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February 10th 2017

Gavin Boyle
A meeting of the Board is always a pivotal point in the month, when we get together to take stock of how we’re doing, to consider the challenges we face and how well we’re preparing to meet them. One of the things I particularly like is that we always begin with a patient story. The main reason for doing this is that it helps ground the conversations to come in the reality of why we are all here. It reminds us that the main reason is the care we give our patients. The story reminds us of the things that really matter and that these should be at the forefront of our minds when taking decisions about the future of our hospitals.
The story this time made for quite uncomfortable listening. It was the account of a family whose loved one was cared for here in quite desperate circumstances, when the patient concerned was extremely unwell and vulnerable. There were aspects of care which received real praise, particularly in the ED and in our intensive treatment unit, but other things could have been much better. 
It’s often the case that when things don’t go well, it’s not that some highly technical aspect of clinical care that has gone wrong, it’s more often the little things, where perhaps we have shown a lack of thoughtfulness or not been as considerate as we might have been. 
It made me think that, for this family, their experience could have been transformed by a little bit more care and compassion on our part. Now, I know at a time when the hospitals are particularly busy we could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that it’s hard to give every patient the kind of care we would really like to give. However, for me, these basic values are one thing we mustn’t compromise. These are basic human things about how we respect each other as people, and particularly when, as patients, we are at our most vulnerable. 
I talk a lot in my blog about our CARE values and that’s because I think they are so important – Compassion, Attitude, Respect and Equality. We should never forget that every one of our patients and their families are individuals with their own cares and concerns and deserve to be treated as such. 
I was delighted this week to be invited to speak to a group of colleagues on the Derby LEAD programme which aims to help leaders in our organisation support their teams to deliver the best possible service. We spent quite a bit of our time together reflecting on our CARE values and what motivates each of us to work in a healthcare environment. We talked about the intrinsic ‘why?’ - considering the choice we’ve all made to work in the NHS in the service of our community, as opposed to some other walk of life. 
I was really humbled by some of the thoughts colleagues shared about their own personal reasons for being in the NHS and how they try to bring these to play in their roles. Clinical colleagues seem to grasp this inherently, but I was delighted too that our people who work in support functions, who might not be as visible to patients and the public were still describing how in their roles, they still use the question ‘what’s best for patients?’ as their guide. 
All of our people have a unique part to play in our ambition to become a really great Trust. The story at our Board this week made me think that there is still work to be done, particularly in making our CARE values real for every one of our patients. I know that I am, of course, not alone in thinking how important this is and hearing the stories of some of our emerging leaders this week filled me with hope. Every day I’m inspired by the people I meet at the Trust and their passion to make a difference – and it’s this energy that will take us to our goal.
It’s all made me reflect this week on how I can bring CARE into my role to a greater degree and I wonder whether colleagues would like to join me in this and think about how you can make a difference to those around you. Of course, I mean our patients, but actually if we think of our colleagues in this way too - I can’t help but think that we’d be well on the way to becoming not only a good place to be a patient, but also a fabulous place to work. 
Have a great weekend.


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