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December 2nd 2016

Gavin Boyle

I really love Christmas, (particularly at Christmastime and not in October or November!) So it was a relief when 1 December arrived and I could finally get to work on the advent calendar chocolate. Sadly, I’ve already eaten more than I am supposed to have done at this stage. Over the next few weeks I will keep you updated on all things festive in our hospitals. It’s been nice to see some of the decorations appearing in wards and departments, so my challenge is - let’s make the hospitals as festive and welcoming as they possibly can be.

And this weekend sees me beginning to get in the swing of things with the Derby Hospitals Choir carol service tonight at the Cathedral and also on a secret weekend mission which I'll tell you about next week . . .

On Monday I visited staff induction where it was really nice to see even more volunteers joining our already impressive band as well as substantive staff. I also liked the fact we are starting to use induction to get new colleagues to help us think about our PRIDE ambitions and how we each have an individual part to play to make them happen.

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I was talking about Red to Green and how we needed to value our patients’ time? I asked you the question - if you had just a thousand days to live, how many would you choose to spend in hospital?

So it was a pleasure to catch up with Dr Roger Stanworth, Consultant Endocrinologist and Gayle Cornes, Senior Project Manager in Transformation, on Monday morning to talk about the work they’re leading to reduce the time our patients spend in hospital. They were describing the daily ‘board rounds’ when the ward teams including the nurses, doctors, therapists etc. review all of their patients and make a plan for the day ahead to make sure that the care for each of their patients can progress. We’re developing a new role of a ward-based Discharge Support Officer and eight colleagues started in this role this week, with a remit to support the ward teams in turning their daily plans into action, helping us make sure that our patients get all the tests and investigations and everything else they need so their stay in hospital is only as long as it needs to be. 

It was a delight this week to have a cuppa with one of our Trust’s biggest supporters, Mel Morris, who you will know as Chairman of Derby County FC. We get great support from the Rams and Mel’s own charitable work has supported the Trust in lots of ways, for example helping us to become one of the first centres in the country to introduce robotic surgery. It was great to catch up with someone who clearly has a passion for Derby as a city and really values the part that the Trust plays in our local community. 

We had our monthly Management Executive meeting on Tuesday afternoon, with a number of important updates including the plans to develop an integrated breast screening and surgical service across southern Derbyshire and east Staffordshire, with partners from Burton Hospitals.

We also welcomed Dr Kara Dent who came to talk about Schwartz Rounds, which are one-hour sessions providing an opportunity to reflect on and share experiences. I’ve mentioned these before – they are starting in February and I already have the dates in my diary and am really looking forward to taking part. It sounds like a great way to support our people, who, through their work, often find themselves affected by their experiences of caring for people who are often distressed and in a time of crisis. 

Look out for details on Flo where you can find out much more about Schwartz Rounds. They’re for all staff, clinical and non-clinical at any level in the Trust.

I was in party mode (again!) on Thursday night at the East Midlands Leadership Academy NHS annual awards ceremony. I have the privilege of being the chair of EMLA and love being involved in an organisation helping to develop leaders from all backgrounds from the many different health organisations across the East Midlands. Our very own Clare Sutherland was nominated for a Leading Systems Transformation award – so well done Clare, who’s trailblazing the development of Advanced Clinical Practitioners in the Trust and, indeed, in the wider Derbyshire Health community. 

The highlight of the night was a guest speaker Emma Wiggs, who is a Para-canoeist and was a gold medal winner at the Rio Paralympics. She came along to tell her story including how she had lost the use of her legs a young woman of just 18, but despite this she fulfilled her ambition to become a PE teacher and went on to take part in elite sport as part of the British team. 

Emma has also been five times a world champion. What’s so inspiring about her story is that she made a point that our attitude to everything is a choice – it’s up to each of us how we choose to respond to life’s challenges. It struck a chord with me this morning when I was speaking to Jon Holley, a specialist registrar in Orthopaedics, who is particularly interested in leadership and quality improvement. One of his observations was that it’s up to us how we each choose to approach the challenges we face in healthcare, whether we choose to be frustrated by them or choose to do something about them. 

I am always impressed that so many colleagues I meet at the Trust are prepared to make this choice of not standing on the side-lines but having the courage to step up and take on the responsibility to make things better. 

So to finish – I think you’ll agree, another interesting week! 

Have a great weekend.

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