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June 8th 2018

Gavin Boyle

One of the things I talk a lot about in this blog is the importance of partnerships. Obviously our work with our neighbouring Trust in Burton is very much at the forefront of my thinking but there are also other relationships that are really important to us. We have a regular partnership meeting with colleagues from Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS) and on Monday we spent a bit of time working through our plans to make best use of our facilities particularly in Ilkeston where we would like to see increased surgical activity and also re-establishing the endoscopy service there if possible. Being able to provide care closer to where people live is an important part of our ‘Joined Up Care’ Derbyshire strategy and it’s good to see colleagues from both Trusts working on the detail of how to make this happen.

It was a pleasure this week to meet with one of our newer Consultants. As blog readers will know I make a particular point of catching up with new Consultants just to make sure that we’re looking after them and to hear their impressions while they still have a fresh pair of eyes. Flora Kovacs, one of our interventional radiologists dropped by for a coffee and talked about the experiences of her first year in a substantive consultant role at the Trust. Interventional Radiology is a highly specialised area of work where we use sophisticated imaging but also the insertion of fine wires into blood vessels to remove clots that may be restricting the blood supply. This can often be a limb saving intervention. One of the things that most impressed me about Flora was her enthusiasm but I asked her why she chosen to come and work at Derby given that her specialised skills are in short supply and are so highly sought after. She explained that having been a trainee here in Derby, she so enjoyed her training experience that she wanted to come back and work here as a consultant. Our educational role, not just for Doctors but all manner of staff, is such an important part of what we do but it was a reminder of how this is also building our workforce for the future and explains why quite often we are able to recruit into roles where other organisations struggle. Flora offered to let me shadow her when she is operating to see the work of her team for myself. I am really looking forward to this and will obviously let you know how get on.

We had our board meeting this week and as ever we began with a patient story. Sometimes this can be quite an uplifting experience where we hear an example of where a patient has received good care and it reminds us of the things we need to do more of. However, this time we heard a very sobering and quite upsetting story from Jane O’Daly-Miller who is our lead for Safeguarding within the Trust. She told us, in an anonymised way, the story of a particular woman who had used our maternity services over a number of years but with some profoundly difficult personal and social challenges. Without going through the details her story reflected some of the darkest and most difficult aspects of our society. Clearly as providers of health services we have a really important part to play and although the story Jane told us was distressing I was left with a sense of admiration for our teams, in this case Midwifery for the difficult jobs they do in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I was also heartened that this is an area where we recognise there’s still more to do and no room for complacency. 

On a lighter note it was the highlight of my week today to attend our annual celebration lunch for our volunteers.  These are the ‘heroes in red’ who you so often see around the hospital providing those services which make the experience of our patients and indeed our staff that little bit better. They look after things like the patient library, way-finding for visitors, the buggy service and much more. We have about 406 active volunteers who range from 16 years old to 92! They also keep innovating and I was delighted to hear of some new developments such as the new Discharge Driver service which aims to help patients get home from hospital when they are ready to leave us and also the a tandem buggy service at London Road which should start shortly. We’ve had a week of celebrations to mark their contribution, including trips up to the Heli-Pad, breakfast at London Road and Coffee/Cakes at RDH too. I know our volunteers are not seeking recognition but I think it is really important that we say ‘Thank You’ for the things that they do. They’re such an important part of the life of the Hospitals and long may that continue. 

We have got quite an important week coming up next week regarding our partnership with Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust. We’ve got Extraordinary meetings of our Boards and also Councils of Governors as they consider the detail of the merger proposals. We’re still aiming for a start of the new organisation hopefully at the beginning of July but I’ll let you know how things are going.

Have a great weekend.

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