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May 12th 2017

Gavin Boyle

It’s been a funny old week for me, having spent quite a lot of my time outside the hospital talking with a wide range of colleagues from all over the country about the issues of the day.  

As blog readers will know I’m very keen on leadership and how this can improve the quality of care we give. Whether you’re a clinical leader or you work in a supporting role there’s no doubt that the way our leaders support all of our colleagues is an important part of delivering great care. You might not know that as well as my day job I’m also the Chair of the East Midlands Leadership Academy. On Tuesday I went along with my fellow chairs to meet with Steven Hart, the new Head of the National Leadership Academy for the NHS.  The purpose was to influence the implementation of the national strategy for leadership development and talent management.  It was a good discussion and I felt that Steven was really listening to the messages from the service frontline.  I’m sure this will have a big influence on how this work moves forward.  

As you might expect as a hospital Trust our priority is delivering the best possible care to our patients, but our status as a teaching hospital also means we play an important role in education of future doctors, nurses and other clinicians. We also make a substantial contribution to the research and development of new technologies and treatments.  

As a teaching hospital we are a member of the Association of UK University Hospitals, and I had the opportunity this week to spend a day or so at an event with colleagues from other hospitals in this group.  We had a range of speakers to help stimulate discussion, but I was particularly struck by a presentation from Keith McNeil, who’s recently been appointed as the first ever Clinical Information Officer for the NHS.  His role is to champion the use of informatics and digital technology to improve patient safety, experience and clinical outcomes.  Keith’s an interesting chap – a former transplant surgeon, NHS hospital Chief Executive and, believe it or not, a Special Forces soldier in the Australian military.  It makes me wonder what I have been doing with my life!  His presentation focussed particularly on a range of challenges facing health in the UK and particularly how we can better organise information to deliver an improved service to patients.  

I had a great example of this, this week, when we received some external feedback as part of one of the national GIRFT (‘get it right first time’) reviews of clinical services. This programme is aimed at using comparative data to raise standards and improve efficiency in specific patient services.  This time it was the turn of our Oral and Maxillofacial service to be put under the magnifying glass.  We received a very positive report but I was particularly impressed when Mr Keith Jones, one of our OMF surgeons described how the team used barcode technology to capture digital information about patients. This is done in such a way that it helps identify variation in clinical practice but it could also be used to improve patient safety as part of our checking processes, particularly in the operating theatre.  It’s a great example of how technology can be used in a practical way to keep patients safe and improve the way we deliver our services.  

One of the things that amazes me about working at Derby Teaching Hospitals is the goodwill and support we get from our local community.  A great example of this is the many donations we receive to the hospital charity.  So just to do my bit I’ll be joining six colleagues to cycle from Whitehaven on the Cumbrian Coast across to Tynemouth on the North Sea Coast to raise funds for Derby Hospitals Charity’s general fund. Stuart Benney, a member of our clinical audit team, is doing all the organising – he’s assured me that the bit between the North Sea and the Irish Sea is really flat – a lot like Holland, apparently… apart from the Lake District and the Pennines that is!  Money from the Charity has recently to fund special projects such as comfort packs for families of end of life patients, Air Arts, patient engagement events and dementia training, to name but a few.  So if you fancy sponsoring me the just giving link is: 


Remember to mention ‘Gavin’ when you’re donating if you want your donation to go to the general fund.  The other day someone asked me if I was planning on doing the ride on my Brompton. Now that’s a really crazy idea – imagine those tiny wheels struggling over those enormous hills.  However it got me thinking and if my sponsorship money beats the £500 mark, I will give it a go!  

Finally, just to end with a bit of good news – back on the subject of data – there’s a national organisation called CHKS who provide comparative information to hospitals to help compare performance and improve quality.  CHKS have an annual awards ceremony where they choose the UKs top 40 hospitals in terms of clinical outcomes and patient safety and I was delighted to receive an announcement today that we were one of them!  It’s always nice to be a bit of external recognition so well done everyone!

Have a great weekend


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