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March 24th 2017

Gavin Boyle
One of the great things about our Trust is the way we use art not only to brighten up the place, but also to help improve the experience of patients, visitors and colleagues who come to our hospitals every day. I was delighted on Tuesday to be asked to say a few words at the launch of our latest Air Arts exhibition, which includes work from local artists across 35 sites at the Royal Derby and London Road Community Hospitals. This is a special exhibition as it celebrates 10 years of the Air Arts project in our Trust. It’s had a massive impact since it was introduced, changing the relationship between the hospitals and the people who use our services. It’s not just visual art; we also have poetry, music and other performance, as well as creative workshops for patients. We had some students from Birmingham Conservatoire performing for us on Tuesday, flying the flag for these different art forms, which all contributes to making our hospitals a better place to be. This was the first of a number of special events over the coming year to mark Air Arts’ anniversary, with future celebrations including an exhibition made up by artistic members of staff. We held our first staff-inspired display last year and it was fantastic to see so much talent on show. It will be great to see more of that. One of our staff artists, Pip Herbert, was at the launch on Tuesday, and it was lovely to see that he also has work in this exhibition in the form of a new sculpture called Time Flies, on level five – another surrealist masterpiece! 
I reflected with Laura Waters, Air Arts Programme Manager, this week how the use of arts is becoming an integral part of our hospitals. She told me that increasingly art is being used as part of our inpatient therapy. On Kings Lodge, our neuro-rehabilitation unit at London Road Hospital, we work with community interest company Whiffle Pig to help support the rehabilitation of patients with brain injury. We’ve actually been put forward for a national award as part of the #Peoplesproject, which could see us winning £50,000 of National Lottery funding to support this project. The project is being shown on ITV Central news in the East Midlands tonight, so make sure you take a look and then cast your vote at https://www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk/projects/view/whiffle-while-you-workshop This money would make a huge difference to our patients, so please, do your bit for the Trust – cast your vote and support the work we do for Derby! Just remember to check your junk email for the confirmation email, as the vote doesn’t work unless you click on the link in that. 
It’s always a smashing start to a week when we have our staff induction session, but I was particularly pleased at this week’s event to see so many new volunteers. I mention our volunteers quite a lot as I think we’re lucky to have them; our hospitals are a better place for the work that they do. One of the things we do at induction is talk about our PRIDE ambitions. It was great to hear our volunteers’ perspective on how we’re trying to move forward with this as a Trust. It was heart-warming to hear the personal stories involving themselves or their loved ones which inspired them to volunteer and give a little something back. 
I’ve been out and about quite a lot this week as we update people about our partnership with Burton. We’ve had a number of briefings for staff at the Royal Derby and London Road Community hospitals and I’ve also headed outside the Trust to spend time with some of our stakeholders. On Tuesday I spent some time at County Hall in Stafford with members of Staffordshire County Council’s Oversight and Scrutiny Committee to talk about the way our Trusts are working together to improve services. The emerging details shed a little more light on how we can sustain local services in Burton and support the development of specialist services here in Derby. We also want to make better use of our community hospitals in Derby, Lichfield and Tamworth. As part of this work we have now set up a patient reference group and a staff reference group, which both have members from both areas, so we can hear the voices of service users and colleagues as we begin to develop the detail of our plans. There’ll be some public engagement events later in the spring so we can share our plans with the wider community, and they can share their views with us. 
Did you know this week was National Kitchen Table Week? This was an event to help promote conversations in hospitals about patient safety, both how we make practical improvements but also how we encourage a culture of openness to ensure everyone feels able to share any concerns they may have, so these can be sorted. Believe it or not, we have our very own portable kitchen table – equipped with red gingham table cloth, so we took that around both our hospitals so staff could pop along for a chat. I enjoyed catching up with Lorri Purcell, one of our senior midwives, who wanted to talk to me about how our Maternity team are improving ante-natal care. By changing our approach to care before a baby is born, both in the hospital and in the community, we can help to keep mothers and babies safe. 
That’s all for this week. Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to watch ITV Central news for our Whiffle Pig project tonight – and here’s that link again https://www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk/projects/view/whiffle-while-you-workshop

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