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Chief Executive's blog

Gavin Boyle

Gavin Boyle is Chief Executive of Derby Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, joining the Trust in March 2016.

“Working in the NHS is a huge privilege; there are a few walks of life where it is possible to make such a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s an institution I love and which I think distinguishes us as a nation and as a civilised society. I also believe that we have a responsibility to safeguard it for future generations.

My priorities are delivering the best possible patient care, enabling our people to play their part, working in partnership and being sustainable in improving the care for our community. 

I hope you’ll enjoy reading my regular blog and finding out more about the work of the Trust.  

gavin boyle signature


October 20th 2017

So, how did my Friday 13th night in the Hospital go? Well I’ll tell you in a minute. But first we started the week with some amazing news with our ED team being awarded the prestigious national Clinical Team of the Year award by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. This is particularly special because it’s 50 years since Emergency Medicine was first recognised as a speciality in its own right and the first time that this award has been given. It recognised not only quality of the multi-disciplinary clinical care given but also the team’s ceaseless innovation to improve patient care and how it supports its people. Well done to Dan Boden and his team this is a really special award for a group of very special people.

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October 6th 2017

Now, you might think that sitting in a Board meeting can be a bit dull but that certainly wasn’t the case this week. We got off to a flying start when the Trust’s Youth Forum came to talk to the Board on the serious issue of how young people who use our services, for long term conditions, transition from paediatric services to adult services.  

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September 29th 2017

You can call me a slacker but I like nothing better than to escape from the office and the seemingly endless meetings to spend a bit of time with colleagues on the frontline looking after our patients. So it was a pleasure this week to spend a morning in the Medical Assessment Unit at the front of the hospital with Matron Julie Campbell, Sister Dawn Wilkinson, Roger Stanworth, who is one of our Acute Physicians, and Gayle Cornes, from the Management Team in Medicine. 

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September 22nd 2017 

It’s been a jam-packed week but before I get into all of that I can’t help but mention the fabulous evening we had last Friday at our Celebrating Success awards at Pride Park stadium.  It was quite an event – much better than the Oscars!  It was a great opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to so many colleagues and teams who do amazing things for our patients, day in and day out.  It was a real celebration and I think everybody had a great time.  Before you ask, it was all funded through sponsorship and we’d love to build on this and hopefully encourage more of our colleagues to put themselves forward for an award next year.

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September 15th 2017

Today’s a real red letter day here at Derby Teaching Hospitals with our annual staff awards ceremony, Celebrating Success, taking place this evening – more of that later.  

It was a pleasure to catch up with Sam Thacker this week, who I’ve mentioned before in my blog.  Sam is a junior doctor in training who’s taken time out to be our first Medical Leadership Fellow.  He’s a bit of a trail blazer because we’ve not had this role before and Sam has really had to shape it himself.  It’s all about how we better support our doctors in training and help to engage them more in the running of the hospital.  He described how many more junior medical colleagues were getting involved in key decision making groups within the Trust particularly focused on improving safety and the quality of patient care.  Our junior doctors have a rich experience to help work out how we can change our services to deliver even better care.  I was delighted to hear that Sam is staying on in his role until August next year and we’ll be using that time to think about how we continue the great work that he’s started.  I’m looking forward to working a night shift with him as soon as we can get it arranged.  The plan would be to shadow him working in MAU and I’d also like to spend a little bit of time with our Hospital At Night team.  I can’t wait!  I’ll let you know when it’s happening.  


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September 8th 2017 


It’s been a special week here at Derby Teaching Hospitals with the launch of our Quality Strategy.  Blog readers will know that the ‘P’ in our PRIDE framework stands for ‘putting patients first’ and the Quality Strategy is the specific plan for how we intend to do just that.  It’s the steps we’ll take each year to achieve our ambition of delivering outstanding care for our patients. The Quality Strategy describes our plan to improve patient safety and experience, the effectiveness of our care and how well we’re organised to deliver it, while also making sure that when things do go wrong we learn and make changes to improve our care for the future.  Developing the Quality Strategy has been a huge piece of work led by our Chief Nurse and Medical Director, with the input of lots of colleagues around the Trust, and can be seen on our website.  All of us, whether working in a front-line clinical role or in a supporting function, such as myself, can make a contribution to improving the quality of our service. Every one of us has a part to play.



