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July 1st 2016

Gavin Boyle
Starting off this week where I left off last time on the theme of partnerships. It was a bit of a Red Letter Day yesterday because the Derbyshire health and social care system submitted its Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) which I’ve mentioned before. It’s all about how health and social care partners can work more closely together to help local people stay fit and healthy, improving the quality of services we offer, as well as meeting the financial challenges we face.  

This submission was a staging post and there will be lots more to do over next three months as we work together to test our assumptions and the strength of our proposals. But the real prize for me is not so much the detail but more about the spirit with which all of the players are working together to a degree I’ve not seen before – as partners doing the best for the people of Derbyshire. 

So sticking with that theme, our Management Executive meeting on Tuesday heard an excellent presentation from Mubarak Ahamed, one of our consultant cardiologists, all about a proposal he’s developed for an ambulatory heart failure pathway for patients - although heart failure is clearly an extremely serious condition, modern technology means that if we get organised patients need only spend a little time in hospital and can receive more care at home, which is better for their recovery. It was a great idea, but interestingly the way the local health system currently works, there can sometimes be obstacles to putting this kind of service in place. Now clearly, we’re not going to let that stand in the way of doing best thing for patients, but part of the STP approach will be to work in a more joined-up way as a system, to allow ideas such as Mubarak’s to flourish.

I mentioned last week that I was due for my appraisal with John Rivers, our Chair, which took place on Monday. A lot of people worry about appraisals but I always look forward to mine. It’s a good opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with your line manager about you, how you do the job, how you might be able to do it better but also what support you need.  For me, it’s not about the paperwork or process but about having a really good conversation. Afterwards you should feel more able to do your job than you did before it and leave the room with a spring in your step. And that’s exactly the sort of conversation I had on Monday with John.   

We looked back on my first four months here at the Trust. A lot of that time has been spent establishing myself and getting to know everyone.  I reflected on the warm welcome and all the support I’ve been shown. I’ve also been concentrating on clarifying our long term strategy and the necessary steps to take to achieve our ambitions. Over the summer you will have the opportunity to comment on our long term aims based on our PRIDE framework. I have also concentrated on developing our external partnerships, such as the STP, but also on our growing relationship with the neighbours in Burton.

A highlight of my week was a trip to Medical Education where I spent a couple of hours with the team there – so thanks to Amy Brinklow for organising this at the last minute. It was  good to spend time with Alison Skinner who clearly was extremely proud of her team and was able to tell me about some of the fantastic work we do in our Trust to educate the clinical leaders of the future. 

I also spoke to Sophie Wilkinson, one of our more senior junior doctors who had taken a year out from formal training to become a full time educator and contribute to our training programmes. She told me how well regarded Derby was by junior medical colleagues as a place to come and train. 

Returning to appraisals I caught up with Shelley Cummings who leads on revalidation for all doctors in the Trust, ensuring their appraisals are organised and happen in a timely way. Given the numbers of doctors this is a Herculean task, but I was impressed by how well this was organised. It was then up to the top floor to meet the clinical skills team, Stephanie Gillam, Dr Gareth Hughes and Tori Baker, who took me round and explained some of the work they did relating to simulation – providing lifelike situations in which clinicians can test and practice their skills. 

It was really interesting to spend time in a mock up operating theatre which includes a sophisticated mannequin which can simulate all manner of medical emergencies to test the skills of clinical teams. We talked about human factors – a phrase I’m hearing a lot about in Derby, which is about how being human can influence the effectiveness of the care we give patients. One of the things they test in the simulation lab is not only the knowledge of the clinicians but also how their behaviour and the way they engage with their team can be a key factor in reducing risk.  Fascinating stuff and very different to conventional education.

I’ll be finishing this week today with a catch up with Dr Sheona MacLeod who leads the Postgraduate Medical Education function at the East Midlands Education Healthcare Workforce Deanery, part of Health Education England. We’re about to co-chair a new organisation for Derbyshire, focusing on workforce planning and training and education of colleagues across the county particularly looking at how this can support aims of the STP, the plan I mentioned earlier. 

So it’s full circle this week back to the theme of partnerships and planning, serving to illustrate that you can have the best plan in the world but it takes the right people with the right skills, supported in the right way to make it all happen.

One of the great things about working in our Trust is the real mix of people from all sorts of nationalities from all over the world, who do great things here every day. So I just wanted to say with a special eye on Europe given last week’s referendum, we are so glad you’re here!  Thank you.

And on that note - have a great weekend.

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