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January 26th 2018

Gavin Boyle

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’s recently 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.

Claire Sutherland gave an update on our Advanced Clinical Practice (ACP) programme – we’ve got over 70 ACPs working within the Trust and seen as a national trailblazer for this – it was lovely to hear a personal story from one of our senior ACPs Jenny Riley who described how she’d began her clinical career as a healthcare assistant and then worked her way through her nursing degree, then on to become a ward sister and ultimately into Advanced Clinical Practice.  Jenny had achieved this under her own steam, and we’re trying to do this for everyone now through our apprenticeship programme.

We also had an update from our Leadership Fellows Sarah Booker and Sam Thacker who talked about the work they’re doing to create the right climate for clinical colleagues to contribute to the leadership of the Trust and develop their own personal effectiveness.  Shaw Poxon, our senior nurse for shared governance within the Corporate Nursing Team described how these approaches were being applied more widely across the Trust.  

The design of new and innovative medical posts is also a real area of success for the Trust and Dan Boden and Lindsay Chesterton gave an update on the CESR (Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration ) posts and the introduction of junior clinical fellows – this has enabled us to retain talented doctors who would like some time to consolidate their experience before moving on to the next level of their career.  This has also helped us to meet some of our workforce challenges in key areas like the Emergency Department.  And finally an update from the irrepressible Snobar Bhat about how we are applying the new junior doctor contract in a supportive way which provides an opportunity to listen to concerns of our junior medical colleagues regarding working hours and how the rotas are working so that we can improve their working lives too. I know Ian really enjoyed his visit and was incredibly complimentary about the work we’re doing on so many fronts to address challenges which are common to the wider NHS.  It was certainly a powerful reminder for me – seeing all of this incredible work in one sitting – I’m always impressed by the amazing ability of DTHFT people to have great ideas and then run with them to make them happen.

One of the things I mentioned at induction this week was the important role of our Council of Governors – being accountable to local people is one of the best parts of being a Foundation Trust. We had our regular Council meeting on Wednesday night and the undoubted highlight for me was a presentation given by Sabia Hussain, a project manager from our Transformation Team.  As a Trust we are rated as ‘Good’ by the CQC but a couple of years ago one of the things that they wanted us to do more on was the treatment and management of patients who come to us with sepsis – this is a systemic blood infection which can be extremely dangerous and, indeed, fatal.  Sabia described the work that had been done to rise to this challenge which included the introduction of effective screening for patients potentially at risk of sepsis and then prompt treatment. At DTHFT we’ve introduced something called ‘the sepsis six’ which are the six key steps for treating someone suspected of having sepsis and includes things like giving fluids, intravenous antibiotics, oxygen therapy etc. We’re now significantly exceeding national standards for the management for this group of patients but I was particularly impressed by one piece of evidence which Sabia provided which was that patients who now attend our Trust have a 32.2% lower chance of dying of sepsis than the national average.  The latest figures for the last year show that this means 126 more lives were saved than would have been expected.  That’s a massive achievement and thanks to all of our colleagues who’ve worked so hard in some of our most pressured areas to make this possible.  A fantastic achievement!  

Talking of pressures - we continue to see high levels of emergency patients coming to the hospital but I’m pleased to say that the numbers of flu cases now seem to be on the wane.  I’ve mentioned many times before in the blog that all of our front line teams are doing a fantastic job to meet this demand and continue to provide safe care for our patients.  It really is quite a challenging time but, looking at some comparative data for other places across the region, DTHFT continues to be one of the best performing Trusts.

So lots of good things to reflect on this week, but also a reality check too that our work is never done and we continue to pull together as a team to deliver the best possible care for the community we serve.

Whether you’re at work or home, have a great weekend.

Best wishes 

Gavin








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