Enabling strategies

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Underpinning our five strategic ambitions are seven enabling strategies which feed into all aspects of the Trust’s work, providing a critical link between our overarching ambitions and their delivery.


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Ensuring the delivery of the highest quality of care to our patients and their families.

Providing the highest quality of care is at the heart of all that we do, as recognised by the Care Quality Commission, who rated us as ‘Outstanding’.

We pride ourselves on meeting the highest possible standards for patient safety, experience and outcomes. We consistently achieve excellent clinical outcomes, as demonstrated by national benchmarking for:

  • Trauma (TARN, as part of the Major Trauma Collaborative with Liverpool University Hospitals)
  • Spinal (Spine Tango, British Spine Registry)
  • Functional neurosurgery (DBS)
  • Critical care (ICNARC)
  • Skull base surgery (vestibular schwannoma and pituitary)
  • Shunts (National Shunt Registry)
  • Vascular (AVM registry)
  • Cancer pain (National Cordotomy Registry)
  • National Neurosurgical Audit Programme

We believe that it is essential to measure patient outcomes so that we can assure ourselves, our patients and the regulators that we provide the highest standard of care and that we are constantly striving to improve.


Over the next three years, we will continue to provide excellent care and support to patients with acute and long-term neurological/ neurosurgical conditions, and we will  build on and improve the current service models.


Our core clinical services are neurology, neurosurgery, spinal surgery, pain, rehabilitation, and interventional radiology. We will engage with patients and families to improve the information they receive at the point of diagnosis of a long-term condition, and after diagnosis when they feel ready to know more about their condition.

We treat patients with any neurological condition, from the very common to the very rare. We provide the same high-quality service for all conditions, to ensure that each of our patients is treated according to their individual needs.

Our services for patients with very rare conditions continue to grow as medical knowledge increases, for example in neurogenetics. We currently provide two national services, and we will further embed and develop these. We are the Centre for the North of England for Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO), which is now a well-established multidisciplinary service for this rare neurological condition. We have recently become the second centre in England to use MRI-guided focused ultrasound thalamotomy for essential tremor. This
provides the opportunity for life-changing treatment for many patients with this disabling condition, as part of an integrated multidisciplinary movement disorders service. We will embed this service so that people living in the north of England can access this treatment. Our functional neurosurgery service will further expand the availability of treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and pain.

Our multidisciplinary vascular service provides unrivalled quality of care for patients with serious vascular conditions such as stroke, brain aneurysms and vascular malformations, and achieves excellent patient outcomes. We will further develop this service to ensure that as many patients as possible will benefit from these innovative treatments.

Read the Quality Substrategy here





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Committed to a safe, healthy and productive workplace that promotes diversity of thought, heritage and social background.

We will recruit and retain the best people, prioritise the health and wellbeing of our workforce, and provide training opportunities for all staff.

Our people are fundamental to the delivery of high-quality healthcare at The Walton Centre. We want our staff to feel valued and supported, and to create the conditions for them to deliver the highest possible
standard of healthcare.

We want to attract the very best talent to our centre of excellence and be recognised as being a great place to work. We will build upon our well-established staff health and wellbeing programme, with a renewed focus on psychological support for our staff.


Our staff will be supported to develop, to have a voice that counts in the organisation, and encouraged by a culture of engagement, listening and action.


We will strive to maintain our industry standard Gold accreditation by Investors in People, and aim to become the first NHS trust to achieve Platinum status.

It is important that we attract, develop and celebrate a diverse workforce. It is essential that all staff feel comfortable to bring their whole selves to work. We will continue to wholeheartedly commit to the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda. We have developed the Strategic Black and Minority Ethnic Group, which reports directly to Trust Board, and have formed a workforce disability group. We will continue to learn and develop in this area and will achieve improved scores in the WRES (Workforce Race Equality Standard) and WDES (Workforce Disability Equality Standard) year on year.

The NHS Staff Survey

The NHS Staff Survey offers a snapshot in time of how people experience their working lives, gathered at the same time each year. The results help inform improvements in staff experience and wellbeing. The health and wellbeing of staff is front and centre of The Walton Centre’s Staff Survey action plan.

The NHS Staff Survey has nine themes:

  • Compassionate and inclusive
  • Recognised and rewarded
  • A voice that counts
  • Safe and healthy
  • Work flexibly
  • Teamworking
  • Staff engagement
  • Morale
  • Always learning

Our ambition is to continually improve scores across all themes.

Read the People Substrategy here.

Estates, facilities and sustainability

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Estates and facilities are fundamental to the operational management of the Trust and form part of a multidisciplinary approach to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe and comfortable within the environment.

