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May 11th 2018

Gavin Boyle

I always enjoy my trips to London Road Community Hospital and so this week’s blog is a bit of an LRCH special!  

One of the things we do as a Board is run a programme of regular visits to different parts of the Trust.  It’s called ‘Board 2 Ward’ – it’s a bit of a misnomer because our trips are not just wards but also to supporting departments as well.  One of the things I often talk about at our Induction for new starters is the importance of an open culture.  We’re aiming to make DTHFT the kind of place where if you’re worried about something you feel comfortable to say so, so that whatever the issue is can be sorted out.  The ‘Board 2 Ward’ programme is an opportunity for frontline colleagues to meet with members of the Board and ‘tell it like it is’.  So this week myself, Sir Stephen Moss, one of our Non-Executive Directors, and also Rita Merrison, one of our Public Governors paid a visit to Kings Lodge and Ward 4 at London Road.  We were accompanied by Lou Alberts, who’s one of our Matrons with a special responsibility for LRCH.  Our first stop was Kings Lodge which looks after our patients who are recovering from a brain injury caused perhaps by a traumatic accident or through illness.  This is a really important unit focussed on rehabilitation and helping those patients to lead as full a life as possible outside of the hospital.  We met with Sister Louisa Finn and Margaret Phillips, one of our Consultants in Rehabilitation Medicine (and demon cyclist!).  Kings Lodge gets so much positive feedback from patients and families – I always seem to be signing Pride of Derby certificates for the Ward or colleagues who work there.  I was impressed by the multi-disciplinary approach and how medicine, nursing and therapies all work together to maximise the rehabilitation of their patients.  It’s only a couple of years since the Unit moved from the RDH and I can remember visiting them for the first time shortly afterwards.  They seem to have really settled in but did raise a few issues with me that we need to sort out to make the services they provide even better.  I’ll be following these issues up and it’s exactly the sort of things you want to learn about on a ‘Board 2 Ward’ visit.  Well done to Louisa, Margaret and all the team on Kings Lodge.  

Our next stop was to Ward 4 which is a general rehabilitation ward for patients who’ve had an acute medical admission but now recovering and on their way to discharge.  One of the big challenges for the ward is caring for patients suffering from dementia.  I was pleased to learn of the efforts being made to ensure that colleagues who work there are trained and supported to deliver the best possible care for this vulnerable group of patients.  Sadly it’s an area of increasing demand for us as a Trust but I’m delighted to see so much positive work being done to make sure that we offer dementia suffers and their families the very best support we can.  It was lunch time when we visited and I was delighted to see so many patients in the ward dining room enjoying their lunch together.  The length of stay for patients on our Rehabilitation wards is longer than elsewhere within the Trust and so I was pleased that staff were going the extra mile to create a more homely and social atmosphere.

As you know I do like a wander and so after completing our Board 2 Ward visits I also took the opportunity to spend a bit longer at LRCH.  My next stop was with Pension and Payroll Service – these really are unsung heroes and you might not know but they’re tucked away in the basement at London Road.  I’d been invited along by Shar Tomlinson and Greg Chambers who look after the team.  They’ve done an amazing job recently taking on the payroll and pension services for Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust – it’s all part of our plans to form a new organisation later in the summer – this has been a huge task and the team have risen to the challenge admirably.  I know from colleagues across the Trust that their friendly and personal service is highly valued and I’m pleased that our partners at Burton will now be getting the same level of service.  It was good to see that two colleagues there had joined us as apprentices and on completion had been taken on into permanents roles.  As you know I’m a big supporter of our apprenticeship programme and it’s great to see how it’s helping to develop local talent.  It goes without saying that no matter how much we love our jobs, we do like to get paid at the end of the month!  I was so impressed by the ethos of the team which was, that no matter what it takes, they will always make sure that happens – which is obviously a relief!  However for the payroll to work smoothly it needs our managers to give them the right information so that our people get the right pay.  So a bit of a plea from me if you’re a line manager make sure that you help them by giving them timely information about changes in peoples working patterns or when they leave – this makes all the difference.  

I then met up with Jackie Marriott who is one of our senior leaders in Facilities Management and I was delighted that she was able to introduce me to some of her colleagues.  One of the positive things I hear about London Road is the quality of the food not only for patients but also down in the Bistro for staff and members of the public.  Bernard Shoebridge who’s the catering manager has done great things to improve services there and it was good to have a look round his patch and into the food preparation and storage areas.  If you think our operating theatres are clean, you want to check out Bernard’s kitchen!  It was then on to meet Richard Hill, Estates Manager and to catch up on some of the work they’ve been doing to improve the site which has seen quite a lot of upgrading recently.  I had a quick look around the new therapies and rehab dept there – which was looking a treat!  Now here’s something I bet you don’t know – under the car park at London Road, deep under the ground 250 feet to be exact – there is a system of rods which capture geothermal energy from the earth’s core which is then used to heat water in the hospital.  Richard took me around the geothermal energy unit on the site and explained how it worked.  We’ve also got an array of solar panels as well and it was impressive to see how modern technology was being used to help reduce our operating costs but also our carbon footprint too.  So the next time you’re parking at London Road give a thought to what’s happening under your feet!  I also met up with Julie, Keith and Llyn, other members of Jackie’s London Road team and it was a real pleasure to meet them all.  

More celebrations this week.  This time its international nurse’s week and one of the highlights of my year is our annual Florence Nightingale commemorative service.  So tomorrow it’s at St Peters Church, St Peters Street, Derby and starts at 11am. It’s a great occasion and a great opportunity to celebrate our nurses as well as one of our national heroes.  You might not know it but Florence Nightingale was brought up in Derbyshire and maintained close connections with the city and county throughout her left.  She designed the Nightingale ward at the Derby General Infirmary and advised on the design of the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary which replaced the DGI in 1894.  So if you get the chance do come along and join us and the Derby Hospital choir will be leading the singing and I’m sure will be on superb form as ever.  

Have a great weekend!

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