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September 1st 2017

Blog readers will know that training the health care professionals is a really important part of what we do as a teaching hospitals trust.  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we welcomed around 250 new doctors in training to the Trust and have spoken many times of our important relationships with universities of Nottingham and Derby to train our doctors, nurses and allied health professionals for the future.  However, our training activities aren’t solely focussed on clinical staff, as we have an active apprenticeship programme within the Trust and also support national training programmes for a range of non-clinical disciplines.  It was a pleasure this week to meet up with Mirjam Campman, who is a national finance trainee and is currently working as an assistant business unit accountant in medicine.  Mirjam is actually from the Netherlands but having worked in a number of international voluntary organisations was particularly attracted by the culture and values of the NHS in England.  I often say that everybody at DTHFT has a unique and individual part to play in delivering great care for our patients. This is of course highly apparent for those in front line clinical roles but people, including myself, in supporting functions, are equally committed to this aim.


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August 18th 2017

One of the most important things that we do as a hospital is to look after patients suffering with cancer. With that in mind, I was delighted to hear that Radio Derby were on hand to witness one of our patients mark the end of her radiotherapy treatment in style by ringing the newly installed End of Treatment Bell in Radiotherapy – more about them later. Fast forward to this morning, and myself, John Rivers, our chair, members of the executive team and Dr Amjad Peracha, who is the cancer lead for Urological services, went along to the Southern Derbyshire CCG board to take them through all of the work that we’ve done to streamline our pathways for treating cancer patients. We also outlined how we’ve increased capacity and strengthened important parts of our services, including surgery and imaging, so as to treat this group of patients in a more timely way. It was good to hear from Dr Peracha about the work that is being done, particularly in Urology, and to talk to commissioners about how we can work better with primary care and how GP’s could help us to improve our patients’ access to this service. All in all, this was another great example of how clinical leaders are redesigning our services to improve care for patients and make them more efficient. 

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August 11th 2017

Well it’s not like me to miss a blog – so apologies if you were wondering where it got to last Friday.  Mrs B was due to have a day case procedure at a hospital nearer to where we live and unfortunately this did not run particularly smoothly and the time I’d set aside to write my weekly blog was eaten up as a result!  Now, I may be being unfair but I’m pretty sure things would have run much more smoothly here in Derby!  I’m always impressed by the teams I meet who seem to be constantly looking for ways to make our services more efficient.  We had a visit last week from James Cook, who is the Director of Productivity from our regulator NHS Improvement.  James was here to share some data that compares how different hospitals perform against a wide range of measures to help identify where improvements can be made.  This includes information from the ‘Get it right first time’ reviews, which is a national process led by clinicians to compare their services in this way too.  I was pleased when James described Derby Teaching Hospitals as one of the most efficient Trusts within the East Midlands but this poses a dilemma. At a time when we are looking to find ways to become more efficient – given the significant financial challenge facing the NHS – it’s hard to know where to look next.

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July 28th 2017

As promised, the blog has returned following my annual leave. Work recommenced with a bang as I met up with all our new foundation level doctors who started in the Trust on Monday. It’s always a pleasure to meet our new colleagues, so I was particularly pleased when Foundation Programme Tutor Dr Ian Lewins asked me and our Medical Director Nigel to come and say a few words. We took the opportunity to talk about the importance of our CARE values, and how we look after each other at the Trust. With that in mind, if any members of staff come across one of our new junior doctors, be sure to give them a warm welcome.  

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July 7th 2017

If colleagues thought I looked a bit stiff on Monday morning at Trust Induction it might be because I was hot footing it back from our coast to coast cycle ride at the weekend. We rode from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, right across the lakes and the Pennines to Tynemouth, on the North Sea coast. Stuart Benney and his wife Karen did a fantastic job of organising everything and supporting us along the way.  It was delightful to spend a little bit of time with colleagues but in quite a different context, all while doing something that I love and raising a bit of money for the hospitals' charity too. Does it get any better? 

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June 30th 2017

One of the things we do from time to time is gather together all of the senior leaders from within the Trust for a bit of a catch-up and some networking. We usually include a bit of personal development too. This week we had a fabulous leadership community event which was a little bit different. We had invited Carolyn Cleveland to come and talk to us – Carolyn is a psychologist but also works with a range of organisations to assist them in their leadership development.

