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November 3rd 2017

Gavin Boyle

Firstly, I’d like to start with a great big thank you to every one of the 3,295 front line members of staff who’ve had their flu jab.  Well done you!  And well done to Tracy Orlandi-Selbsy and her occupational health team who are doing such a fantastic job this year in protecting all of our people. Secondly, I’d like to offer a gentle reminder to the other 3,830 of my colleagues who’ve yet to avail themselves of what must be the best job perk for frontline NHS staff!  That said, we’re above our plan for this stage of the campaign and are well on the way to achieving our aim of 70% of front line staff vaccinated before the bugs arrive in earnest.  So, go on, get your jab and remember: it’s because you’re worth it!  

I’ve been doing a bit of long term thinking this week and on Monday I spent the day with the Chairs and Chief Executives of the various health and social care organisations across Derbyshire to take stock of our plans to provide more ‘joined up’ services across our county.  We took the opportunity to hear from some other systems that are doing similar work, so that we could learn from what’s worked for them and the pitfalls we might want to avoid here.  There are many challenges facing the delivery of health and social care but I was really heartened by the positive and collegiate spirit in which we’re working together to meet these challenges.

Here at DTHFT, the Board also took some time out on Tuesday to think through some of our longer term plans.  We had a great update from Gino DiStefano, our Associate Director of Transformation, and Sharon, our Chief Operating Officer, about how we’re strengthening our approach to looking carefully at all we do, by seeking to redesign our services to improve the quality of care, while, at the same time, making our services more efficient.  One thing we all agreed on as a Board is that improving quality needs to be the organising principle.  We also heard from Mark Norwood, Associate Director of IM&T. He’s also providing leadership for the Burton IT service now, about how we will ensure our various IT systems talk together and support integrated clinical working when we form the new organisation, hopefully next spring.

Speaking of Burton, I continued my marathon of public and stakeholder engagement this week when it was the turn of the East Staffordshire District Council’s Oversight and Scrutiny Committee, on Monday night, at the Brewhouse in Burton.  This time, it was a double act with Duncan Bedford, the Chief Operating Officer from BHFT. I’m sure he’ll be well known to many of you from his time here in Derby as Divisional Director for Medicine and Cancer Services.  We had an excellent discussion with some really good questions raised by local councillors.  I really welcomed the opportunity to update them on our progress and describe some of the emerging clinical models for delivering integrated care, which will really improve services for local people.  It was a good opportunity to remind everybody that the main aims of our partnership are to sustain general hospital services in Burton, to allow us here in Derby to develop and expand our specialised services and also to use our community hospitals as well as we can.  

I was asked again whether the merger might result in redundancies and also about whether there were plans to privatise services.  So, emphatically, once again, I was able to say there are no plans for compulsory redundancies. Indeed, one of the main aims of the partnership is to be able to better attract more people to come and work with us – not lose people!  I was also able to reassure them that nowhere in our merger plans are there any intentions whatsoever to privatise any NHS services.  So, there you go, you’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth, and if anybody asks you, you know what to say!

I’d also like to especially thank our clinical teams, both here in Derby, and at Burton, in Radiology, Urology, Cardiology, T&O, Stroke and Renal services, who have worked so hard recently to produce the Patient Benefits Case for the merger, which we’re aiming to submit to the Competition and Markets Authority (yes really!) at the end of November.

I had a fun visit down to the Orthopaedic Outpatients department on Thursday afternoon, where it was ‘Casting Day’. This was the celebration of the work of our casting technicians and colleagues who work to support patients with bone injuries.  Long gone are the days of the heavy plaster pot – it’s all high tech, lightweight materials these days!  Patients can choose a cast from a wide range of colours and we’ve even been asked to match peoples’ wedding outfits! Heather, my long suffering PA, chose a tasteful green! The team also do a multi-coloured cast, but interestingly this is reserved for a special group of patients – those with diabetes, where it’s particularly important to make sure we look after their skin and especially their feet.  Providing a multi-coloured cast for this group of patients is a powerful visual reminder to all colleagues who might be involved in their care to pay particular attention to this when treating them. What a clever idea!  It was great fun and very educational too.  The team also used the opportunity to raise money for the Air Ambulance service.  So, well done to Sisters Sally and Moira, and the rest of their teams, for running such a great event.

And finally, our ImpACT asthma service was up for no fewer than 2 awards at the Nursing Times annual awards ceremony in London on Thursday night.  Blog readers may remember that I visited colleagues from the service a couple of months back and was really impressed by their innovative approach to supporting our asthma patients, both inside the hospital and out in the wider community. Well done to them for getting shortlisted twice – it’s quite an achievement!  


Have a great weekend. 


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