pages…



Pages new site


Pages old site

…and people have also been staying on the site longer.



min/sec new site


min/sec old site

8. Care in the community – a selection of Adult Services

Our specialist services continue to focus on Home First, aimed at preventing people from needing hospital admission.

8.1 NHS@Home

NHS@Home is the virtual ward service for people who are acutely unwell. In essence, they can be monitored and get the safe and convenient care they need in their own homes.

The programme uses a mixture of digital vital sign and symptom monitoring – including a virtual ward approach with telephone and video support – and face-to-face visits from specialist teams. The specialist service is a collaboration between Sirona, North Bristol NHS Trust, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, and our technology partner Doccla. It has access to support from hospital consultants and enables health-care professionals from hospital and community to work collaboratively together, helping us achieve better outcomes for all.

“I thought, ‘What a good idea.’ I didn’t want to stay in hospital. When you’re at home, I think you recover better. You’re around friends and family, but you’re being looked after, you’re being monitored, so you’ve got that in the background and that helps – you know you’re being looked after.”

Anne Collins, virtual ward patient.

“I think I’ve recovered quicker as I feel more comfortable in my own surroundings, I’m able to rest in my own bed and I have my family around me. I am thrilled with the support I’ve received.”

Eileen, virtual ward patient.

8.2 Speech and Language Therapy care home advice tool

To help improve outcomes for people living in care homes, our Speech and Language Therapy team are developing an advice tool and online resource centre. The tool will offer advice for employees working in care homes based on their answers to questions about the residents in their care. It will also provide links to relevant resources to support them to improve a resident’s speech, language, communication and swallowing, and to manage their symptoms. Such a tool will, we hope, be a huge leap forward when it comes to delivering the best possible care as quickly as possible to people in care homes across our region.

9. Closing remarks

This report outlines the many services we offer to our people and communities, and we hope it has demonstrated how we strive to deliver a personal, caring and effective approach to healthcare and the social value we bring to all the people we come into contact with.

The Communications Team can help you to obtain a hard copy or a copy in a different format. Please contact us by emailing and we will be very happy to help you. If you’re viewing this on the website you can use the Browse Aloud tool which reads the website to you.

Download an interactive version of this document here.

Download an interactive version of this document here.