The NHS produces approximately 5.4% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of UK public sector emissions. On a global level, healthcare generates so much carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) that if it were a country, it would be the world’s fifth biggest polluter.

Climate change is the greatest health threat facing the world. However, it also offers the greatest opportunity for us to redefine the social and environmental determinants of health to provide sustainable health services across Cheshire and Merseyside and to deliver the ambitions set out in Delivering a Net Zero National Health Service.

In developing a comprehensive Sustainability Plan, The Walton Centre will strive to exceed the emission reduction targets set by the Government and the NHS. We will develop an ‘Estates, facilities and sustainability sub-strategy’ to meet the needs of future developments.

As an organisation, we acknowledge the impact we have on the environment and are therefore committed to continuing the work to actively reduce the Trust’s carbon footprint.

We are therefore investing significant funds in plant replacement and the introduction of new technology which will deliver reductions in the organisation’s carbon footprint.

As part of the Sustainability Plan, all areas within the Trust will be required to embed carbon reduction into their day-to- day activities and business planning processes.

Our work in sustainability is critical in achieving our ambitions to be an Anchor Institution. The Walton Centre aspires to work with local suppliers and businesses to grow the local economy. The Trust will review all its supply chains with the intention of sourcing locally and sustainably thus reducing our carbon footprint.

The Walton Centre plans to focus on the following initiatives:

  • Estates and facilities
  • Travel and transport
  • Medicines
  • Theatres/Anaesthetics
  • Digital systems

Read the Estates and Facilities substrategy here.

Finance and commercial development


We will maximise use of resources, improve productivity and develop market opportunities to deliver best value for the Trust, the public, and the wider system.

Cheshire and Merseyside and the wider health system are facing unprecedented financial challenges. The Walton Centre has continued to perform well financially, delivering against the targets set by the Health and Care Partnership, and as a result, bringing additional income into the region. The Trust will continue to strive to meet the ongoing financial challenges and to perform well through efficiency to achieve the best value in its use of funding. We aim to maintain the highest rating of level 1 on the System Oversight Framework (SOF).

We will work with our partners in health and social care as a member of the Cheshire and Merseyside ICS to achieve financial stability across the region. In working to deliver the best value services, we will focus on service transformation and maximising productivity, while ensuring high-quality care and using resources responsibly.

We will review service development opportunities across Cheshire, Merseyside and, beyond that, ensure our services are known and recognised, so that all patients who require our expertise can access this. We will explore non-NHS opportunities to diversify income. All income generated through these areas will be invested directly into patient care. The Trust will look to partner across corporate services to maximise scale and efficiency. For example, through Health Procurement Liverpool, the Trust has partnered with other specialist trusts on procurement services to provide scale and opportunity across purchasing and contract management, which delivers greater benefits across the partners.

Making use of digital initiatives and artificial intelligence within corporate services will help to streamline workflows and generate efficiencies that can help us achieve the savings that will be required to deliver financial stability.

The Trust will ensure it gets maximum return on capital investments, as capital resources become more constrained in the Cheshire and Merseyside system. We will use rigorous business case processes to ensure that investments are prioritised and sound investment decisions are made, that not only make best use of resources, but maximise benefits to our patients and staff.

The implementation of the Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board provides The Walton Centre with an opportunity to influence the development of neuroscience care across the region. As the single provider of neuroscience services, the Trust is in an excellent position to help its acute hospital partners to manage some of their ongoing pressures following the pandemic.

Being the clinical leader for neuroscience care in the region, we can have an impact on how patients are cared for in the community and secondary care, and can directly help reduce hospital admissions, length of stay and unnecessary investigations. Through this influence on the wider delivery of neuroscience services, The Walton Centre can help to deliver best value to the health system through our clinical model and ongoing innovative approach to patient care.

Read the Finance and Commercial Development Substrategy here.

Communications and marketing

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We will engage with the wider health and care system, raising the profile of The Walton Centre, ensuring that patients, families and staff receive the best quality information.

As a specialist neuroscience hospital, there is a strong clinical focus in our specialties, excellent clinical outcomes and experiences for our patients and a positive working environment for staff. It is essential that The Walton Centre has a strong brand, to ensure maximum recognition locally, regionally and nationally for the benefit of patients, family and friends, staff and our stakeholders.

A strong brand supports research funding and investment, recruitment and retention and the work of The Walton Centre Charity, as well as providing reassurance to patients and the wider community about the Trust’s status as the best place to receive treatment and care for neurological, neurosurgical, spinal, pain and rehabilitation services.

We want to raise the profile of The Walton Centre as a nationally leading trust, and as a trusted voice in neuroscience both regionally and nationally. Internally, we will ensure that staff are communicated with effectively and efficiently and are able to participate in two-way communication and engagement, at all levels of the organisation.

