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October 27th 2017

Gavin Boyle

It’s been quite an exciting week with two well attended public meetings to talk about our partnership with Burton Hospitals being a particular highlight.  More on that shortly. I mentioned last week my experience spending a night in the hospital with Dr Sam Thacker, one of our doctors in training, and this has left me with a desire to get to know our junior doctors better.  So with that in mind I went along to the medical junior doctors’ forum on Wednesday lunchtime in the doctors for a chat and to listen to some of the issues that might be occupying their thoughts at the moment.  We were joined by Dr Gareth Hughes who is one of our A&E consultants but also provides senior clinical leadership to the hospital out of hour’s team.  We had a good conversation about some of the challenges that our doctors in training face, particularly out of hours and the cultural and human factors aspects of being able to escalate concerns and seek help when necessary.  Our clinical people, including our junior doctors, are often faced with situations which are extremely challenging, so feeling you can always be able to reach out and seek support and receive it is a really important part of the culture we are trying to create here at Derby Teaching Hospitals.

I was delighted this week to meet with Debbie Tunnicliffe, who is a final year OT student at the University of Derby.  Debbie has done much of her clinical placement here at the Trust and it was fascinating to hear about her experience and her life as a student.  She was highly complementary, both about the University and also her time here at DTHFT and how welcoming everybody had been.  I was particularly interested in her current placement working alongside colleagues in the Medical Assessment Unit and ED and impressed how occupational therapists can assist at ‘front door’ by helping to return patients to their own home safely and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.  

So, back to the beginning, we held a public meeting on Tuesday night at Derby and then a follow up on Thursday night down in Burton.  Both events were well attended and there is clearly lots of interest in our developing partnership as we move towards forming a single organisation, hopefully next spring.  There are quite a lot of general concerns about the challenges facing the NHS nationally and we were able to describe how by working together the new organisation would be better able to meet them.  It was a good opportunity to be able to remind everyone of the main reasons that we are aiming to join forces.  Our partnership will help us to secure general hospital services at Queens Hospital, in Burton, give Derby the opportunity to develop and sustain its specialist services, and also make better use of our community hospitals here at London Road and in Lichfield and Tamworth too.  There were lots questions from the public but my overwhelming sense was that there was a good understanding of our plans and people were supportive to what we are trying to do.

One question that did come up on both evenings, which I’m really keen to address, was a concern on behalf of our staff.  So, I’d just like to take the opportunity to say emphatically that as part of the merger there are no plans whatsoever for any compulsory redundancies.  I have said this on many occasions but I would hate to think that any of our people at either hospital were anxious on this score.  We’re thinking of lots of ways that we can really engage our communities in this important piece of work. I caught up with James Moore who’s head of Healthwatch Derby – an independent health watchdog – and Jim Murray, our acting Chief Nurse, to think through other things we can do particularly here in the City of Derby itself to communicate our plans better. 

An important part of my role is to contribute to responding to our patients’ concerns and complaints when they’re raised with us.  I make a habit of reading all of the responses to our complaints and making sure that we’ve responded as fully and openly as possible but also that we’re learning to improve care for future patients.  I was remained powerfully this week by the important role that out Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALs) plays in this and particularly by the diligence of sensitivity of Kerry Than, our PALs and Complaints Manger, in helping me with a particularly sensitive matter with a concerned patient. Kerry is a great ambassador for our CARE values.

Another star I’d like to mention is James Mayne, our Scan 4 Safety Project Manager, who was named as GS1 Healthcare Champion of the year recently for supporting the use of digital technology here at the Trust to help us be more efficient and improve patient safety too.  Well done, James!

Finishing on a high note, Nigel, our Medical Director, and myself, were delighted this week to attend the feedback session, following a peer review organised by NHSE Specialised Commissioning of our Neonatal service.  This is a critical service supporting babies and their families at what must be a hugely anxious time for them.  It was a real pleasure to listen to the external reviewers and the very many glowing comments they made regarding the quality of our service here.  There were a few pointers for potential further improvement which were embraced by the team but as Nigel and I were walking back together we both reflected on how proud we were to hear such a positive report for what is an absolutely vital part for the work of the hospital.

So, all in all, it’s been another busy week but an extremely interesting one to boot.

Have a great weekend. 


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