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Chief Executive's blog

Gavin Boyle

Gavin Boyle is Chief Executive of the newly formed University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust. He was formerly Chief Executive of Derby Teaching Hospitals from March 2016 to June 2018.

“Working in the NHS is a huge privilege; there are 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

My blog now has a new home over on our University Hospitals of Derby and Burton website.

Gavin's blog


June 29th 2018

Every week at Derby Teaching Hospitals is an interesting one!  However, this was a particularly special week as, together with our partners in Burton, we finally saw our plans to form a new organisation come to fruition. This week we received the final formal approval from NHSI, our regulator, which allows the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust to come into existence on July 1st. 

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June 8th 2018


One of the things I talk a lot about in this blog is the importance of partnerships. Obviously our work with our neighbouring Trust in Burton is very much at the forefront of my thinking but there are also other relationships that are really important to us. We have a regular partnership meeting with colleagues from Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS) and on Monday we spent a bit of time working through our plans to make best use of our facilities particularly in Ilkeston where we would like to see increased surgical activity and also re-establishing the endoscopy service there if possible. Being able to provide care closer to where people live is an important part of our ‘Joined Up Care’ Derbyshire strategy and it’s good to see colleagues from both Trusts working on the detail of how to make this happen.


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June 1st 2018

I don’t think it’s ever happened before but that was the second bank holiday weekend in a row where we had some decent weather!  I hope you at least got some opportunity to have a bit of a rest and enjoy the sunshine.  One thing’s for sure, the demand for our services, particularly for emergency patients, didn’t let up over the weekend.  Both our EDs for adults and children saw high levels of attendances and worked extremely hard to ensure that patients needing those services received good care.  

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May 25th 2018

So in this week’s blog we’ve got special visitors, lots about partnership and GDPR!

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May 18th 2018

Lots to talk about this week including visits to the Antenatal Clinic and the Children’s Emergency Department, our Council of Governors, the HOPE exchange programme, Lean Thinking and much more besides.

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May 11th 2018

I always enjoy my trips to London Road Community Hospital and so this week’s blog is a bit of an LRCH special! 

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May 4th 2018

There’s never a dull moment here at Derby Teaching Hospitals and this week has really been jam-packed – quite literally so on the cake front but more on that later!  So, this week we had the Public Board Meeting, had lots going on with our Burton partnership, held face to face briefings and celebrated our midwives. Let’s start with that. Tomorrow, it is International Day of the Midwife, or #IDM2018 for twitter fans. So, on Thursday, I paid a visit to our Maternity Services to catch up with colleagues there and hear about some of the fabulous things they’re doing, particularly to improve the quality of care we give our mums and babies.  I started off in the Derby Birth Centre with midwives Rose and Kate.  The facilities are second to none and the ambience is very calming and provides a soothing place for our mums.  I was particularly impressed with the birthing rooms and the pools that are now such a popular source of comfort for our women.  Mike Goodwin, the Divisional Director for the Integrated Care Division, was my guide that morning, which was particularly apt since he and Mrs G have been a recent user of the services there.   One particular pool fills from taps in the ceiling in quite a spectacular fashion!

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April 27th 2018

It’s a special week at Derby Teaching Hospitals as we celebrate the work of all our people over the last 12 months to improve the experience of our patients. We held the first ever Patient Experience week last April and this year’s event looks to be an even bigger success. I went along on Monday morning for the launch, which was really well attended. Cathy, our Chief Nurse, who is also the Executive member of the Board with a particular responsibility for improving patient experience, opened with a brief presentation describing some of the progress made over the last 12 months. 

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April 20th 2018

Something very strange is happening - there seems to be a warm yellow light coming from a curious object in the sky.  There’s nothing like a bit of sunshine to lift the spirits and it’s about time too!   

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April 13th 2018

It’s been another rollercoaster of a week with lots to make me think, from bringing compassion into leadership, the value of listening, how we might need to change to face the future, our partnership with Burton and my annual fire training too!

