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July 8th 2016

Gavin Boyle
Well, we’re at the close of another exciting week which has ended on a high note with our ‘face to face’ staff briefings at both hospitals - more of that later. So back to the beginning - we had our Board of Directors meeting.  As usual, we had a packed agenda, talking about our PRIDE ambitions and long term strategy, as well as covering our partnership working and keeping track of our performance as a trust. The best part of the day for me was when Margaret, a patient, came to talk to us about her experience here. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had a long episode of treatment.

I think having a patient come to the Board and tell us directly about their care is really powerful, and on this occasion, while there were many positive things particularly about the kind and caring attitude of staff, there were also parts of the story which were less comfortable to listen to. 

Our communication throughout her care was not as good as it could have been and she found herself having to work really hard to find out about her treatment. Also, during her episode of care, she required an admission to hospital, and while this was initially expected to be only a few days it turned into a fortnight’s stay, largely because of difficulties in organising certain aspects of her treatment. This made me think that we need to value our patients’ time better and find ways of organising ourselves so they spend no more time than absolutely necessary in hospital. Margaret was very gracious in telling her story and it made a big impact on the Board. It was also a good way to make sure that, as we went about our business during the rest of the meeting, we kept at the forefront of our minds that the patient must be central to all of the things we think about and discuss.

At each of our Public Board meetings we present the latest Pride of Derby awards and this time there were some fantastic stories of staff going way beyond what could be reasonably expected. Best Frontline member of staff was Vicky Wesley-Harkcom, who comforted a patient who was extremely distressed and dangerously near the edge of the roof of one of our car parks, reassuring and holding on to them, until help arrived. We also had four members of the Histopathology team, Dr Sindhu Menon, Rachel Rummery, Amy Palmer and Orla Moir, who went to the aid of a colleague who had suffered cardiac arrest and took turns at CPR, saving their friend’s life. Another extraordinary story. 

We also paid tribute to Jayne Newbold, an unsung hero and receptionist in the Gynaecology team, who has been working hard to support a new barcoding system for tracking clinical consumables and how they are used across the Trust. We finally congratulated Dr Harry Pick, one of our junior doctors who went the extra mile when the team was one person down and a locum phoned in sick just before they were due to start. He rallied his team, making sure patients were safe and cared for. 

I’m sure you will agree with me that these were all incredibly inspirational stories. I love the way that Pride of Derby awards recognise some of our amazing people and help us just to say ‘thank you’.

So back to the highlight of my week which was our face to face briefings. After each of our Public Board meetings I meet with groups of staff at both our hospitals to feed back what we’ve talked about and major issues we are working on as a Board. Today I’ve had two well attended sessions and I was really pleased at the amount of questions raised and the conversation that took place. We talked about our PRIDE ambitions and work we’re doing to set out clearly our strategic aims for the next five years and the steps we need to take to deliver them. I’ve mentioned this before but it’s a key piece of work, helping to give all our people clarity about what we hope to achieve for our patients and what their unique contribution might be. We’ll be giving everyone in the Trust the chance to comment on some draft ambitions over the next few weeks – so if you work for us do look out for that and your chance to tell us what you think. 

We also talked about the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), another big issue and particularly about how this marks a real change in how the Derbyshire health and social care system works. Partner organisations in Derbyshire are making a real commitment to work together in a much more ‘joined up’ way. We submitted a draft plan last week and over the next three months there will be detailed work to turn the plan into a reality and see how we as a system can support local people to stay well, and out of hospital if possible, by providing the right care and support closer to home when they need it. 

It will require all of us to work in a different way and for the Trust this will mean looking at how we might contribute to providing that out of hospital support and maintain strong clinical services for those occasions when only admission to hospital will do. 

In that vein we launched something new this week – the Local Workforce Action Board (LWAB) – (who thinks up these names?!) It’s about how we develop a workforce with the right numbers of people with the right skills, supported in right way to deliver this joined up health and social care plan. We’re working with representatives from across the health and social care system to make sure we have a long term workforce plan to help deliver the STP.

So, coming to the end of a busy week I’m looking forward to Sunday when we have Pedal in Peaks – a 35-mile cycle ride round some of Derbyshire’s most beautiful countryside to raise money for the Derby Hospitals charity. 

I’ll be there with my trusty steed at 9.30am at Carsington Reservoir – so come and see us off if you are not doing anything. Good luck to any colleagues joining in on the day and to anyone else who is supporting us – can’t wait – I’ll get my race face on – just kidding!

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