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May 18th 2018

Gavin Boyle

Lots to talk about this week including visits to the Antenatal Clinic and the Children’s Emergency Department, our Council of Governors, the HOPE exchange programme, Lean Thinking and much more besides.

But before that I just wanted to share with you some very sad news this week.  Chris Hole, one of our Non-Executive Directors, sadly passed away last weekend here in the Nightingale Macmillan Unit.  This was following a long illness but part of me is comforted by the fact that in his final hours he was cared for by the organisation which he’d served so well.  Chris has been a Non-Executive Director here for many years and his background in Rolls-Royce brought his shrewd business acumen to bear on some of the knotty problems we face as we strive to do the best we possibly can for the local community we serve.  He’ll be a real loss to the Board but it was lovely recently that Chris was able to attend some key meetings in the last few weeks and as ever was on top form.  We’ll miss you Chris.

Blog readers will remember that a couple of weeks ago I’d had a fantastic visit to our Maternity Services but as ever I ran out of time on the day.  So this week I made a return trip and spent a couple of hours talking to the team in the antenatal clinic here at the hospital.  For most women their antenatal care happens in a community setting but for those mums who are under the care of the obstetricians they come into the hospital for their appointments. The Antenatal Clinic is a key part of the service we deliver and has a vital role in improving the safety of mums who use our service.  This can be quite a tough job and inevitably some of the challenges that we face as a society also affect many of the mums who come to use our services.  One particular issue we focussed on was the need to care for mums with drug and alcohol problems which is sadly quite a common challenge.  I was pleased with the approach of the team there who seek not to judge but to offer the best care they can with the wellbeing of the mums and babies at the forefront of everything that they do.

Andy March, our General Manager for the Paediatrics Business Unit, was in touch this week to update me on some of the operational challenges being experienced in the Children’s ED at the moment.  It’s been a particularly challenging time for this service not only because of the number of children who need their care but also the complex nature of some of those cases.  It was a real pleasure to sit down and talk to Julia Sturridge, one of our Children’s Emergency Department Consultants, and Senior Sister Alison Porter to talk it through.  I was really impressed by their commitment to delivering a great service in spite of some of the challenges.  One of the issues raised was the number of children and young adults who come to CED with mental health problems and how this has increased both in numbers and also in complexity over recent years.  They described the difficulty of providing good care for those individuals but balancing this with the needs of rest of the department.  If a particular young person requires admission then this can be especially challenging given that there are no specialist in-patient mental health beds for children in Derbyshire and consequently it can be quite a protracted process to identify one out of the county.    This presents many challenges to the team but I was particularly impressed by their dedication to ensure that those children were well looked after whilst in their care.  Alison also described some of the challenges that we face in terms of nurse staffing not simply in relation to recruitment but rather how to provide a long term career path for colleagues so they stay with our service here in Derby.  It was a really good discussion and there were a couple of points that I was able to take away which I felt that I could help them with.   

On Tuesday morning I caught up with Marie Bergsten who’s the OT Manager in Specialty Care at the Hudiksvall and Gavle Acute Care Hospitals in Sweden.  She was visiting us as part of the HOPE Exchange programme which I mentioned last year.  This is a great opportunity for overseas colleagues to spend some time within the Trust and learn about our approach to tackling some common challenges which are relevant to their own system.  We had a great conversation and I’m always delighted to support the HOPE Exchange programme and it was a pleasure to hear from Marie about her own experiences and learn from them too.

Also this week we had another briefing with our Governors both from Burton and Derby, this time down at Queens Hospital, Burton.  We focussed on some of the workforce challenges facing both Trusts at the moment and how we believed the merger and the formation of the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton would help to meet these challenges.  The new Trust would provide greater opportunity for career progression, support the development of clinical specialisms, help to improve recruitment and provide greater flexibility to develop new models of care such as the Associate Nursing role, ACPs, Reporting Radiographers etc building on our existing success in this area.

I also squeezed in a day in London, this time at a conference – I don’t go to many!  - this was all about the application LEAN Thinking in the Healthcare context – this has been pioneered at the Virginia Mason in Seattle and DTHFT has been selected as just one of 7 Trusts nationally to form part of a programme to introduce some of the learning from Lean and Virginia Mason into our own organisations.  Lots more on this in future blogs I’m sure!

I am absolutely delighted to see that we have once again been named by CHKS as one of the 40 top performing trusts in the country. We pride ourselves on always putting our patients first and prioritising quality care, so it’s fantastic to receive this recognition.  Also well done to Paul Brooks and his team who won The Transport and Travel award at the NHS Sustainability Awards this week.

Just a special mention to all of my colleagues of the Islamic faith.  Ramadan is considered to be the holiest month of the year for Muslims and it begins this week. I’d like to wish all Muslim colleagues Ramadan Mubarak! 
Finally we had a fantastic day last Saturday when we celebrated Florence Nightingale’s birthday at St Peters Church with our regular celebration marking the contribution of all of our fabulous nurses.  This weekend it’s Pedal in the Peaks on Sunday – 36 miles on the trusty steed around Derbyshire starting from Carsington Water – all for Derby Hospitals Charity but it’s usually a great event and I hope the sun is shining this year!
And finally (finally) we’ve got a Royal wedding this weekend – it’s not necessarily everybody’s cup of tea but I hope everyone who wants to gets a chance to watch but I’m sure all will join with me in wishing the happy couple the very best – obviously I’ll be thinking about lemon and elderflower cake!

Have a great weekend 

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