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October 28th 2016

Gavin Boyle
As I mentioned at the end of last week’s blog it was party time again this week, when we held the celebration for our fabulous volunteers – but more of that in a minute. 

It’s been another busy week, with lots of things going on, so it was a real pleasure on Wednesday to get a little bit of time out to meet Dr Adrian Smith, our Clinical Director for Cancer, and just have a chat. Adrian and his team do a marvellous job in leading the delivery and development of cancer services across the Trust. Looking after our cancer patients is one of the most significant parts of our work, which touches every part of our hospitals. Adrian was bringing me up to speed with some developments like the refurbishment of Wards 301 and 302. We’re aiming to provide more capacity for cancer patients and more side rooms for some of our poorliest patients. This will also help provide a better experience for those receiving chemotherapy, who need to return to the hospital if they are unexpectedly unwell, particularly out of hours. It means they will be able to go directly to a dedicated area on the ward, rather than having to come through the Emergency Department or Medical Assessment Unit. It will also release space in our Combined Day Unit for more patients to come routinely for chemotherapy. Hopefully, this capital scheme will be completed before Christmas, and will be a positive step to improve the care for this group of patients.

Adrian also shared some of the challenges facing cancer services, such as the recruitment of specialist staff, increasing demand and advances in technology. I was impressed by the innovative ideas being developed to meet these challenges. We also talked about our aim to deliver more care outside the hospital, closer to people’s homes, and it was interesting that even in relation to cancer care there are opportunities with advances in technology and improvements in drug therapy which make this possible.

On Tuesday we had our regular Management Executive meeting. This time we focused on our five-year ambitions using the PRIDE framework, which are beginning to crystallise nicely. Thanks to everybody who has contributed their thoughts and suggestions to this work. We also had an update from Dr Tanya Bleiker and Dr Adam Ferguson, two of our consultant dermatologists, who came to ME to present some proposals for developing our specialist dermatology services here at Derby. We were very pleased to support the plans, and we agreed to do some further work to help make this happen. 

You might remember that I mentioned a development programme the board were involved with called The Aqua Programme, which is all about having a much greater focus on improving safety in the Trust. Cathy Winfield, our Chief Nurse, presented an outline plan to do just that. We also had an update from our teams from Children’s and Adult ED about the upcoming ‘go live’ of their new computer system, Lorenzo ED, in which they shared all the hard work that they have done to ensure that colleagues are prepared and trained for the switch over. I was really impressed by the plans to make sure everyone was supported during a big change for two of our busiest teams. 

And now for the highlight of the week, which was Wednesday night’s celebration with our volunteers, when they officially received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. This is like the MBE for volunteers, and it’s the highest award there is for voluntary services. John, our Chairman, was MC for the evening, with The Lord Lieutenant Willy Tucker presenting the award on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen. Willy is an old friend of the Trust, having served as one of our non-executive directors for many years. We also welcomed Liz Fothergill, High Sheriff of Derbyshire, and Derby’s Mayor Councillor Linda Winter. Our youngest volunteer, Hannah Whitfield, who is just 17, came on stage to receive the citation, and our longest-serving volunteer Andy Warren, who has volunteered in our ED for no less than 40 years, came up to accept the award. The event was really well-attended, with around 100 of our volunteers and we had a bit of a tea afterwards. It was lovely to chat to so many of our wonderful team about their experience in our hospitals. What they do for us is humbling and hugely appreciated, but all of them seem to really enjoy what they do. I was bowled over by their enthusiasm and good humour. 

We are truly blessed as with our volunteers, because as well as the Trust team, we also have four Friends groups working at London Road Community Hospital, the Royal Derby Hospital, Derbyshire Children’s Hospital and in NICU. We also have our Macmillan volunteers and Sight Support volunteers working in Ophthalmology. It’s a special year for some of these groups as well, as they are all celebrating milestone anniversaries. The Friends of London Road Community Hospital, the Royal Derby and the Children’s Hospital have all turned 60 in 2016, and the Friends of the Baby Unit is 40. These charities have raised millions over the years, and their members work tirelessly to support us to purchase everything from big pieces of equipment to iPads for use by physiotherapy patients. There are few words to express the gratitude we as a Trust feel for our volunteers, so I will just say ‘thank you’ to each and every one of you. 

Next week looks like another busy one, particularly with our public board meeting on Tuesday. I’m really looking forward to meeting our next Pride of Derby winners – I’ll tell you all about them next week. 

Have a great weekend,

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