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June 23rd 2017

I’d like to begin this week by saying a big thank you to all of our colleagues in the Emergency Department, who’ve had a particularly challenging few days. The hot weather over the weekend and at the beginning of the week brought large numbers of people needing our care to the department. 

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June 16th 2017

One of the things I love most about my job is the opportunity to spend time with our clinical teams observing how they look after our patients, which is, after all, the whole reason we’re here. 

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June 9th 2017

For a bit of variety I’m going to start at the end of the week. For me, that meant a trip to London Road Community Hospital to meet with my colleagues there. I always enjoy my visits to LRCH. It has a very different feel to the Royal Derby – as one colleague put it this morning, ‘it’s community by name and community by nature’. I was there particularly to talk about our partnership with neighbours in Burton. 

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May 26th 2017

You know how much I go on about the importance of appraisals, well this week it was my turn to sit down with John, our Chair, to talk about my role over the past year and also how we can make our working relationship even better.  It was a good conversation with much for me to reflect on but also left me with a spring in my step too, which is the way a good appraisal should work.  So if you’ve not had yours yet, remember to have a word with your line manager because as you know - you’re worth it! 

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May 19th 2017

It’s been an interesting week! Ironically, as I was writing last week’s blog – extolling the benefits to patients of the information and digital revolution - the infamous ‘cyber attack’ was just rearing its ugly head. Now, as a Trust we take cyber security extremely seriously and I’m pleased to say that we were not affected by the virus. However, I’d like to praise our IT team, who worked so hard over that weekend to take additional precautions and as part of this work extra anti-viral software was applied to all of our systems.  In the digital age this isn’t a threat that’s going to go away and so we need to be ever vigilant to keep our systems secure and give our patients the benefit that this technology undoubtedly brings.  More excitement coming up….

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May 12th 2017

It’s been a funny old week for me, having spent quite a lot of my time outside the hospital talking with a wide range of colleagues from all over the country about the issues of the day.  

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May 5th 2017

A great start on Tuesday after the Bank Holiday weekend meeting some of our newest colleagues at our latest staff induction. It was great to see such enthusiasm and fantastic to see a number of volunteers among the group who’ve chosen to join us. 

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April 28th 2017

This has been a really special week at Derby Teaching Hospitals.  It got off to an exciting start with the launch of our very first Patient Experience Week.  Paul Brooks, our Head of Facilities, and Megan Roworth, from our Patient Experience Team, got the ball rolling by hosting a workshop for leaders from across the organisation looking at how they could improve the experience of our patients. It was also an opportunity to launch our new mobile video booth, which blog readers might remember me mentioning a while ago. We’re going to use this to capture patient stories, which will help us reflect on the things we can do provide a better service for all our patients.

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April 21st 2017

One of the yearly tasks you have to do as Chief Executive is to write the opening statement for the Annual Report and Accounts. That may not sound very exciting, but it is an opportunity for me to thank a lot of people and also to highlight some of the challenges and achievements of the last 12 months. It’s easy to forget that, despite all the challenges, our people are managing to achieve some really fabulous things, over and above the day job.

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April 13th 2017

One of the things I really enjoy about my job is meeting new people who have just joined the Trust.  It’s one of the reasons I’m always keen to get along to the general staff induction and to meet up with our new junior doctors as I did last week. For a similar reason, I also make a point of meeting new consultants who have recently joined us.  I usually leave it a couple of months to give them a chance to settle in and I’m always keen to hear their first impressions and make sure that we’re looking after them properly.  Over the last week or so I’ve met with four new consultants and have been incredibly impressed by each of them.  

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April 7th 2017

Let’s start this week with some really good news. Blog readers may remember a couple of weeks ago I revealed we were up for an award as part of the ITV People’s Projects. I was encouraging you all to vote for our project – Whiffle While you Workshop, which is a partnership between our own Air Arts programme and Whiffle Pig to provide arts-based rehab for some of our patients, particularly those recovering from brain injury. Well the results are in, and it was announced last night on ITV news. We won!! And we’ll receive a fantastic £50,000 prize. This money will help us to roll out this and other projects for patients within our hospitals, particularly our stroke patients, those living with dementia, and a wide range of other conditions. Well done to everybody who worked so hard to put the bid together and congratulations on this success! 

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