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March 29th 2018

It’s good to talk.  And I’ve certainly done a lot of that this week with our people, our governors and members of the public too about our merger with Burton Hospitals.  But more on that in a minute. The Senior Leadership team within the Trust meets each month – it’s called the Trust Delivery Group – this reports directly to the Board and is responsible for the operational delivery of the Trust’s plans and making sure that the hospitals are working effectively.  This group also considers new ideas and proposals to develop our service.  This week we heard a couple of proposals that we were delighted to support.  Firstly, Dr Gerry van Schalkwyk, who’s the head of our Pathology Service, came to talk about a research programme called the 100,000 Genomes project.  Now, one of our main functions as a teaching hospital is to engage in research to improve the care for patients in the future.  Often we do this in partnership with other organisations and this particular project is with Cambridge University to help decode the genes of patients with rare diseases including cancer.  The aim is by understanding the genetic makeup of patients suffering from these conditions we will be able to find better ways to treat and prevent disease.  The benefits for patients are huge – more precise diagnostics, earlier diagnosis, new drugs and treatments, new cures and new medical devices.  This is a really exciting and cutting edge research programme and we were delighted to offer Gerry and the team our full support.  


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March 23rd 2018

So the theme for this week’s blog is most definitely cake!  My diet has gone out of the window this week because it seems everywhere I’ve gone I’ve been faced with a slice of the good stuff.  And just like Oscar Wilde I can resist everything except temptation! It all started when I went along to cut the ribbon on the new Derby Hospitals Charity hub in the main entrance.  Julie Chapman and her team who lead the charity do an amazing job helping to support our myriad of fund raisers right across the community and also to help those who wish to make a donation to the hospital as a gesture of appreciation.  Now clearly hospital services are paid for through the taxes we all pay – however the charity allows us to do those extra things which just wouldn’t be possible within the NHS funding we receive.  This makes a massive difference to our patients and staff.  The hub provides a focus where ‘would-be’ fund raisers can gain advice on how to set up their event and also to provide information to anyone who’s interested in the work of the charity and how we spend the generous gifts we receive.  Lambie our hospital mascot, was on good form and the cake in question was a cupcake featuring a picture of the enormous cuddly ruminant himself!   

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March 16th 2018

It’s always nice to have visitors, even when they arrive unexpectedly. And so, today we were host to an unscheduled visit by the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt. One of his personal priorities is the improvement of patient safety within the NHS and he came to speak to a group of around 100 staff from all different parts of the Trust to talk about this important issue.

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March 9th 2018

Well the ‘Beast from the East’ certainly had a sting in its tail because with the thaw came another surge of acutely unwell patients requiring an emergency admission to hospital.  It’s sometimes the case that that following a period of cold weather once we’ve dealt with the traumatic injuries associated with slips in the icy conditions a few days later we then see an increase in patients particularly suffering from strokes and respiratory illness.  So this week has been another extremely busy one at the hospital and as ever I’d like to thank everybody who’s worked so hard to care for our patients.  I suspect we’ll continue to see high levels of demand for some days to come. 

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March 2nd 2018

I’d like to start this week’s blog by praising of all of my colleagues who’ve battled with the Beast from the East to make it into work.  I’ve heard lots of amazing stories about our people, both at London Road, here at Royal Derby, and in our out of hospital services too, where colleagues have gone to incredible lengths to make sure they’re here to keep the show on the road and our patients safe.  We’ve had colleagues bringing in overnight bags so that they could sleepover, safe in the knowledge that they’d be ready for their shift the next day.  I also heard a marvellous story from a patient whose community midwife had battled for an hour and a half to get to their home for an important visit.  Well done everyone – it’s at times like these that the real qualities of the marvellous people who work for our organisation really shine through.  

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February 16th 2018

At last!  I’ve finally been allowed into the exclusive club that is the DTHFT senior managers’ on-call rota.  This is a group of individuals who provide senior support to the hospital ‘out of hours’ at night and over the weekends.  All manner of issues can crop up and it’s this group that help to problem solve and ensure that our clinical teams are fully supported to deliver their vital services.  I popped in last Sunday just to see how things were going and joined the lunchtime bed meeting where we take stock of how the hospital is running and particularly making sure that there’s sufficient bed capacity to accommodate emergency patients who need to be admitted.  One of the team on duty that day was Jenny Deakin who’s a general manager here at the Trust.  We had two patients who needed to be transferred to another centre within the region for super-specialist procedures the following day.  This required support of our ambulance colleagues.  This may seem relatively simple but at times when the system is under great pressure from emergencies it can be difficult to arrange transport for patients waiting for a planned procedure.  However, Jenny wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer and after multiple phone calls, she’d hatched a cunning plan to make sure that those patients got their transfer and received the care they needed the following day.  Later on, I was pondering about what stimulated such dogged determination and concluded that it was just an unshakeable commitment to make sure that those two patients were not let down.  I spoke quite a bit last week in my blog about our CARE values and it seemed to me that what was driving Jenny was the basic human value of compassion.  It was so encouraging to see our values in action in such a practical way.

