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July 15th 2016

Gavin Boyle
On my mind this week has been some of the challenges facing our Trust, in particular the continued rise in demand for our emergency services, and the pressure this places on our clinical teams. But before I get to the serious stuff, I thought you might be interested to learn how I got on last Sunday when I took part in Pedal in the Peaks for Derby Hospitals Charity. Initially it wasn’t looking good for this 35-mile ride around the Derbyshire countryside.  Although the weather forecast was supposed to be ok, it was absolutely lashing it down as I got there. Fortunately it brightened up and we had a very sociable and enjoyable time. I was impressed to see how many of my colleagues were also keen cyclists, judging by the pace they managed to set, but it was also great to see so many other supporters of the Trust turning out on a damp morning, all in the name of a good cause.  Well done Julie Chapman and team for organising, all the Marshalls and everyone who helped.

At the beginning of the week I went along to the Clinical Masterclass in the education centre. I’d been invited along by Karen Hill, senior nurse in professional development, to describe my experiences over the last four months, and also share my thoughts about the future. I used it as an opportunity to emphasise my four priorities:  providing the best possible care for patients; the importance of looking after our people; my commitment to working as a good partner in the local health and care system, and my aim to restore financial independence to the Trust. I talked a little about how those priorities were being built into the development of our longer term strategy using the PRIDE framework, and we also had a frank discussion about some of the challenges we face. Top of the list was workforce, and the need to make sure we develop and support out people to have the right skills, but also how we recruit staff whose personal values are in step with our own CARE (Compassion, Attitude, Respect, Equality) ethos, the need to look after our existing people and explore how we can further develop new roles, given that we’re already a trailblazer in this regard.

The clinical leaders raised the issue of ever-increasing demand, particularly for emergency admissions, finite hospital capacity, and how this isn’t sustainable. We talked about the development of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which at its heart  focuses on how to get all of the health and care organisations in Derbyshire working together to keep people well in their own community.

The STP was also top of the agenda at our Management Executive meeting on Tuesday.  We spent time sense checking the plan and getting into some of the detail over the benefits of “place-based” care, particularly in relation to our reducing emergency demand. The whole purpose of “place-based” care is to ensure primary care, community services, mental health and social care, and voluntary services are working together in a way that wraps around communities, helping to promote good health and anticipate problems, therefore hopefully avoiding a trip to hospital.

The current pressures were also a key focus when the Quality Committee met this week, and we explored some of the risks that stem from such high levels of demand and patient occupancy and how they could be mitigated. Sharon Martin, our Chief Operating Officer, was able to update us on work being done within the wider health and care system in relation to delays for accessing continuing healthcare, and our plans to work more effectively with mental health services, particularly in the Emergency Department.  We also reviewed actions we could take ourselves to improve flow of patients, through the hospital and reduce length of stay and occupancy levels. We are using a framework called the SAFER bundle, which focuses on the importance of regular senior clinical reviews, active discharge planning, addressing the blocks which prevent medically-fit patients leaving hospital, and trying to ensure as many discharges as possible can take place in the early part of the day to maintain flow from our ED and assessment areas. This is a big challenge but it’s one of the most important, as it will help to keep our patient safe and also relieve the strain on our people.

I had a TOP SECRET task on Thursday, which was to do my part as a judge for Celebrating Success rewards. We had nearly 40 nominations for Employee of the Year and Team of the Year, and I was hugely impressed by the range and quality on show. It demonstrates how many of our people really bring our CARE values to life, going the extra mile for our patients. I was also struck by the ingenuity and innovation shown by teams seeking to change how they work to improve quality and become more efficient. The judging process will continue in August, and will also include some visits around our hospitals. The ceremony will take place at The Roundhouse, in Derby, from 6pm on Tuesday, 27 September. Watch this space for more news in the run up to the big event.


Finally, it was a real pleasure this week to be asked along to the launch of the Inspire Arts Exhibition. If you’ve not spotted it yet, this is an art work trail around the Royal Derby Hospital showcasing the incredible talents of our own colleagues who have submitted all manner of art work to put on display.  We’ve got plans for London Road too!  We’ve got a history of bringing art into the hospitals to improve the environment for our patients and staff but this was the first time our staff have been asked to contribute. I wouldn’t want to pick a favourite, but I do like the work of Pip Herbert, one of our porters. Visitors to level five will have spotted his ‘wee beasties’, which make creative use of some well-known hospital consumables. He was showing off his latest work, Fuzzy Memories, but I won’t spoil the surprise – you’ll have to wait to see Pip out on his travels. 

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