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February 3rd 2017

Gavin Boyle
Doctors in training make such a tremendous contribution to the life of our hospitals, not only by helping look after patients, but also as a result of their thirst for knowledge – they keep some of our more senior doctors on their toes, too! It was a real pleasure this week to meet some of the junior doctors who were leaving us for next part of their rotation at another hospital. Nigel, our Executive Medical Director, and myself are always keen to get feedback about their experience with us and I’m delighted to say they gave a big ‘thumbs up’ for their time at Derby and how well organised their training programme with us was.
So with that in mind it was also a pleasure to meet our latest arrivals when Nigel and I went along to meet our newest doctors in training who started with us this week. As ever, it was a good chance to share our thoughts about the kind of Trust we are trying to become and the important part they play in this. We always mention the CARE values, the fundamental importance of treating people kindly, respectfully and never forgetting that every one of our patients is a person with their own cares and concerns.
I was reminded of this when I shadowed Nicola Hughes, one of our speech and language therapists, this week when she was out and about on her rounds. We spoke to a couple of patients who had very different needs. Nicola’s role is particuarly to look after those with swallowing difficulties which might affect their ability to eat and drink. Each patient had very different needs and it made me reflect on the need for us to adapt the way we deliver care to make sure it’s right for the person concerned. For example, we’d organised the next stage of treatment for one patient which would address her swallowing and nutrition issues. However, we found she actually needed more time to consider her treatment pathway before moving on. While I’m the first to say we’re keen to be efficient and organised, this made me reflect that sometimes we need to step back and give patients the time and space to consider their care. 
Before I left Nicola made me a lovely thickened drink to try – blackcurrant – and, whilst these are clearly important for patients who have difficulty swallowing.  It was actually quite nice but I don’t think it’s going to become my usual choice any time soon.  Also on my travels this week I met a fabulously enthusiastic bunch of ‘behind the scenes heroes’ - the medical secretaries and admin team from the orthopaedic department. We had a great discussion and they were certainly not shy about raising a wide range of issues from car parking to the impact of new technology, our partnership with Burton and much more. It was also an opportunity for me to thank them personally, because over the past few weeks as a result of high levels of emergency demand, we’ve had to reschedule quite a number of orthopaedic procedures and it’s this team that have had to break the news to disappointed patients and also reschedule their treatment. 
I’m always conscious of the disappointment patients must feel when their treatment is postponed, and I know our teams work incredibly hard to ensure it happens only infrequently. The demand for emergency care remains high, but I’m continually impressed by the way our clinical teams manage this workload and it feels like we are beginning to get on top of things. 
And with that in mind one of the highlights of the week was catching up with the divisional leadership team in Medicine and Cancer, Neil Radford, Gill Ogden and Prof Richard Donnelly. It was their chance to bring me up to speed on everything happening in their division and we talked about the terrific efforts being made by staff in ED and MAU and across the whole urgent care pathway. Gill took me through her priorities for improving care in the division, particularly focusing on sepsis and Richard described some of the progress being made with new roles and in recruitment of medical staff.  Regarding new roles we discussed the amazing contribution being made by the Advanced Clinical Practitioners who are really beginning to make their presence felt.  Neil reminded me of some of the good work being done in relation to ‘Red to Green’ – regular blog readers will know all about this – particularly of how the new discharge support officers are a real asset to ward teams, helping ensure patients don’t stay with us any longer than they need to. 
All in all, a jam packed week and it was particularly good to spend more time out and about meeting up with colleagues. Almost every time I leave my office I discover something new about our hospitals and I am always inspired by how many of our people are making such a difference to the lives of the people we serve.
Have a great weekend.


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