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August 26th 2016

Gavin Boyle
This was a particularly special week for me as it was my first opportunity to join with John Rivers, our Chair, in judging the Team of the Year for our Celebrating Success awards. I can’t tell you who the winner is yet but all will be revealed in our ceremony next month, but I can tell you how we got on when we met the shortlisted teams. More of that later. 

Monday got off to a flying start as I went down to the Faith Centre at the Royal Derby Hospital to visit David Ashton and his team – Marise, Mary, Tracy and Paul. I think we’re hugely fortunate as a Trust to have such a dedicated team who are there not only for our patients, but also for our people. I was really impressed by the fact that although they were clearly men and women of faith their approach to their services was incredibly down to earth and practical. They fulfil a really important role in supporting people when they are often at their most vulnerable and need someone to talk to. It was clear that sometimes both staff and patients feel able to talk to the Faith Team in a way they might not feel able to talk to others and that can be a huge benefit.

During the visit we talked about their team of volunteers – they have about 40 – who help out and talked about how they linked with the many different faith communities in Derby. We also talked about our CARE values and how important they are. In essence, this is about how we treat out patients and our staff with kindness and respect, so they are particularly important to our Faith Team. We reflected in particular on our ISS colleagues, whose contributions are often unsung, and yet they are a hugely important part of our Derby Teaching Hospitals family. I had a tour of their facilities and was very impressed by the chapel and the prayer rooms for men and women of the Muslim faith, which have separate washing facilities. I’m really pleased that we’ve got such good provision within the hospital to cater for the spiritual needs of our people and patients.

David told me a great story about their organist John, who has been working as firstly an assistant and then as the organist since 1947. He was just a child when he started, but he took on the role formally in 1955, and has only missed about eight sessions since then. What an incredible story – can’t wait to meet him!

Back to Team of the Year.  We had 22 nominations this year. Both John and I had carefully and separately scored them against a tough criteria and whittled it down to a shortlist of four. First up we had Clare Sutherland and her band of Advanced Clinical Practitioners, who bowled us over with their enthusiasm and passion for what is still a relatively new role in the NHS. We have been blazing the trail with this, starting our journey back in 2004, and we’re seen as something of a leader in this field. It was great to hear about their work within the hospital.

Next up we had Sharon and Sally and their team in Central Outpatient Administration and Case Note Services. This team often does not get the recognition it deserves, but without them none of our clinical services would be possible. We had a tour of the Records Library, which brought to mind the last scene of the Raiders of the Lost Ark, if you know what I mean. It’s huge and not just a little bit over-full. I was really impressed by the dedication of the team and how they make sure that 98% of our appointments are supported with the right records – it’s no mean feat. It was good also to hear from Lynn from one of the frontline admin support teams – in her case urology. She described some of the challenges they face and in particular how the team has coped with the implementation of the new Lorenzo computer system over the past 18 months.

After this we visited the Ambulatory Care Team, who provided cake. I’m told this is not bribery, but persuasion with gifts. Clearly John and I abstained, as we can’t be swayed by such things, but we were impressed with the work which takes place in this department at the front of our Medical Assessment Unit. This team aims to provide urgent care for patients right at the front door and hopefully avoid the need for them to be admitted to the hospital. This is always good, as at the end of the day, none of us want to be in hospital if we can avoid it. This work is really at the vanguard of how we improve care for our emergency patients.

Last, but by no means least, we met up with Lorraine Horobin and the marvellous Endoscopy Team, who told us about how they had sorted out a backlog of patients to provide better treatment, redesigned the department and introduced an out-of-ours cover system to better manage emergency patients. On top of all that, they have achieved JAG accreditation this year, which is the quality kite mark for endoscopy services. A very impressive set of achievements.

After we had seen the teams, John and I were faced with the difficult job of deciding on the winner. We had been incredibly impressed by everything we saw, and to be frank, we considered all of the teams to be winners. A bit of a cop out, I know, but you will find out who we settled on at our ceremony on 27 September.

All in all it’s been a week which really highlighted to me the value of team working, whether that is in the Faith Team, the contenders for Team of the Year or the teams around our hospitals who show on a daily basis how working together is the best way to give the care our patients deserve.

Have a great weekend. Obviously it’s a Bank Holiday, which always makes me think of those people who will be at work whilst the rest of us are enjoying ourselves, so let’s spare a thought for those who are keeping the show on the road. 

Best wishes


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Gavin 

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