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May 13th 2016

Gavin Boyle
Looking after our people is one of my top priorities and everyone who works at Derby Teaching Hospitals has an essential and unique part to play in making sure our patients receive great care.  

So, it was a real pleasure on Monday morning to be asked along to meet with some of our ISS colleagues and cut the ribbon on their new training room. Although ISS is an independent organisation it’s really plain to me that all our colleagues who work for them, our porters, housekeepers, cleaners, caterers, on the switchboard and much more are absolutely part of the Derby Teaching Hospitals family. These colleagues have a huge impact on the quality of our patient’s experience when they come to RDH and LRCH and that should be celebrated. It was great to meet Donna Brown, Divisional Director for ISS, for the first time as we opened this facility to provide dedicated space for training. There were also some awards given out for long service and individual achievements. It was great to celebrate the successes of Mick Clarke, Darren Boulter, Simon Collard, Tom Richardson, Bev Taylor, Jonathan Hamilton, Val Fletcher and Andrew Naylor.  Many of the people who work for ISS have been part of the day-to-day life of the Trust for many years, and it was a pleasure to be there when their achievements were recognised.  Well done to them! 

On Monday afternoon, as part of my mission to avoid the office, I managed to get out with Gill Ogden, Divisional Nurse Director, on one of her regular assurance visits to check the quality of care for patients. This time, it was on one of the wards which specialise in providing respiratory care. Gill took me through the checks and systems we have in place to make sure patient care on our wards is up to scratch. I met senior sister Hannah, who was straight back to work following her recent wedding, and it was lovely to spend time chatting to one or two patients about their experiences. I always make a point of asking patients what they think about the food – and these patients were actually very complimentary. One gentleman suggested we might have more rice crispies on the menu, so Hannah was straight onto the case!  

I spent some time this week with colleagues in Cancer Services, as Caroline Penn, Macmillan Cancer Strategy Lead Nurse, organised for me to spend some time with the team down there. I was very impressed by the Cancer team, who work so hard to ensure the MDT meetings function smoothly and patients receive their appointments, tests and results in a timely way, giving them prompt care and delivering challenging national standards for cancer treatment. 

On that note, I was delighted to hear that quarter four of the last financial year, the Trust delivered all the national cancer standards. These are particularly challenging and I suspect we are in the minority of Trusts in achieving these during that quarter. It is the result of a huge amount of work right across the hospital to make sure that our cancer patients get the very best care. 

It was a pleasure to spend time with Sue Marriott and Lorna Macdonald for a tour of Radiotherapy, one of our most high-tech parts of the hospital. There is a huge project going on down there in the basement to replace our linear accelerators, which generate the radiation used to treat the cancers. This is an extremely challenging and complex process, but even so the team are managing to make sure the patients are all still receiving their treatment on time. It will be well worth the effort – we’ll have an absolutely state-of-the-art facility, allowing us to improve the treatment we offer for patients. 

Staying with cancer, we have been running skin checks this week with the charity Skcin, as it was Sun Awareness Week. Hundreds of people underwent skin checks last year, and this week our staff were able to get involved as well. I went along and had my skin photographed to look for any sun damage. I was doing pretty well, except for what was kindly described as ‘where the tide is receding’. I have to tell you the tide has well and truly gone out!  So I need to remember to wear my hat if I’m out in the sun this weekend. It was a timely reminder for all out staff of the importance of taking the right precautions in the sun. 

One of the things I love about my job is the variety. I was reminded of this when I spent an interesting session this week in the company of two colleagues from overseas. Isabel Rodrigo, a doctor working at a hospital in Pamplona, Spain, and Mojca Miholcic, a GP working in a University Health Centre in Ljubljana, Slovenia. They were on a visit to see how we roll in Derby. It was great to hear about their health systems, and some of the challenges they face. To be honest, they were not that dissimilar to our own – increasing demand, not enough money and greater expectations from the people we serve. It was a really interesting conversation and it’s good to think people are keen to come to Derby to see what we’re doing. 

This morning we’ve held a Clinical Summit for leaders from Burton Hospitals and our own clinicians to think through how we can work more closely together as partners to improve care for our communities.  And this afternoon I’m going on an Urgent Care Pathway walk with Divisional Director Neil Radford – high levels of emergency patients shows no sign of stopping and so I’m keen to hear from colleagues on the frontline about the challenges and how we can work together to make sure our patients still get the right care.  

Just a reminder for tomorrow, Saturday.  We’re celebrating the life of Florence Nightingale at Derby Cathedral at 11am – do come along – I’ll see you there! 

Finally, this week has seen a fond farewell to Claire White, Associate Director of Corporate Development, who has moved on to pastures new. We’re very sorry to see her go, but very grateful for all the energy and enthusiasm she has brought to the Trust. Good luck Claire!

Have a great weekend   

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