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November 18th 2016

Gavin Boyle

So this week’s blog has a bit of a leadership theme – one of the things I love about the Trust is the way that people from all professional backgrounds and parts of our hospitals step forward to get involved in making our services better. It’s often too easy to stand on the sidelines, spectating and describing the problems and challenges we face but it’s quite another to get on the pitch and take responsibility for finding the answers. 

It was good, for example, this week to catch up with
Dr Roger Stanworth, Consultant Endocrinologist and Gayle Cornes, Senior Project Manager in Transformation at the Medical Advisory Committee. Roger and Gayle, together with the teams on 404 and 406, are trying out a new approach to reduce the time patients stay in hospital – known as ‘Red to Green’ -  all about reducing avoidable days in hospital as regular blog readers will know! It’s great that it’s part of the culture in our Trust that people really do come forward to take on the task of leading new ideas and initiatives. 

So I was delighted this week that Stephen Hart, the new national Director of Leadership Development appointed by Health Education England, came to visit the Trust to talk to colleagues about how we are developing leaders within our organisation. As you know, it’s something that I’m really interested in and a good opportunity to help contribute some thoughts ‘from the frontline’ as Steve is developing the NHS’ national strategy on leadership development. We talked particularly about the importance of developing our people to work more effectively across organisational boundaries that goes right to the heart of the ‘Sustainability & Transformation Plan (STP) or ‘Joined Up Care’ as we call it – more about this is a minute. 

Also on leadership, I’ve been really impressed by work happening to support development of our Admin and Clerical folk that Roger McBroom, Head of Patient Access and Administration, has led with such enthusiasm. Roger had invited Jill de Bene, the head of the Institute of Healthcare Management, to come and talk to us about how this national, professional body could help support us with this. 

The highlight of my week was getting along to our annual Derby Hospitals Charity AGM. It’s  part of our being accountable to the public as Trustees of this charity to share our annual report and accounts publicly. It was great to see members of the public there, along with colleagues whose services had benefited from donations. Since my arrival I have been hugely impressed by how the local community supports the Trust, including our fabulous volunteers and the many local people who donate money to our charities, which is then used to provide the ‘not so little extras’ that make our services a bit special.

As part of the AGM there were a number of stalls celebrating how contributions are used, particularly around caring for patients with dementia, providing complementary therapies in the Nightingale Macmillan Unit and also how we have used funds to improve the support we offer to families whose loved ones are, sadly, nearing the end of their lives. It was great to have the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the Trust for the generosity of Derby people and there was a real celebratory feel to the event. 

I was reminded this week by a comment from Roland Fitzgerald, one of our long serving governors, who always has an erudite view on the matters we discuss. He recently mentioned that he had been reflecting on the staff awards we have, Celebrating Success and Pride of Derby, as well as on the national accolades we seem so frequently to pick up – and how impressed he was by the people who work within the Trust. He particularly wanted me, on behalf of the governors, to say how much they appreciate all our staff do and how much the governors value the contribution they make serving the community.

Of course, sometimes in life things don’t go as planned, but the real test is how you respond when that happens, how you pick yourself up and dust yourself down and get back on the horse (or bike in my case!) On Wednesday this week we switched over to a new computer system which we use to track our patients’ journey through the Emergency Department, one of our busiest services. I want to pay tribute to all who have worked so hard to prepare for the ‘go live’. Unfortunately though, we switched on the new system first thing, but by the afternoon it was clear it was not performing as expected, but as part of our contingency we had retained the ability to switch back to old system, which we duly did. This was a real disappointment to all the teams involved, including the clinical, IT and admin teams who had put in so much effort to make this work - but sometimes ‘discretion is the better part of valour’ and it did give us the opportunity to experience the new system for real in this busy and vital service and discover and learn about those things that need to be fixed. Not everything in life goes as planned - so the trick is how to learn from it to improve. Nevertheless, well done to all the team in ED who ‘kept the show on the road’ and responded so well on a challenging day.

One of the things we do as a Trust is support the national screening programmes in areas such as breast and cervical cancer. We also screen people for risk of Aortic Aneurysm – rupture of the main blood vessel that leads from the heart – this week we had an inspection of our service which we passed with flying colours! So well done to John Quarmby, the clinical lead, to the AAA Screening Manager, David Miller, who was particularly praised, and to all the team.

And finally – today across Derbyshire all health and social care organisations have published our Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). It’s called Joined Up Care and that’s what it’s all about – how we, as a collection of organisations, work together in a more joined up way to keep people healthy and well, providing good quality care and meeting the financial challenges we know are faced by the NHS.

In publishing the plan it’s really the start of the conversation. It includes lots of detail but, simply put, the STP sets the direction of travel. The idea is that, with ever increasing demand for our services and finite capacity we need to work differently, and more closely than ever before. The aim is to keep people as healthy as possible and make more services available closer to people’s homes, allowing them to carry on with their normal life wherever possible. I’m really looking forward to being involved as we begin to engage the communities we serve in developing the plans further.

So - another busy week – I know I say that every week, but it’s been an interesting one too!

All the best

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