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December 9th 2016

Gavin Boyle
You’re not going to believe it, but it was party time again this week, as we had another celebration at the Royal Derby Hospital. This time it was for our annual long service awards – but more of that in a moment. 

On Tuesday it was time for our monthly Board of Directors meeting and, as usual, there was a packed agenda. You may not know this, but we now start every board meeting with a patient story. This is sometimes delivered by a patient themselves, sometimes via video, or, as happened this time, through a member of staff talking about an experience which illustrates a challenge in the health system which can help us learn and improve the care we deliver. I think these patient stories are really important. They set the tone for the rest of the meeting, and remind all of us around the boardroom table why we’re really here.  

This time, the patient story was delivered by Jane O’Daly-Miller, our Lead Nurse for Safeguarding. She told the story of a child in our care, whose name was anonymised for confidentiality. At times it was quite difficult to listen to, but it was a powerful reminder of how complex and challenging child protection issues can be for teams not only within the hospital, but also across the wider health and care system. The main message for me was just how important it is to support our own staff in this area, making sure we provide the right training to be able to identify concerns and take the appropriate action, also the need to have really effective relationships with partner organisations in order to keep safe some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Regular readers of the blog will know I’ve been banging on about something called Red2Green, which looks at how we make sure that every day a patient spends in our hospitals adds value to their care and helps move them along the road to recovery. It’s so important that we value our patients’ time, and make sure that they spend no more time with us than is absolutely necessary. We’re extending this approach out to all our inpatient wards, with a particular focus on Specialist Medicine and our Care of the Elderly wards. The campaign is being led by Dr Roger Stanworth, one of our Consultant Endocrinologists, and Project Manager Gayle Cornes. It was great to hear this week that they were speaking at a national conference in Birmingham at the request of the Emergency Care Improvement Programme, where they explained the Derby Teaching Hospitals approach to this and shared our learning more widely. 

One of the benefits of the Red2Green approach is that it not only helps our current patients but it releases beds for the next patients who come through our emergency department requiring admission. On that note, this week we tested our escalation plan which describes the special actions we would take should the Emergency Department experience an intense peak in admissions. Given that winter is upon us it seemed a good time to test our plans to review how we respond when the pressure is really on. The test went extremely well and there was lots of learning which will help us to improve our future response which will stand us in good stead for the coming months. 

During this test it was good to bump into Dr Dan Boden, who is our Assistant Clinical Director for Emergency Medicine. Dan told me about a piece of work in the A&E department to develop some new clinical quality standards, which will contribute to a national approach led by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. The aim is to make sure that no matter how busy we are our patients get great care. Rising demand for emergency treatment is one of the main challenges facing the NHS today, so it’s encouraging to see colleagues at Derby Teaching Hospitals taking the lead.

And so, back to last night’s long service awards. This was a very special event where we celebrated some of the longest-serving colleagues. A total of 45 members of staff were recognised for their loyalty and commitment to the NHS, with many spending their whole careers serving the people of Derby. There were 27 colleagues being rewarded for 25 years’ service, 10 for 35 years and seven for 40 years. We had a total of 1,373 years of accumulated service in the room – very impressive! One of the great things about our hospitals is that so many people seem to stay with us. Having such a wealth of experience is such a massive asset. I’d like to take this opportunity to once again say thank you for their enormous contribution. It was a special night for me, too, because completely unexpectedly I received a 25 year service award. It was a lovely surprise, especially as my wife Sharon and son Fin put in a guest appearance too! It was a really memorable evening, so thanks to Sandeep Badwal who did the hard work arranging it all.

Just a reminder regarding flu – remember to get your jab! We’re at 65% of colleagues, and aiming for 75% before Christmas . Go on – you know it makes sense!

Finally – keep up the good work with the festive decorations. I’ve seen some great displays around the hospital. Our Chief Nurse Cathy and I will be judging the ‘best dressed’ the week before Christmas, so get cracking!

Best wishes

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