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June 17th 2016

Gavin Boyle
As promised, this week has been just one long social whirl, but more about that in a moment. I jumped out of bed on Monday morning with an extra spring in my step, knowing this week was ‘2 Wheels 2 Work’ week. It gave me an excuse – as if I need one - to get out the trusty Brompton and ride to work. You can imagine how my enthusiasm withered as I looked out of the window and noticed the torrential rain, and I think that’s been the theme for the whole week. The downpours prompted me to buy some waterproof over-trousers, which I have to say look – well, how shall I put this – pants. Congratulations to all of you who dug out your trusty two-wheeled steeds from the garden shed and braved the rain to take up the challenge - well done to you for helping to save the world and your waistlines. 

I had a fabulous visit this week to our Research and Development department, and spent time with Teresa Grieve and her team. Their enthusiasm and ambition to take the Trust to the top of the R&D league was hugely impressive. They told me about some of their challenges and recent successes, and shared their longer term plans to develop our R&D services. I think R&D is a really important part of what we do.  Not only does help to improve care for the future it also means our patients get access to treatments they otherwise might not receive. It’s an interesting fact that patients involved in clinical trials do better clinically than patients who are not, regardless of whether they are receiving the new treatment or they’re in the control group. The Trust is currently in the top 25% of Trusts in the UK in relation to research, but Teresa and team are not complacent. They’ve got lots of ideas and plenty of energy to drive forward things forward and make sure we excel not only in medical trials but in all aspects of research from nursing and therapies to pharmacy and much more beyond.

So, back to my busy social calendar. On Wednesday night I attended the 60th anniversary celebration for three of our League of Friends groups. We have more than 300 active members in our Friends’ groups, many of whom have served 10, 20, 30 and even 40 years. Three of the four groups were set up in 1956 – a lucky year for hospitals in Derby. These are still going strong 60 years on, providing great services at London Road Community Hospital, the Royal Derby Hospital and the Children’s Hospital. The evening was a great opportunity to say thank you for all the time they give to our hospitals, and the money they raise to purchase all types of equipment. In the last 10 years alone they have raised more than £2 million, which has supported many different wards and departments. We ended the evening with some entertainment – a Tom Jones tribute act – well it’s not unusual! (Sorry – I’ll get my coat.)

The following day it was the turn of the redcoats – our general Trust volunteers who this year have been recognised by HM The Queen and have received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. This is the voluntary group equivalent of getting an MBE! The award was established by the Queen in her Golden Jubilee Year 2002, and it was particularly pleasing to receive it in the year she celebrates her 90th birthday. Interestingly, one of our very own volunteers also has her 90th birthday this year. Pat Walters is a shining example of the selfless commitment that our volunteers of all ages bring to the Trust, and embodies the reasons our group was chosen for the award. We have around 450 active volunteers who do a huge variety of roles including driving the buggies, helping people find their way around the hospitals, delivering newspapers and even helping to support early discharge of patients back to their homes.

These celebrations reminded me how fortunate we are to be so well supported by our volunteers of every type. It’s fantastic to see our community giving so much to support the work we do.

It was the Management Executive meeting this week, and as usual we had a very full agenda. We reviewed our transformation programme, which is our plan for redesigning our services to improve quality and make our services more financially sustainable. It’s a challenge the whole of the NHS faces at the moment. We also had updates on the roll out of the Lorenzo system in our Maternity service. As with all new systems, there have been a few wrinkles, but the feedback from Mark Norwood, Head of IT, and Jane Haslam, Head of Midwifery, was ‘so far, so good’. We also spent time thinking about our PRIDE objectives. I mentioned a couple of blogs back that I’m keen to unveil five-year ambitions for each of the PRIDE objectives. We will be sharing these widely within the Trust over the next few weeks to give everybody the opportunity to comment before they are signed off.

We had some good news about Information Governance at the meeting. That might sound like quite a dry subject, but protecting our patients’ personal information is a key priority, and it was good to hear the progress we’ve made. We now have an 86% compliance rating against all the national standards, which is extremely good. I was particularly pleased at how well all of our colleagues have responded to the annual training requirement.

It looks like the rain has finally stopped – at least for the few minutes while I write this blog – and the sun is beginning to shine, which you might usually expect in June. Although the summer’s with us, I’m conscious the hospitals are still under huge pressure in terms of ED attendances and demand for emergency admissions. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all out teams throughout the entire clinical pathway for continuing to do their absolute best to keep our patients safe and cared for. 

 Have a great weekend 

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