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April 22nd 2016

Gavin Boyle
I like to be busy – and this week has been no exception. I had my first Council of Governors meeting, but also managed to get out and about at RDH. It’s made me think that I have neglected London Road Community Hospital a bit, so my mission for next week is to pay them another visit.  

Someone asked me this week whether I spend so much time wandering about the hospitals to avoid doing any proper work – there may be some truth in that but, actually, it’s the best part of the job!

Monday got off to a great start with a chat with Rachel Revill, who is one of our Lead Ambassadors. I have met quite a few now in my travels, and I have to say I really like what they are trying to do. Whilst I wouldn’t wish to embarrass them, I think they are great role models for our collective leadership approach. It’s all about how everyone at the Trust can choose to lead - and that means going beyond describing the problems and challenges we face and actually taking responsibility for finding the solutions. Rachel was a great example of this. I really enjoyed our conversation about how she was helping to support that approach within one of our most pressured areas, the ED.

I then had a quick visit to some of our surgical wards with Ian Davidson, the senior nurse for surgery. I had a good discussion with Senior Sister Alison McCulloch on ward 309 which looks after our colorectal patients, and she explained all of the things they are doing to make sure that patients don’t stay with us unnecessarily long. I was interested in the enhanced recovery programme, which means that even patients who have had major bowel surgery can go home safely after a few days. And thanks also to Lynne Brookes and John Williams for showing me around anaesthetics and critical care and helping me to learn more about these vital services later in the day.

Monday night was a bit strange! I’ve mentioned before the Sustainability and Transformation Plan through which all the health and social care organisations in Derbyshire are developing a long term plan to improve services. The leaders of some of these organisations had agreed to spend a day and an evening away together to really think through some of these issues. You might imagine that we holed up in a swanky hotel – not a bit of it – it was a self-catering cottage, or more like a bunkhouse but it was nice to spend time with some of these leaders, cooking a meal together and doing the washing-up, and of course talking through some of the big issues. These included discussing how we could make our services more integrated - not only health services but also social care, developing place-based services which wrap around the local community, helping to keep people healthy and well for as long as possible and, of course, helping to make sure specialist services, like hospital services and mental health services, are sustainable and provided to the highest standard.

And the STP, as it’s known, was a big focus of discussion at our Council of Governors meeting this week, and I was impressed with the searching and insightful questions from our Governors and by their contribution. I must say I am a big fan of our Governors – the amount of time they give to the hospital is incredible. They also provide a useful perspective from our local community, help to hold us to account and keep us grounded in the things that really matter.

A couple more visits this week – to Endoscopy with Lorraine Horobin and her team Deanne, Susan, Jane and Mary who showed me around their extremely busy unit.  I also met Consultant Klara Garsed and her male patient who allowed me to observe his gastroscopy. It was good news – because nothing unusual was found – and I am sure that was greatly reassuring. I was impressed with how well the service was organised, but also by the kind and compassionate manner our colleagues had with their patients. 

Also this week I had a whistle stop tour of Pharmacy with Clive Newman and Alison Brailey – they told me about some of the innovations, including developing new roles such as the prescribing pharmacists. I visited their dispensary and met their robot (he was looking a bit old and tired so we will probably have to do something about that).

I went round the aseptic unit and had a chance to chat with one of their actual prescribing pharmacists, Tom and a junior doctor colleague. They both told me how valuable the role was and about the interaction between the pharmacy and the medical team. I also met up with Pharmacy Technicians who are ward-based. They told me how good it would be if TTOs were written up the day before discharge and how this would allow patients to leave the hospital in a timely way on the day. Some common feedback we get from patients is that although they are all ready to leave they can feel as though they have to wait a long time for their medicines; it also means that patients in ED and MAU are waiting for a bed on the base wards. Making this process work better will certainly improve the experience for our patients.

Little bit of a late night on Thursday, when, along with Nigel, our Executive Medical Director, I was meeting Tony Avery the Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, an important partner in making our medical school here in Derby such a success. There was lots to talk about and lots of great ideas about how we could strengthen and build on what is already a great partnership.

I finished the week with more visits to Trauma and Orthopaedics and to Breast Screening. By the end of the day I will no doubt be ready to jump on my Brompton and get home to see if the wife and kids still recognise me.

Have a great weekend and thanks to everyone who will be keeping our patients safe this weekend.

All the best  

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