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June 15th 2018

Gavin Boyle

It’s really been a hectic week with lots happening with our Burton Hospitals partnership.  It all started on Monday when we received the go ahead from NHSI, the healthcare regulator, which came in the form of a risk rating.  This means that they have assessed our proposals in detail and believe that the merger can proceed.  They also identified a small number of areas where they would wish to work with us on once the merger has taken place.  This then gave us the green light to formally consider the proposal to form the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton at our Boards and with our Councils of Governors.  To that end both Boards met on Tuesday and approved the proposal.  

One of the important things about Foundation Trusts is they are accountable to local people; through our membership which elects the Council of Governors.  Given that this is such an important step both Councils of Governors are required to support the proposal.  The Governors are drawn from members of the local community, our staff and also partner organisations and it seems right to me that for such an important decision that local people should have the last word.  We’ve worked hard to keep our Governors fully informed as the plans have developed and they’ve given huge amounts of time to really understand the detail.  To approve the proposal there needs to be a vote and more than 50% of the Governors of both Trusts have to say ‘yes’.  The vote was conducted in a very proper manner overseen by the Electoral Reform Service no less!  I’m delighted to say that there was a strong majority in favour.  Underpinning our merger plans is a carefully thought out clinical case which seeks to secure district general hospital services such as A&E at Queens Hospital Burton, allow the development of specialist services at Derby but also to make better use of our community hospitals at London Road and also in Lichfield and Tamworth too.  It’s all about delivering real improvements in patient care and I was delighted that our Governors were able to get behind our plans.    

We’re not quite there yet though!  So this morning myself and Helen Scott-South, the Chief Executive at Burton Hospitals, and John Rivers who as you know is Chair of both, signed a formal application to NHSI for the merger to happen.  We’re hoping for confirmation to be received within the next couple of weeks and if it’s forthcoming the new organisation can form from 1st July as planned.  Exciting stuff!

I’d just like take a moment to say thanks to colleagues both at Burton and Derby who’ve worked so hard to reach this point.  I’m also conscious that in forming the new organisation we’ve sought to put in place an integrated set of arrangements to run the new Trust which requires many of my colleagues to take on new roles.  Organisational change of this nature can be an anxious time and I’m really grateful that colleagues have worked incredibly hard to keep the show on the road at a time of personal uncertainty.    

To have a bit of a break from it all I had a smashing day out on Wednesday with Helen as my guide and made a tour of all 3 of the BHFT hospitals to meet some of the colleagues working there and to introduce myself.  We started at Queens Hospital in Burton and then onto Samuel Johnson Community Hospital in Lichfield finishing our trip at the Sir Robert Peel Hospital in Tamworth.  We had 3 terrific conversations and I was seriously impressed by their sense of pride in the services being delivered and a real passion for improving patient care.  Although there was some anxiety about the change my general sense was the people were excited about the opportunities that the merger brings and many had already made connections with their counterparts in Derby to start to talk about how their services might work together.  Sometimes you can get caught up in the detail of the process but this visit talking to front line colleagues in those hospitals really reminded me of what this is all about – that is to use the opportunity of the enlarged organisation to deliver better care for the communities we serve.

Finally this week I want to wish my colleagues of the Islamic faith Eid Mubarak   as they end the holy month of Ramadan.  I’m seriously impressed by the efforts of one of our nurses, Shazia Parveen, who’s done great things to get everybody in a celebratory mood and spreading a bit of cultural awareness too.  Well done Shazia.  

I’ve got a few days off next week – taking Lilia my granddaughter camping in Snowdonia – so no blog next Friday.  But no doubt there’ll be lots to talk about when I get back and as we head towards merger and the formation of the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton.  

Have a great weekend

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