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June 29th 2018

Gavin Boyle

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. 

Although the merger had already been approved by both Boards and each Council of Governors had voted with a strong majority in favour, we needed this last approval to make our plans a reality.

Several months ago, we’d arranged to have special briefings for Members of both Foundation Trusts and these were planned for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings this week. I must say I was relieved that the news was positive and it arrived just as John Rivers, Chair, and Helen Scott-South, CEO at Burton, were about to begin their meeting. Talk about going to the wire!

We held a similar meeting with members here on Wednesday evening and both discussions were very good humoured affairs. There was considerable excitement and enthusiasm about the news. 

In some ways it’s an end of an era, with the names of Burton Hospitals Trust and Derby Teaching Hospitals Trust falling away but I’d rather think of it as the beginning of something really special, as the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton, or UHDB to our friends!, comes into being. 

I’d like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to my friend and colleague Helen Scott-South, who leaves BHFT today. She is well known to all here at Derby but over the last two years has done a tremendous job supporting Burton Hospitals as their CEO. She’s made a huge difference there, as well as paving the way for the two Trusts to come together as one to the future with confidence.

One of the things that has really impressed me over the last two years, as I have worked with colleagues from both Burton and Derby, is the deep-seated belief that our priority must be improving how we care for our patients. Underpinning our plans is the commitment to use the opportunity of the new enlarged organisation to deliver real improvements in services for the communities we serve. This deeply held commitment, that’s so strong in both of the former organisations, will be a powerful force that unites us. 

It seems apt that on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the NHS that our plans have finally come to life. I’ve always been extremely proud to work for the NHS and feel it’s a real privilege to serve in this way. The NHS is an amazing institution that does so much good, based on the principle that everybody should receive the best care free at the point of use and regardless of their ability to pay. I’ve always believed that the NHS is at its best when all of its parts work together and I have been pleased that, in recent times, we seem to be moving away from the idea of ‘competition’ as a means to raise standards towards partnership as being the right way forward. The partnership between Burton and Derby and this merger is a fantastic example of this. 

Next week, I will be spending time at all of UHDB’s five sites meeting and talking to colleagues there. Naturally, I’ll let you know how I get on in next week’s blog as well as news about our first week. Exciting times!

Best wishes 

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