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November 17th 2017

Gavin Boyle

This week marked a real first for Derby Teaching Hospitals when we took the bold step of inventing a new sport – competitive commode cleaning! I am convinced that this could really catch on and it won’t be long before the Olympics beckon.  More on that in a moment. It was a good start to the week to catch up with Sam Thacker, who’s a doctor in training and also our Medical Leadership Fellow here at the Trust.  You’ll remember that a few weeks ago I spent a night in the hospital with Sam following him around as a member of the hospital at night team and working on our Medical Assessment Unit.  We agreed to meet up and have a chat and reflect on some of the learning from that evening.  One of the key things for me was how important it is to support colleagues to feel comfortable in asking for help when they need it.  This ability to escalate issues is a fundamental part of how we keep our patients safe and our staff well supported.  Sam is also thinking about developing a leadership development programme for junior medical staff and I know both myself and Nigel Sturrock, our Medical Director, will be really keen to help out.  

One of the highlights of this week was a morning I spent with James Mayne. Blog readers will remember that James has recently received a national award for the project Scan 4 Safety that he leads, which applies digital bar code technology to improving patient safety.  We went for a visit down to the Cardiac Catheter Labs. This is where patients with blocked coronary arteries go to have them unblocked. The team there described how they were using this technology to streamline their ordering and stock-management processes and how this was releasing senior clinical time to focus on looking after patients.  We also paid a visit to the Oral-maxillofacial theatres and I had a conversation with the team there who were using the technology to collect information about their theatre list – not only what consumables are used but also the patient and the members of staff involved so that there’s a complete record of all that’s happened.  They described how they were using this data to develop tailor-made packs of all of the items necessary for individual procedures, which are also tailor-made to the needs of individual surgeons.  By eliminating unnecessary items, this reduces the risk of errors and also helps the lists to run more smoothly, which takes the pressure off the team.  Myself and Kevin Downs, our Finance Director, have been asked to speak at a national conference next week regarding some of this works but I’m also delighted that Keith Jones, one of our Oral-Maxillofacial surgeons, will describe how this is helping him in his practice. Andrew Goddard, one of our consultants in Gastroenterology, will also be talking about how the technology is helping to improve safety in our Endoscopy Unit.  This really is trail-blazing stuff!

So, back to our commode challenge! I mentioned last week that we were re-doubling our efforts in our fight against C.diff. One important measure is to make sure that commodes are dismantled and thoroughly cleaned when they’ve been used to make them safe for the next patient.  Helen Forrest, who leads our Infection Prevention Control team, and her colleagues, have thought up a fun way to raise staff awareness and highlight the importance of this particular task.  So, each day at lunch time near to the staff restaurant they’ve been running a challenge for who can dismantle and clean a commode as quickly as possible.  Jim Murray, our Acting Chief Nurse and I were first up on Tuesday lunchtime and I can tell you it’s not as easy as you’d think.  And just to make it interesting our Infection Control colleagues marked up the commode with a UV pen, so being quick is not enough, you also have to be thorough too!  We’ve got a Top Gear style leaders board up and I’ll announce the winner in an upcoming blog.  Well done to the infection control team for bringing a bit of fun into what is a really important part of protecting our patients.  

Thursday was a marathon day of partnership working for me – I started the day in Derby with all the health and social care leaders from across the county taking stock of our plans for Joined Up Care in Derbyshire.  I then hot footed it to Stoke to join the corresponding meeting there for Staffordshire where I was providing an update on our partnership with Burton Hospitals.  The proposals for our planned merger were very well received indeed and there was very positive support for our plan.  And finally, it was off to Tamworth to meet with the health and well-being scrutiny committee of Tamworth Borough Council again to discuss the merger but particularly how as part of our plans we intend to develop and improve the use of the community hospitals in Lichfield and Tamworth.  What a day!

So, just a couple of reminders from me: If you’ve not completed your staff survey then please make sure that you do!  This is a really important way of telling us what it’s like to work here at DTHFT.  I can promise you that we will listen carefully and make improvements to our working lives here at the Trust as a result.  To make it really easy Tracy, our Occupational Health Leader (3 mentions in 3 weeks!) and her team are going to be setting up some ‘pop up internet cafes’. They will be visiting the wards and departments across the Trust with tea/coffee/biscuits and healthy snacks with iPads.  Staff can then take 10 – 15 minutes to complete the staff survey in the comfort of their own workplace.  The survey is absolutely 100% confidential – so, go on, tell it like it is! 

We’re making great progress with our flu vaccination campaign, with 4,085 front line staff (56.5%) and 569 non-front line staff vaccinated so far.  Well done everybody and keep going – remember this is a great way to protect yourself, your patients and your family and please encourage your colleagues to get their jab.  

And so to the end of another busy week finishing on a high note when I attended a celebration event for advanced clinical practice at the Trust.  This is another area where we are a national trail blazer.  We currently have around 80 Advanced Clinical Practitioners either fully qualified or in-training within the Trust.  These are staff from a wide range of clinical backgrounds, who are carrying out many of the tasks that in the past would have been the sole preserve of our medical colleagues.  It’s widely accepted that developing skills of other clinicians is an important part of meeting of some of the workforce challenges facing the health service nationally.  It’s great to be at the forefront of this! 

Have a great weekend.   


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