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October 14th 2016

Gavin Boyle
There aren’t many perks in this job, but the opportunity to protect yourself and consequently your family and friends against ill health at no personal cost whatsoever is certainly one of them. Yes, you guessed it, I’m talking about the flu jab. Tracy Selsby-Orlandi and her merry band of Occupational Health staff have been roving around the hospital to make sure that everybody has the chance to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity (Oh yes!). Occupational Health Nurse Simone Goller set up in our boardroom prior to our regular Management Executive meeting to make sure our senior leaders were able to have the jab. More than 2,000 staff members have now taken up the opportunity, and almost 25 per cent of them have been frontline healthcare staff. It’s fantastic at this stage in the game. I really would encourage all our staff to follow suit – I promise it didn’t hurt a bit!

Back to the beginning of the week, Monday began with a trip to meet our Radiology team to hear about their work. I’ve heard a lot about our imaging services since I’ve been in the Trust, particularly about how well-regarded they are, so it was nice to have an hour or so to speak to the team and hear their views on a range of issues. These included some of the workforce challenges facing radiology nationally, our plans to work more closely with Burton Hospital and some of the ways we might look to work differently in order to meet the ever increasing demand for these services. We’ve seen a considerable increase in the number of patients accessing this service year on year, and it is because of this we have recently opened our new MRI Suite, which provides us with two additional scanners. The team are currently working on a business case to increase this capacity further in the future. 

It was great to sit in on our Quality Committee meeting this week, which is chaired by one of our non-executive directors Sir Stephen Moss. As a former nurse Sir Stephen has a wealth of knowledge and experience in quality improvement; we’re very lucky to have him. We usually start the Quality Committee meetings with a patient story, but this time was a little different as we watched a film about a patient at another hospital who had experienced considerable harm as a result of human error. In this case it was a simple mix up of medication in similar containers. One of the things we’re really keen to progress here is our work to redesign all our patient interactions in such a way that minimises the risk of human error. This work on mitigating ‘human factors’ recognises the old adage that to err is human, and looks at what we can do to ensure our working environment can be designed to minimise the risk. It could be something as simple as ensuring different medicines have distinctly different labels, but it could make a big difference. The Surgical Division’s leadership team – Andrew, Arthur and Krishna -  were attending to give us a general update but were also able to provide lots of practical examples of how their teams are applying this approach. 

Today I attended Medical Staffing Committee, chaired by Dr Manjeet Riyat, one of our Emergency Department consultants. This is an opportunity for our senior medical colleagues to meet with myself and Dr Nigel Sturrock, our Executive Medical Director, to talk about some of the major challenges we face. This week we’re focusing on our growing relationship with Burton. I mentioned last week that the boards had approved an outline case which begins to set out some of the emerging benefits of the partnership and gave approval to do the next, much more detailed piece of work, which will be completed in the spring. It was great to hear the views of colleagues, many of whom were involved in the clinical workshops we’ve run to help identify some of the potential opportunities. There was a consensus that the potential to grow our specialist services as part of this partnership was definitely the way to go.

Next week is already shaping up to be a good one, as we have a number of activities running for NHS Change Day. This is an opportunity to think differently and communicate ideas for how we can improve what we do. We have arranged a ‘Randomised Coffee Trial’ running on Wednesday, in which members of our Board, including me, will be sitting down for a coffee with staff in the Trust. I’m really looking forward to meeting some of our colleagues and learning more about what they do.  

On the same day, we’re planning to carry out an audit to count what we call red and green days for inpatients who are staying in hospital on that day. A red day is one where, for whatever reason, nothing happens to progress a patient’s discharge. We want our patients to have as few of these as possible, so we can help them to get home and get on with their lives. Once we have completed the audit, we will look at what we can do to reduce the number of red days, so that as little of our patients’ valuable time as possible is spent waiting for something in hospital.

Have a great weekend!

Best wishes.

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