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May 20th 2016

Gavin Boyle
Sticking with my promise from a few blogs back to spend more time at LRCH, I took part in a PLACE visit earlier this week. PLACE stands for Patient-led Assessments of the Care Environment. It looks at the quality of the hospital environment to make sure it is ship shape and up to scratch for our patients. Paul Brooks, Associate Director of Facilities, was MC for the visit, and we were joined by our Lead Governor Beverley and colleagues from Healthwatch Derby, who came along to provide an independent view. As part of the inspection we looked at things like access, signage, cleanliness and even made sure the patient and public loos are nice and clean. If you saw me lurking around some of those areas at London Road, that’s why!  It was also a good opportunity to talk to patients about their experience, and really try to see our hospitals through their eyes. I’m pleased to say that by and large, things seem reasonably good, but as always, there are things we could improve. 

One of the things I was really pleased to see at LRCH was the way we are beginning to build into our redecorating programme features which make the hospital more dementia-friendly.  For example, creating contrasting floor and wall colouring, colourful pictorial signs for bathrooms and toilets and other work which generally makes the environment better for the increasing number of our patients who are living with dementia.

That leads me on to a fantastic event I attended this week.  The Library and Knowledge Service launched their new dementia resources offer.  They have been working with local businesses including Boots, Rolls-Royce and even Derby County FC to put together a set of memory boxes and other aids to improve care and communication for our service users with dementia.  The team had invited voluntary groups as well along for the launch, and I was impressed to see the huge amount on offer to make a real difference to our patients and their families. Thanks to all who came along to provide information, particularly Derby County FC, who set up a museum of artefacts and created an old-fashioned football match. With tickets, old programmes and games playing on the big screen, there was a real atmosphere to the event – the smell of Bovril pervaded all and Rammie was on good form too!

Our number one PRIDE objective is ‘Putting Patients First’, and improving the services we provide for patients with dementia is a fundamental part of this.

The PRIDE objectives have been at the heart of my week.  We had a ‘time-out’ with the Board and our divisional leaders on Monday, which gave us the opportunity to really think about PRIDE and what this means to us now. 

In case you’ve forgotten, PRIDE stands for:

P - putting our patients first

R – right first time

I – investing our resources wisely

D – developing our people

E – ensuring value from partnerships

It’s really a simple way to remember our key priorities. We will soon be circulating our Plan on Page for 2016/17, which sets out our immediate actions for each element of PRIDE, but Monday’s conversation was more about exploring our longer-term ambitions related to each of the PRIDE priorities, and what we would like to achieve over the next five years. These ambitions will be shared for comment and, once complete, we will use them as the star to steer the ship by for the next five years. We want to take our Trust from being a great place to work and to be a patient to one that is truly outstanding. PRIDE will give us the framework to do this.

One of our PRIDE priorities – the E – is ‘ensuring value from partnerships’ and I’ve been keeping you up to date about our developing relationship with Burton Hospitals. I mentioned briefly last week that we had a summit where clinical leaders from all disciplines across both hospitals met to talk about how we could work together to improve services for the communities we serve. On Monday night, we had the first formal partnership board, where board members and commissioners for both Trusts met to think through the practical things we can do to make our partnership come alive for our patients.

Finally, it was great news this week to hear that an agreement had been reached between the BMA and the Government regarding the new Junior Doctor contract. This has been a difficult period for our junior colleagues and also for the NHS and our patients.  Although the deal is still subject to a ballot of BMA members, I hope that this chapter is now drawing to a close. Here at Derby we have a good relationship with our juniors and we have worked closely together to minimise disruption and inconvenience for our patients during this time. Still, I’m glad there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sir David Dalton, who was asked to help discussions between the BMA and the Government described the outcome as a score draw, but I’d rather think of it as a win for our patients.

One of my priorities for the future, which links with D in our PRIDE framework, is to really think about how we engage our junior medical colleagues more fully in the life of the hospital. They move about a bit, but my aim is to make sure that when they are here they really feel part of the Derby family. So I was delighted this week when our Medical Director Nigel, told me he had interviewed for a new post at the Trust - a Fellow in Clinical Leadership and Management, who will help us to do just that. Some formalities still need to be sorted so I can’t tell you who it is yet, but I’ll update you as soon as I can.   

I’ve been a bit more office-based this week, as it’s appraisal time. I’m having these conversations with my executive team at the moment. I’m using the PRIDE framework to agree between us what our personal objectives are for the next year.  It will soon be my turn to sit down with the Chairman, and I’ll tell you all about that at the time. It just reminds me how important this conversation is, and everyone who works at Derby Teaching Hospitals is entitled to an appraisal. It’s a bit of quality time with your line manager to talk about your role and the individual contribution you make to our Trust. If you’ve not had yours yet, perhaps give a polite reminder to your boss to get their finger out and get it in the diary!

Have a great weekend, whether you’re working or having a break.  See you next week.

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