We will work to ensure that all interactions with The Walton Centre, whether as a patient, family member, visitor, stakeholder or staff member are of the highest standard, through a focus on the different communication channels including printed staff and patient materials, the hospital environment, patient information, the recruitment process, fundraising, and digital, including the Trust website, social media and staff intranet.

Every contact with The Walton Centre should be professional, accessible, and engaging. We will work with teams across the Trust to improve processes and outputs where possible through communications – for example, the recruitment journey, patient communications, and the in-hospital experience.

Digital communication is an ever-growing and developing channel for patients, staff and stakeholders. The new Walton Centre website launched in September 2021 and has seen increased visitor numbers and accessibility ratings. We will continue to manage and enhance the website in line with the Trust’s strategy and objectives, national and local initiatives, and best practice. We will support the production of engaging online content (including exploration of webinars and podcasts) and explore emerging platforms, tools and technologies to ensure a positive and productive user experience.

Our focus on internal communications will ensure effective two-way communications and engagement with Trust staff, on-site partners, and volunteers to sustain an environment where staff feel informed, included and valued. As part of this, we will embed a new email marketing platform to improve the accessibility and engagement of internal emails. This will also feed into the development of alternative staff communications techniques for those staff for whom digital isn’t a best practice channel.

Read the Communications and Marketing substrategy here.



The Walton Centre Charity supports the vital work of the Trust by investing charitable funds in areas and projects that enhance patient, family and staff experience, treatment and care.

New fundraising opportunities and initiatives will focus on digital, social media and virtual platforms, and enable a more focused approach for digital income generation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a very different landscape in terms of how people work and socialise, and most aspects of the economy have been severely affected. The impact on income-generating potential will differ across income streams such as community, corporate and major donor fundraising. The Charity is therefore developing a new Fundraising Strategy that will take this into consideration.

New fundraising opportunities and initiatives will focus on digital, social media and virtual platforms, as well as offering hybrid event opportunities wherever possible. The new strategy will include a proposal for how to grow and develop the Fundraising Team to add skills and enable a more focused approach for digital income generation. Emphasis will be placed on ensuring that the Charity’s positive impact is shared both internally and externally in order to encourage further involvement and support for future fundraising.

Working closely with the Communications and Marketing Team, we will develop a plan to improve existing supporter journeys, as well as develop and implement new digital stewardship programmes. In addition, charitable fund application procedures will be reviewed in order to develop a comprehensive Grant Making Policy which will incorporate
assessment and prioritisation procedures for new projects, and impact reporting on initiatives funded.

The Fundraising Strategy will ensure the Charity can effectively contribute to the overall income of The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, supporting and enabling developments, particularly in innovation and research.


The Charity focuses on four key areas:

  • Improved environment and facilities for patients and their families
  • Innovation and new technology
  • Research and development
  • Enhanced staff training and wellbeing

Read the Charity substrategy here.


Digital 2

Industry leading digital solutions for our patients and our people.

We will harness the full potential of digital technologies, increase our digital maturity and prioritise digital inclusion. Technology can support more efficient, user-friendly ways of working. We will work to harness the full potential of digital technologies to modernise operations and drive performance improvements. We will work in collaboration with clinical and support staff to foster an environment that facilitates digital solutions.

The Trust is in the top 20% of NHS organisations in terms of digital maturity, with our recent achievement of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Stage 5 for Digital Maturity. We will work to achieve an even higher HIMSS level. We are part of the national Digital Aspirant programme, which helps NHS trusts raise their digital maturity by supporting organisations to deliver a set of core capabilities.

We are also committed to the national digital transformation agenda for the NHS, which is underpinned by seven pillars of ‘What Good Looks Like’:
1. Well-led
2. Ensure smart foundations
3. Safe practice
4. Support people
5. Empower citizens
6. Improve care
7. Healthy populations

We have combined all our portfolios and programmes into a virtual project management office, which enables visible assurance and governance against the digital transformation programme success measures. We will support both our staff and our patients and carers to thoroughly engage with the digitisation of services that can improve outcomes, experience and safety through the introduction of new tools and processes which will improve patient experience and efficiency of services.

The Trust will drive the digital agenda in the region it covers by leading on digital maturity, the green plan and interoperability on behalf of the Cheshire and Merseyside ICS. The Digital Team is actively involved in supporting digital enablement within the Liverpool community to ensure communities can access our digital services and that information is within easy reach of those who require it, be that a patient or carer.

Digital inclusion will be prioritised in all of our digital programmes and initiatives, to ensure either help is given to patients, be that hardware, software or training, or to provide a non-digital equivalent, to enable equity across our population.

Page last updated: 17 May 2023