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March 29th 2018

Gavin Boyle

It’s good to talk.  And I’ve certainly done a lot of that this week with our people, our governors and members of the public too about our merger with Burton Hospitals.  But more on that in a minute. The Senior Leadership team within the Trust meets each month – it’s called the Trust Delivery Group – this reports directly to the Board and is responsible for the operational delivery of the Trust’s plans and making sure that the hospitals are working effectively.  This group also considers new ideas and proposals to develop our service.  This week we heard a couple of proposals that we were delighted to support.  Firstly, Dr Gerry van Schalkwyk, who’s the head of our Pathology Service, came to talk about a research programme called the 100,000 Genomes project.  Now, one of our main functions as a teaching hospital is to engage in research to improve the care for patients in the future.  Often we do this in partnership with other organisations and this particular project is with Cambridge University to help decode the genes of patients with rare diseases including cancer.  The aim is by understanding the genetic makeup of patients suffering from these conditions we will be able to find better ways to treat and prevent disease.  The benefits for patients are huge – more precise diagnostics, earlier diagnosis, new drugs and treatments, new cures and new medical devices.  This is a really exciting and cutting edge research programme and we were delighted to offer Gerry and the team our full support.  

We also had a terrific presentation from Penny Owens who is our General Manager for Imaging Services – which includes x-ray, MRI, CT ultrasound etc – and she described how advances in technology and expertise together with rising demand for treatment was driving considerable long term growth in the demand for these important diagnostic services.  This analysis will form the foundation for a refreshed long term workforce plan to ensure that we can continue to keep on top of the demand.  This will include not only how we develop our medical colleagues but also the increasingly significant role of Reporting Radiographers who are not only able to take the images but also to analyse them and report on the findings.  As a first step on this journey, we approved a proposal to increase the numbers of trainee Registrars in radiology – these are doctors in training who’ll go onto become consultants in the future.  All part of our ‘grow our own’ strategy.  

So, back to the merger.  Blog readers will remember last week that I explained that although we’d hoped to form the new organisation – University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust – from the 1 April, our regulators NHSI had asked for more time to work with us on some of the financial aspects of the case.  I spent a lot of time this week talking to our people and had a good discussion down at London Road Community Hospital and also up here at RDH but also with our Council of Governors and we had members meetings both in Burton and in Derby too.  John Rivers, our Chair, and myself, were keen to make sure that all of our stakeholders are fully briefed – we particularly emphasised how along with the Competition and Markets Authority, NHSI were fully supportive of the clinical case underpinning the merger – everybody is persuaded by the real benefits for patients.  I’m confident that we can work together with NHSI over the next few weeks in order to bring our proposals to fruition and form the new organisation hopefully in June/July this year.  

I mentioned that last week we had the farewell ‘do’ for Dr Nigel Sturrock, our Executive Medical Director, and indeed today is Nigel’s last day with us here at DTHFT.  As I said last week we’ll be really sorry to see him go but wish him well in his new role as the Regional Medical Director for the Midlands and East.  I’d also like to thank senior clinical colleagues who’ve stepped forward to cover the Medical Director role in the period running up to the merger.  Mr Arthur Stephen, Orthopaedic Consultant and Divisional Medical Director for Surgery, will be the acting Executive Medical Director ably supported by Ben Pearson, Divisional Medical Director for Integrated Care who will lead on quality and Chris Whale, Divisional Medical Director for Medicine, who’ll support Arthur with medical workforce and IT as well as acting as Deputy.  Tracy Tinklin, one of our consultant paediatricians will kindly cover the Responsible Officer role for medical revalidation.  This is a great example of colleagues rallying round to help out.

A special congratulations are also in order to Dr Andrew ‘Bod’ Goddard, one of our consultant gastroenterologists, who’s just been named the next President of the Royal College of Physicians.  Well done indeed!

The Easter Bunny came early this week with the welcome news of an additional £6.5m of capital money to support building three new theatres and some well needed additional ward space too.  We’ll be working on the detail of our plans and would hope to get the extra capacity on line by Christmas.  Also part of this will be some funds to help develop the endoscopy service out at Ilkeston Community Hospital – this is all part of our Joined Up Care plan for Derbyshire.

Talking of the Easter Bunny – as a small token of appreciation to colleagues working over the Bank Holiday weekend you can print out a voucher on Flo for a free drink and a hot cross bun!  Not much I know – but just a small way to say ‘thank you’!  One of the things about hospitals is that when everybody else is having a rest, our work continues as ever.  So thank you again for everybody who’ll be working this weekend keeping our patients safe and well cared for.  

Have a great weekend.

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