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April 13th 2018

Gavin Boyle

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!

On the first of those points one of the things we do from time to time is provide an opportunity for senior leaders to come to together to think about how we can better serve all our colleagues within the Trust.These are leaders from all parts of the hospitals from our clinical services, support services and corporate functions too.  We also offer the opportunity for colleagues from Burton to join us and it was good to see so many there when we met on Wednesday afternoon.  It was a bit of a special occasion because we had an amazing talk from Professor Michael West who’s from Lancaster University but also The King’s Fund in London – Michael is an academic who’s research has been incredibly influential internationally in developing the concept of ‘compassionate leadership’.  At its heart this is about simple ideas of treating people kindly, courteously and respectfully.  This is naturally important to us in relation to our patients but it’s also fundamental to how we work together as colleagues.  

Michael’s research has demonstrated that if you can bring compassion into the way that an organisation is run, in a genuine way, then this has real benefits for its people and for us that means better care for patients.  We also had a tremendous presentation from Alison Bell who is our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian – I’ve mentioned Alison before, she’s worked with us now for about a year and her background is working to help resolve patient complaints but also as a Trade Unionist supporting staff – this gives her a unique perspective on both sides of the coin that featured in Michael’s presentation namely the way that you take care of your people has a direct impact on how well you take care of your patients.  

Alison gave an update on the themes that have emerged from her work over the last year where she has supported colleagues who wished to raise issues in an anonymous way.   This is all part of how we become a more open organisation – clearly if colleagues have concerns we would like to be the kind of place where everybody feels free to speak up – but Alison’s role is to offer that opportunity perhaps to those who feel less confident in doing this or just wished to share a concern in a confidential way.  Alison as it happens is also the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at Burton Hospitals as well and you can find her details on Flo.  I’m a great believer that although we face many challenges there’s nothing that we can’t overcome if we work together and creating a climate where people feel comfortable to raise issues is the first step.

There was no shortage of compassionate leadership when I went along to say a few words at our Healthcare Support Workers Development Day on Wednesday.  This is such an important group of colleagues who are often those who have the greatest contact with patients and before getting up to do my turn I had the chance to listen to some of their stories about their experience of caring for patients.  I was genuinely moved by what they had to say and impressed by the way that they had clearly taken a leadership role for making sure the patients in their care were well looked after.  Here’s a few ‘magic moments’ they shared:

For patients:

“Patient remembered I held her hand 2 years ago and made her feel at ease”

“A parent suffering with extreme anxiety – I sat with her and reassured her and kept her calm”

“I was singing and dancing in front of them”

“Helped them to have a shower and do their hair”

“Listened to them and made a cup of tea when they asked for one”

“Shared a joke and smile and listened to them”

“Just made them laugh.  Also just sat talking to my patient and their family making them all feel safe”

For colleagues:

“Listened and tried to help her feel more valued”

“Hug and cuppa tea”

“Brought them a pudding from M+S after they had a bad shift”

Also this week I spent some time with a different type of leadership group – managers and human resources experts from across the health and care system in Derbyshire.  We were together with colleagues from Health Education England who have the role for training and education for all clinical staff within the NHS. Our subject was to think about how the workforce might need to evolve in the future if we are to deliver health and social care in a much more integrated way – this is all a part of our Joined Up Care Derbyshire plan. As we begin to develop this integrated vision we also need to think about how that might affect not only the roles that will be needed but also how we enable colleagues in all of our organisations to work more seamlessly across organisational boundaries to deliver a more joined-up service.  There were lots of ideas about how we might do this and I was impressed by the vision and energy of colleagues there – clearly if we are to achieve our aim of delivering services that are built around patients and not institutions having the right workforce supported in the right way is going to be critical.

We had a good session on Thursday night with the Governors from both Burton and Derby as we gave an update on the latest regarding to the further work we’re doing to hopefully form our new organisation in the summer.  I had to leave a little bit early to hot foot it to pay a visit to the Southern Derbyshire District Council full council meeting that night to give them an update on the partnership.  There were lots of good questions about the improvements for clinical services and also an inevitable question about the car parking!  There was also lots of positive feedback from council members about their recent Derby experiences which were very heartening to hear.  

So - all in all -  a fairly jam packed week which goes to show why I think I must have the best job in the world!

Have a great weekend 

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