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August 12th 2016

Gavin Boyle
Well it’s great to be back after two weeks of annual leave. I hope you’ve not missed the blog too much – I’m sure you’ve coped! I’ll tell you a bit about what I got up to in a minute, but we’ll get down to business first.

I returned on Monday firing on all cylinders and got straight into the action with one of our leadership community events. These  happen quarterly, so four times a year senior leaders of all types and from all different parts of the organisation get together for a couple of hours to reflect on some of the challenges we’re facing  and how we can better serve our teams. This time around we used the time to think about our PRIDE objectives. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m hoping to develop some long term aims so by the end of, let’s say five years, we can be really clear about how we are delivering against each one. You will have seen a message from me today inviting all colleagues across the Trust to contribute to this work, and also participate in discussions within your own teams and departments. This is your chance to help shape the future of our hospitals, and I’m really looking forward to hearing your views.

We had a great presentation from Adrian Piggott who had been working with our Lead Ambassadors to improve leadership within the Trust and how we support our people. This group is made up of staff from all around the organisation who are working to help us develop a ‘collective leadership’ approach in which we can all play a part. They have identified the top 10 things that our people want from their leaders. I won’t list all 10, but it included things like, being more visible, being more positive, talking more and emailing less and above all, saying thank you. It seemed to me these were really simple messages, but for everyone in a leadership role of any kind – and let’s face it, most of us are in one way or another – I think they are really important things to bear in mind.

I also had a chance this week to meet with Tracey Warren and Helen Vine, who are our principal points of contact for the Care Quality Commission. We arranged to meet a long time ago, before next week’s re-inspection was arranged, but with that in mind it seemed like it was a timely opportunity to get to know each other a bit better. I asked them about their perceptions of the Trust, and it was really interesting to hear one of our regulators give their views. They were extremely positive about their relationship with Derby Teaching Hospitals and said they felt we were an open organisation; while we may not always get things right, if things do go wrong we are upfront about it, and, most importantly, keen to learn to improve things for the future. Openness and transparency is  a fundamental part of how I think we ought to behave as a public institution and it’s really pleasing to hear this reflected back from the body responsible for regulating quality and safety across the NHS.

n Tuesday afternoon, we had our regular Management Executive (ME) meeting, which brings together divisional leaders and my executive team, and as usual we had a long list of things to discuss. High on the list were some of the financial challenges facing the NHS at the moment and we reviewed our plans to meet them. Our approach is based on a simple principle of looking at how we can redesign our services to improve quality and in turn make our services more efficient. I always think that good quality and efficiency are two sides of the same coin, and by improving the care we provide for patients it will also help us to tackle our financial challenges. A good example given at ME was the approval of a proposal to recruit additional medical staff to support our Medical Assessment Unit, with the aim of making sure our emergency patients have a senior review right at the start, so either an admission can be avoided, or those patients who have to be admitted get on the right clinical track right from the start. This is clearly an improvement in quality, but it will also help reduce our reliance on expensive medical locums.

A big theme of my week has been partnership. As I often say, we are not an island, and it’s a huge part of our responsibility to work with others to improve the health and wellbeing within the communities we serve. This week I spent quite a bit of time talking with our partners in Burton, following lots of discussions between our clinical teams about how we might work together more closely. I’ve also spent this morning with the leaders of health and social care organisations across Derbyshire discussing the same.

One of the highlights of my week was attending the induction of some of our newest doctors in training. I was sorry to miss the major induction last week, while I was away, but it was good to meet a relatively small group of our new junior medics to talk about the Trust and we stand for. I was particularly keen to talk about our CARE values and how important it is to treat not just patients with courtesy and respect, but also each other. They seemed like a really enthusiastic bunch and I know I can rely on you all to look out for our new colleagues and make them feel as welcome as possible.

I’m ending the week on a high note, with a visit to our renal department. I’ve heard great things about this service since I arrived in the Trust and I’m looking forward to spending some time with them. I’ll let you know how I get on next week.

And finally, I’m not entirely looking forward to the weekend. After two weeks off in which I did a lot of cycling and went away on a couple of coast-to-coast rides, my wife has me under strict orders to stay at home, and she has a long list of things for me to do around the house in order to atone. I hope you all have a good weekend, and if you’re working, as ever, thank you for keeping the show on the road!

All the best, 

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