[Skip to content]

Print this page

December 29th 2017

Gavin Boyle

I’m going to start this blog where I ended last week’s by praising of all of our teams who’ve kept the ‘show on the road’ over the Christmas period. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the Christmas Tweets of colleagues who seemed to still be able to enjoy a bit of the Christmas spirit, despite being at work. Over the Christmas weekend, we were rather hoping for an easing off of the high level of emergency activity we’ve seen in recent weeks. However, this was not to be and indeed the hospital has been as busy as ever. Over the last few days we have seen higher levels of emergency admissions than last year, particularly for acute medical and elderly patients. As ever, our clinical teams have done an amazing job in keeping patients safe over this busy period and the plans we developed months ago to meet the anticipated demand have served us well. However, it’s fair to say we’ve had to implement much of this at an earlier stage in the winter than we’d planned.

Walking the patch with Sharon Martin, Chief Operating Officer, yesterday, I got the chance to talk to the clinical teams in some of those front line areas, particularly the Emergency Department and the Medical and Surgical Assessment Units. The staff I spoke to were incredibly chipper and upbeat, despite some difficult shifts over the last few days. The resilience of my clinical colleagues never ceases to impress. It was good to talk to Consultants Pete and Beth in ED and Charge Nurse Gaz about their experiences over the last few days, and how despite the pressures, the consensus was that we would continue to deliver a safe service which at the end of the day is the most important thing. I was also delighted to see Consultant Roger Stanworth in the ED Department. Roger is more generally seen within the Medical Assessment Unit or delivering our diabetes service but as part of our Winter Plan we’ve put in place ‘In-Reach’ from MAU into our ED and Roger was leading from the front to make this happen. This has particularly been appreciated by the ED team and is a good example of how everyone here is pulling together in the interests of our patients. 

I also paid a visit to our two elective orthopaedic wards, where our staff have played a special role in this year’s plan. I caught up with Sister Dani on Ward 206. It was always our plan to use this ward to increase our capacity for medical patients and Dani was really positive about the support her patients were receiving from the clinical team from the Medical Division and, in particular, from the Advanced Clinical Practitioners now based there. I also spoke to Sister Angela on Ward 207. Blog readers will have read last week that we also took the decision to switch this Orthopaedic ward to help us manage the increased admissions, which was not part of our original plan. I am particularly grateful for colleagues there who’ve re-arranged their working patterns to help out. 

Given that New Year is approaching, I usually do a Jools Holland Hootenanny style round up of the year! I noticed Nigel has already beaten me to it in his Medical Director’s report today but I still can’t resist picking out some highlights of my own, so here goes:


January – Our ‘Making your Moments Matter’ scheme was nominated for a Patient Experience Network award.

February – We received a ‘GOOD’ rating from the CQC who praised the Trust’s openness and transparency and our safety improvement culture. We had some lovely news too of a renal patient, Jackie, who was able to give birth to a baby girl thanks to amazing teamwork between our renal and obstetric specialists.

March – Three of our teams were nominated for the National Patient Safety awards – Scan4Safety, the Renal Unit, for their haemodialysis trigger tool and the Emergency Department, for SAFECARE. Our Parkinson’s service at London Road was also highly commended at the first UK Parkinson’s Excellence awards. And there was even a bit of a coup on the educational front when we hosted the examinations for all the medical students from the University of Nottingham – 5,344 individual exams over a 6 day period!

April – Our Air Arts ‘Whiffle While You Workshop’ project won £50,000 of Big Lottery funding as part of ITV’s Peoples Projects. We also held our first ever Patient Experience Week across the Trust.

May – We were named by CHKS as one of the UK’s top 40 hospitals for 2017 and successfully fended off the Cyber Attack which unfortunately waylaid many NHS organisations nationally.

June – We saw the approval of the outline business case for the proposed merger between DTHFT and Burton Hospitals. 

July – We received some great news when the Government announced that they had put aside £20m of capital funding to support the development of an Urgent Care Village at the Royal Derby Hospital, which will include a redesigned emergency department, medical assessment unit and other ‘Front Door’ services.

August – The National Cancer Patient Survey showed our patient score to be the highest in the region. 

September – We had the amazing Celebrating Success Awards at Pride Park Stadium. It was marvellous to recognise so many fabulous individuals and teams doing great things for our patients. 

October – Our Emergency Department was named as Clinical Team of the Year by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and we hit all 9 of the national cancer targets.

November – We’ve been doing a lot of work to improve our care for patients with Sepsis and it was great to see national statistics published which showed our survival rates were the best in the region, with our mortality figures being 32% lower than the national average. We also became the only Trust to complete all four phases of the Scan4Safety accreditation and picked up an EHI Live award as a result. 

December - We hit our Flu Immunisation target of 70% of all front line staff inoculated a week early! We unveiled our Third New Varian Truebeam Linear Accelerator in the Radiotherapy Department. And we had the biggest ‘Best Dressed Ward and Department’ Christmas competition ever!

So, I think you’ll all agree that it has been a busy year with some real successes and things for you all to be so proud of. 

Thinking forward to the New Year; all of the challenges will still be there for us, such as continuing to improve the quality of care we provide, delivering the national performance standards and doing all of this in a tough financial environment. 

One of the biggest issues for the coming year will be the merger between us and Burton Hospitals. We’ll have the Full Business Case coming to both Boards, hopefully by the end of March, with our Council of Governors being given the chance to consider it too. This will be a huge leap forward in improving healthcare in Derbyshire and Staffordshire. The plans are still to be approved by the Competition and Markets Authority and NHSI, the NHS regulator, but we’re hopeful that we’ll get there. I was asked by a group of leaders before Christmas about why I was so committed to this project and it caused me to reflect. There are the obvious benefits which are spelled out so clearly in the Patients Benefits Case that we’ve developed and in the Full Business Case itself – however, it goes deeper than that for me. One of the greatest things about this country is the NHS and the fact that everybody gets what they need regardless of who they are or their ability to pay. The success of the NHS lies in partnership and not in competition. So, for me, our partnership with Burton is a tangible example of how the NHS is better when all of its parts work together and it’s for this reason, I think the partnership is so important. 

Finally, I’d just like to wish you all a Happy New Year and say what a privilege it has been to serve you and I remain always humbled by the incredible lengths that all our people go to every day to deliver great care. Thanks again to everyone working over the weekend, I suspect it will continue to be a busy one but I know how hard everyone is working to do the best for our patients.

Happy New Year!


gavin boyle signature   

Would you like to comment on my blog? If so, comment using the form below.