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December 23rd 2016

Gavin Boyle
Christmas is that time of year when you stop and think about those things that really matter.
First thing Monday morning I met with our newest recruits at the beginning of their Trust Induction Programme, and one of the things we spoke about was what a privilege it is to serve of our communities in one of our hospitals. There are few walks of life where what you do – whether you’re clinical or work behind the scenes – can have such a positive impact on people’s lives. To get in the festive mood, I watched ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ last night with the kids, I love that bit where George Bailey views the world as it would have been if he’d never been born. Think about that – can you imagine what the world would be like without each and every member of staff in our hospitals contributing in the way you do, and doing the wonderful things you do for so many people every day of the year. You all make such a huge difference.

This is my first Christmas at Derby, and I’ve been bowled over by the festive spirit here, and the way everyone’s really got into the swing of things. There’s been so many events and celebrations that it’s hard to list them all, but I know that it’s made a real difference to so many of our patients and also given us all a bit of a boost too! On Wednesday, I had the honour of judging the Best Dressed Ward and Department competition with Cathy Winfield, Nigel Sturrock and Lorna Priestman – it was a real toughie! We had 33 entries this year, which I’m told is a record. I was amazed at the ingenuity and enthusiasm that had gone into all of the fabulous displays. The winners were Ward 302, who created a fabulous winter wonderland theme, including an amazing polar bear and Orthopaedic Outpatients with their past, present and future Christmas theme, complete with aliens and jet-packed reindeers. ED were the special runners-up. It’s the first time they’ve entered, and they had a fabulous ‘12 Bays of Christmas’ vibe going on. The finance team had a GOLD theme (natch) but the strangest sight has to go to the blue rubber glove Christmas tree in Satellite Pharmacy, the funniest was the Hawaiian Christmas in Coding and the cutest was post-natal Ward 314, who decorated their Christmas tree with baby feet designs. Their Nativity scene had no baby Jesus in the manger and when I asked why I was told, obviously, that it was too early, and he was not due until Sunday! 

I did actually do some proper work this week and we had a Council of Governors meeting on Wednesday with some great questions and discussion. We had a brilliant presentation from Marco Giovannelli, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation, and Janet Watson, Lay Chair of the Organ Donation Committee, who gave us an update on the work we do with organ donors and their families to make sure that others can benefit from what are often tragic circumstances. Nobody likes to think about it, but at this time of year, when generosity is in our minds, there is no greater gift than this. Marco particularly highlights the need for more donors from Black and Minority Ethnic communities, as there is a real shortage of donors from these backgrounds. There’s a big discrepancy between the number of people from BME communities who might need transplantation and the small number of compatible donors. I would encourage everyone, no matter what their ethnicity, to talk with your families and consider signing the Organ Donor Register. You can do it here: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/ 

We also had an extra board meeting this week to sign off our operational plan and the contracts we’ve agreed with our commissioners. For the first time this year these span a two-year period and the deadline had been brought forward by about three months. This has been a huge piece of work, so particular thanks to Scott, Ali, Lela and Mo and all who’ve really pulled out all the stops to get it done. I’m pleased to say that although the plan agreed is challenging, it’s most definitely doable. 

STOP PRESS – We’ve just had the results of our flu campaign and I’m delighted to say that we’ve reached our goal of getting 75% of our staff vaccinated. Thanks to all those who have really got behind this campaign in the interests of protecting our patients, our people and their families. Well done everybody!! 

The thing about our hospitals is that the work never stops; it’s the ultimate 24-hour operation. These past few weeks have been extremely busy particularly caring for patients in need of emergency and urgent care. I’m always impressed by the efforts our frontline teams make to go the extra mile and deliver good care in the face of increasing demand. Christmas is a time that really brings that into focus, and whilst most of us will be at home there will be lots of our colleagues here keeping our patients safe and well cared-for. I would just like to thank all of them particularly for their work over the holiday. I hope everybody finds at least a little bit of time this Christmas to relax with their loved ones and enjoy the festive season and I want to thank you all for everything you’ve done in our hospitals over the past year. I always feel hugely privileged to work here and tremendously impressed and inspired by all that you do. 

Have a great Christmas!

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