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December 8th 2017

Gavin Boyle

The definite highlight this week was the Trust's Long Service Awards on Thursday night.  A fantastic opportunity to recognise some of our most loyal and committed colleagues – more of that later. I’d first like to begin by acknowledging the incredible work of all our teams over the last week or so where we’ve seen, I think, the beginning of winter in earnest.  

High demand for emergency treatment has put real pressure on front line teams but I’ve been as impressed as ever about how we’ve managed this and kept our patients safe and delivered good care. Particular thanks go to the team in ED but also our Assessment Units for medicine and surgery – as well as medical cases we’ve also seen significantly more surgical emergencies too. I’d also like to thank our colleagues on the orthopaedic wards for supporting us to bring forward elements of our winter plan to accommodate some of this increased demand.  No doubt the winter ahead will be challenging, but colleagues have worked hard to develop as robust a seasonal plan as possible in partnership with the wider health and care community.  

If you’d like to know more about the seasonal plan we’re holding a couple of briefings next week on Monday and Tuesday, both between 2pm and 3pm in the Lecture Theatre in the Education Centre. It’s open to all colleagues who may need to understand the detail of the plan as part of their role but also who are interested in how the Trust is prepared for winter.

On Tuesday we had our Confidential Board which focuses on business matters but as ever we always begin with a patient story. This time we heard about the experiences of June, who over a relatively short space of time had a number of planned procedures here with us at the hospital.  Clearly as someone who’d had quite an in-depth experience of our care it was very pleasing to hear the many positive comments she made about her time with us.  We encourage those who are sharing their story to point out anything they think could be better – in this case she described them as ‘quibbles’ but were really useful learning for us – she raised the perennial issue of being told by the medical team in the morning that she could go home but then being disappointed at the length of time that then expired whilst various things were put in place. It’s worth thinking about how we give our patients a more realistic view of what’s likely to happen on their day of discharge but also to find ways to resolve some of the long standing issues such as the delays in writing up and delivering take home medicines. She finished her story by telling us about a vacuum pump that she was required to carry as part of her specialised wound dressing – unlike us blokes who have pockets in our pyjamas, this can often present a real challenge to our female patients. So she designed and made a supply of simple single use cloth bags with shoulder straps for future ladies in a similar position. How brilliant is that!  

Also on the Board we had an update on C.diff – I’ve mentioned before that we’ve had more cases than we would like this year and we took the opportunity to revisit all of the actions we’re taking across the Trust to protect our patients from what can be a really miserable experience. We sought some external advice recently just to check that we’re doing all of the right things and basically the message was to keep on with the basics including hand hygiene – soap and water please! - and the early identification and isolation of patients who might be affected.

Dr Neil Pease, our Executive Director of Workforce, gave an update on flu vaccination – we’re currently at 66% of front line staff so very close to our 70% target. Cathy, our Chief Nurse, couldn’t help but notice that nursing colleagues were slightly behind our doctors in terms of uptake of the vaccine. There’s still plenty of time to get your jab. (Now it’s obviously not a competition – but just saying!)

Back to our Long Service Awards.  It was a really special event on Thursday evening where we had over 110 colleagues being recognised for their long and loyal service to the people of Derby and the wider NHS. Between them they’d notched up 1,740 years of service! We gave awards to people who’d been with us for 25 years, 35 years and, yes, an unbelievable 40 years. It was great to see so many family members and colleagues supporting our long servers too. The HR team did a great job in making the occasion as special as possible – you’d hardly have recognised the Lecture Theatre, it was transformed for this special occasion. That said, it seems a very modest offering in response to such a huge commitment from these particular colleagues but it comes from the heart. Thank you to all of them and for everything they’ve done for the NHS, our community and, above all, for our patients.

In other news, I was off to the Derbyshire Health and Wellbeing Board on Thursday morning to give an update on progress with the Derbyshire STP or rather Joined Up Care Derbyshire as it's now known. I also went along to share the progress being made with the merger plans with our neighbours in Burton. Things are moving forward at pace now and we’ve just submitted a compelling patient benefits case developed by our clinical teams to the Competition and Markets Authority to begin their process of reviewing our plans. There’s a briefing for staff next week on Monday at 2.30pm in the overflow restaurant on level 5 and the following week on Tuesday 19 December at 8.30am in the NCORE Training Centre at London Road.  If you want to know more about our merger plans then come along, it would be great to see you there.  

And finally, finishing the week quite literally on a high note – we’ve got the carol concert this evening at Derby Cathedral. I went along last year for the first time and was massively impressed by Derby Hospitals Choir – really professional and quite moving – guaranteed to get you in the mood for Christmas.  

So wrap up warm, I think it’s going to be a chilly one and whether you’re at work or at home, have a great weekend.

Best wishes 



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