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November 4th 2016

Gavin Boyle

Here’s a thought. With average life expectancy in the mid-80s for people living in the UK, most of us can look forward to around 31,000 days on earth. It sounds a lot, although I’m half way through mine already! It’s sobering to think that if you’re in your 80s, you may have only around 1,000 days left of your life. If you had such a short amount of time left to enjoy your life, how many of those days would you want to spend in hospital? The honest answer from most people – certainly from me – would be as few as humanly possible. 

A few weeks ago I mentioned an idea called Red2Green, where we look at each day a patient spends with us to make sure something useful is happening to progress their care and reduce the length of time they have to stay in hospital. By doing this, we will ensure people spend as little time as possible with us before being safely discharged back home, which, after all, is where we would all rather be. Respecting our patients is one of the basic principles we work to here, and that also means respecting their time and using it well. Evidence suggests that for a patient over the age of 80, every 10 days spent in hospital results in a loss of muscle strength equivalent to 10 years of life, so it’s important to consider this for our older patients especially. My challenge to all of us here is to look at our care, and see what we can do to make sure our patients stay with us no longer than absolutely necessary. 

With all of this in my mind, it was interesting on Monday to meet with Sue Roberts, senior sister on Ward 407, and Trudi Jones, E-whiteboard coordinator, about how they are using their whiteboards to help this to happen. Sue was particularly keen to share how her team are using the whiteboard technology to manage every patient’s stay and make sure they are not with us any longer than they need to be. She described a new development which I thought was really interesting, in which our wards can link directly with our patients’ GP surgeries. It means we can ask questions about patients, they can provide information and everyone is able to get involved with that patient’s discharge. I thought this was a great example of our clinical teams working innovatively with our partners in the health and social care community to deliver a better experience for our patients. 

One of the best ways we can improve patient care is to listen to patients and find out what they think about our hospitals. So I was delighted to hear about a new innovative idea brought to me by Paul Brooks – yes, that man again – and Megan Roworth, who leads our Patient Experience Team. They have created a mobile video booth which can be used by patients to record their views about the care they have received. It’s a bit of an experiment at this stage, but I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. 

It was our public board meeting this week. It was a bit of a marathon, but as ever lots of good things happened. We had a marvellous presentation from the Surgery Business Unit, ably delivered by Mike Goodwin, General Manager, Ian Davidson, Matron for Surgery and Keith Jones, Clinical Director for Surgery. There are lots of challenges for the division, but also some great ideas about how they can improve. I was particularly impressed by some of the innovations made over recent times, such as the introduction of robotic surgery and how they are using bar coding to reduce clinical variation and improve patient safety. 

Undoubtedly the highlight of our Public Board is always the presentation of our Pride of Derby awards. And the winners were: 

  • Best frontline member of staff: Dr David Meacheam
  • Best team: Ward 302.
  • Best behind the scenes member of staff: Natalie Singleton
  • Best inspirational leader: Dr Jayne Douglas-Moore

These awards provide some great examples of individuals and teams going the extra mile for our patients and colleagues. We’ll shortly be publishing more details on our website.

During the meeting we also caught up with our five-year PRIDE ambitions which we have been working on for the last few months, and got these approved by the board. These will give us a ‘golden thread’ which will run through the organisation to help everybody who works here to understand how their unique contribution is helping us to build on our solid foundations to go from being a good hospital to a fabulous one!

We usually follow our Public Board meetings with Face2Face briefings, to which we invite as many people as possible. I was really pleased with the turnout this week at the Royal Derby (the next session is this Monday 7 Nov at 4pm at London Road Community Hospital, if any staff fancy coming along). We had lots of interesting questions about our partnerships, some of our challenges around emergency care, plans for the winter and lots more. 

Have a great weekend


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