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January 27th 2017

Gavin Boyle
One of the real strengths of our Trust is the quality of our Governors. I’ve mentioned them many times in my blog, but I never cease to be impressed by their commitment and passion to improve the way we serve our community. This week I spent a whole afternoon with them, starting with an informal workshop where we had the opportunity to update on two really important pieces of partnership working that regular blog readers will be familiar with. First we were able to bring the Governors up to speed on the work we’re doing with our neighbours in Burton to develop a stronger partnership between our Trusts and deliver joined-up services which hopefully improve the care we provide. You might remember that I mentioned last week I would be having a similar discussion with the Governors at Burton Hospitals, and it was interesting to note that all Governors across the two Trusts shared an enthusiasm to be involved to make sure the views of their constituents and our members are heard as we develop the details of this work. 
We also updated on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Derbyshire, providing detail on the way we’re taking it forward following its publication just before Christmas.  The plan looks at how we support people to stay fit and healthy in their own homes and if they do need hospital care that they are supported to return home as quickly as they’re medically fit. I was delighted that Dr Jane Youde, one of our Consultants in Elderly Medicine, was able to join us to describe some of the effects which a lengthy hospital stay can have on frail, elderly people, and how that can impact on their long-term recovery and general health. It reminded us all how important it is to work together as a health and social care system to avoid this if at all possible.
That evening we had the formal Council of Governors meeting, where we took the opportunity to update the group on work to develop our longer term plans in line with our PRIDE framework. For those of you who don’t know, the framework is based on the five long-term aims which are the foundation for all our plans for the future. They are:
•P – Putting Patients First
•R – Right First Time
•I – Investing Our Resources Wisely
•D – Developing Our People
•E – Ensuring Value From Partnerships. 
As ever, there were lots of searching questions and, to be honest, our Governors can be pretty challenging at times – but that’s what they’re there for. I think the sense of being held to account by people who represent our staff, our members and our communities, is such an important part of the way we work, and although it can be challenging, I always welcome their contribution. 
I was firmly reminded this week that as Trust, we don’t always get it right for our patients. I spoke with two different families who had quite different reasons to use our services, but in both cases they faced situations where we could have done better. For one family, some of the issues related to the way in which we had responded to their concerns when they were first raised and the fact we could have done this better. The second family had a very different experience. Their situation demonstrated that a little thoughtfulness and a bit more consideration can go a long way in helping somebody in a difficult situation. In this family’s case, we didn’t do enough to exercise simple kindness, which could have made a big difference. It reminded me that in an organisation as complex as ours, there will be times when things don’t go as well as we would like. For me, the main thing is not that things go wrong, but that when that happens we are prepared to accept responsibility, to listen, and most importantly we are prepared to learn. 
There’s nothing more powerful than hearing directly from families about their care and treatment, and we’re always looking for the best way to do that. One of the more unusual things I did this week was to make a brief video which will be used to introduce people to our latest patient experience tool – the Mobile Patient Story Kiosk. This is a tablet mounted on wheels which can be used by patients to record stories about their experience in the hospital wherever they are. I would encourage all our patients to share their views on their care – whether good or bad. It’s fantastic to hear about the good things because it points out what we should be doing more of, but it’s also good to hear when things go wrong, so we can improve. I’m looking forward to hearing our patient stories and maybe sharing some of them with you. 
Whatever you’re doing this weekend, have a good one, and thanks to all our staff keeping the show on the road in our hospitals. 
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