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February 9th 2018

Well, it’s been a funny old week and one that has caused me to reflect on my own personal NHS journey over what is now nigh on 30years! It’s always a real pleasure to be asked to speak to groups of leaders in the Trust and I was delighted on Wednesday to go along to the launch of the latest Derby Lead Programme. This is a development opportunity for mostly Band 7 colleagues working in every part of the Hospitals. It’s an interesting fact that about 50% of everyone who works in the NHS is line managed by somebody at this grade. So this is a really important and influential group of leaders and it was a pleasure to spend a little bit of time with them. They’d asked me to talk about my experiences as a leader in the NHS and I used a really simple model which I borrowed off a chap called Simon Sinek – you can see this on TED Talks. He talks about the importance of thinking deeply about the ‘Why?’ – that’s to say why we commit ourselves to a particular cause. Then about ‘How?’, with the importance of how we approach our vocation. And then finally to focus on the ‘What?’ i.e. the specifics of the task in hand. My personal “Why?”, in relation to my career in the NHS, is that for me the NHS is one of the great institutions of our country – the fact that healthcare is universally free to everybody no matter who they may be is something of immense value. When I look back on my journey in the NHS, I think it’s been time well spent on something that really matters. 

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January 26th 2018

It’s always nice to have visitors and so it was a real pleasure this week to welcome Professor Ian Cummings to the Trust.  Ian is the Chief Executive of Health Education England (HEE), the national body responsible for the education and training of all clinical staff who work in the NHS. I was particularly pleased to see his visit at a time when Ian’srecently launched a consultation on the very first ever national workforce strategy for health and care staff.  It was also a good opportunity to showcase some of the amazing innovations being made at DTHFT to meet some of the national workforce challenges.  We had an update from Krishna Kallianpur, Barbara Day and Faye Leatt about our new Associate Nurses and clinical apprenticeships.  This is a really important part about how we grow local talent and support them throughout their career.  Apprenticeships are not just for young people but actually these days go all the way up to Masters level and can also be a great way of encouraging more mature colleagues to join us or make a career change.  We’re part of a national pilot around the Associate Nurses and Ian had the opportunity to spend a while chatting to some of them over lunch, getting some honest feedback directly at this new programme.

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January 19th 2018

So, it’s been another jam packed week, with Winter Pressures, Flu and a Board Meeting too! But before I get into all of that, I just wanted to mention a couple of brilliant “out and about visits” I made recently and apologise for not having mentioned them before in the blog! The first one was just after Christmas when I met with Kerry Than, who leads the Patient Advice and Liaison Service, the Complaints Team and Bereavement Service too. Kerry and her team are unsung heroes in the Trust and often are faced with supporting patients and families at a time when they may be at their most vulnerable, frustrated and even angry with their experience of our service. One of the things that I think Kerry’s team do so well is not only listening to the patients but also being their advocate to make sure whatever concerns they have are properly addressed. But it’s more than that; it’s also about how that information can be fed into our quality and improvement processes to make things better for future patients. One of the things I do as part of my role is to read all of our responses to any complaints we receive and to sign a letter of apology – I believe if someone has felt it necessary to raise a concern, it is good enough grounds for an apology on its own. I am always impressed by the care and attention of colleagues investigating patient concerns, through the careful way that they seek to respond to every issue raised and also to identify actions that can be taken to improve their service.  Slightly alarmingly, Kerry keeps a chart on her wall which tracks those complaints that are awaiting my attention and signature, so she certainly keeps an eye on me and whether I am doing my bit! 

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January 5th 2018

Well, the pressure has certainly been on this week.  Blog readers will know that we had a sustained period of increased demand for emergency care in the run up to Christmas but as I mentioned last week, this continued throughout the holiday period and became even more intense in the first few days of the New Year.  You can’t have failed to have seen the coverage in the national media about how this surge in demand was affecting the NHS right across the country.  It was the same here in Derby and although we’d prepared for winter and have good plans to increase our emergency capacity, we’ve had to step this up a notch or two.  We’ve seen about a 7% increase in emergency admissions compared to the same period last year – and that felt pretty busy, I can tell you – and we’ve seen some days with record breaking attendances and particularly emergency admissions.  

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