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June 1st 2018

Gavin Boyle

I don’t think it’s ever happened before but that was the second bank holiday weekend in a row where we had some decent weather!  I hope you at least got some opportunity to have a bit of a rest and enjoy the sunshine.  One thing’s for sure, the demand for our services, particularly for emergency patients, didn’t let up over the weekend.  Both our EDs for adults and children saw high levels of attendances and worked extremely hard to ensure that patients needing those services received good care.  

Taking care of our emergency patients was top of the agenda at the Trust Delivery Group this week.  This is the senior group of leaders within the Trust that reports directly into the Board and is effectively responsible for the day to day running of the hospitals.  This time, we focussed particularly on a recommendation made recently by the Care Quality Commission, in a report about key learning points from the experiences of health systems across the country during last winter.  One of their recommendations was about the importance of having agreed standards between the ED clinical team and other specialties within a hospital, so that when a patient’s care is transferred from the ED team should an admission be required, this works as smoothly as possible.  Arthur Stephen, our Medical Director, has been leading a piece of work talking to colleagues in ED and the different specialties about their respective responsibilities to each other but also what they can expect in return.  This is an important opportunity to make the admission of our emergency patients more streamline and safer too.  We’re planning to do some further work over the next couple of weeks with a view to piloting this new way of working in the beginning July.

Sticking with our emergency theme, at TDG we also had an update on the major capital project to redesign our facilities at ‘the front door’, this includes the emergency department but also specialist assessment areas such as those for medicine and surgery.  This project is not just about the bricks and mortar though, it’s about understanding the needs of our patients, designing a clinical model which meets them and then finally creating a physical environment that supports this.  The capital project has a value of around £20m and so it’s a large piece of work.  At the moment, we’re focussed principally on the development of the clinical model and the design work needed before the construction can begin.  We’re hoping to have concluded this planning phase before Christmas.  

I was delighted to meet Mr Brij Madhok, who is one of our newer Consultants.  Blog readers will know that I make a habit of catching up with our new consultants not long after they’ve started just to hear about their initial experiences and to make sure that we’re looking after them.  Brij has actually been with us quite a while, he worked here as a locum consultant and then was appointed to a substantive post about a year ago.  He works as part of our surgical team and is particularly focussed on our Bariatric service.  This is highly specialised surgery and part of our hospital that we’re looking to develop.  He was extremely positive about his first year and we talked about some of the potential opportunities to develop this service going forward.  One issue that we did touch on was the impact on planned activity of the winter as we sought to accommodate additional emergency patients. I was able to describe some of the work that we’re doing including the provision of some additional medical beds to help ensure that our planned surgical programme can be maintained to a greater degree this winter. Great to meet you, Brij!

I was delighted on Tuesday morning to be asked by Sue Roberts, Lead Dementia Nurse, to make some opening comments at our annual dementia study day.  It was great to see so many colleagues from across the health and care system from a wide range of different organisations including health and social care as well as the voluntary and private sector too.  Improving how we support our patients who are living with dementia is a major priority for the Trust.  There are currently 850,000 people in the country living with dementia and this number is rising.  About 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 have dementia and 1 in 6 people over the age of 80.  And it’s not just the elderly; there are about 40,000 people under the age of 65 who are also affected by dementia.  For the hospital, about a quarter of all of our in-patients have dementia and that’s one of the reasons it’s such a priority for us.  We have a five year strategy to improve our care for them and have introduced a whole range of improvements to make this part of our service better.  This includes making dementia awareness training for all our staff mandatory; we also have around 500 dementia friends in the Trust who have a particular interest in supporting users of our services affected in this way.  We’ve introduced dementia key workers on our elderly wards to help there and this can involve spending time with our dementia patients, perhaps listening to music from different eras, films or reminiscing with patients and their families.  I was delighted to see so many colleagues there who were clearly committed to improving this aspect of our care and also that this is something that as a health community we need to work together, so that our efforts are in concert.  

And with joined up care in mind, I finished this week with my regular get together with the leaders of the health and social care provider organisations across Derbyshire and GPs leaders too, to discuss our plans for making the health and social care system within the county work in a more joined up way.

Have a great weekend

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