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October 6th 2017

Gavin Boyle

Now, you might think that sitting in a Board meeting can be a bit dull but that certainly wasn’t the case this week. We got off to a flying start when the Trust’s Youth Forum came to talk to the Board on the serious issue of how young people who use our services, for long term conditions, transition from paediatric services to adult services.  

The Youth Forum is a brilliant idea, developed by the Children’s Business Unit, which engages young people who are regular users of our services so that they can tell us about their experience and influence how we organise things going forward. They’d made a fantastic video, which was particularly aimed at Trust staff working in adult services that may well be receiving young people whose care has been handed over from the paediatric service. They described how this transition can be quite daunting for the young person involved and their video will provide a really useful training aid to help colleagues right across the Trust really understand their needs.  It was marvellous to see a group of youngsters getting involved and trying to make things better for the future. 

Also on the Board this week, we approved a business case to establish an integrated pathology service with Chesterfield Royal Hospital. I’ve mentioned this in the past but it’s a practical sign of how partnership working within Derbyshire is really beginning to bear fruit. This partnership will ensure that we provide a better, more resilient service to the community we service and be good value for money. I think what’s particularly pleasing is the way that this proposal has been clinically led by a whole range of professional staff working within the laboratory service at both trusts.  Well done to Steve Kyte and Dr Gerry Van  Schalkwyk, who’ve been leading on this at our end.

Talking of partnerships, we also took stock of progress with Burton Hospitals and particularly the developing clinical case for how we intend to deliver better care both in Derbyshire and Staffordshire as a combined organisation.  As you know, one of the hurdles we need to jump is persuading the Competition and Markets Authority that the benefits for patients far and away exceed any potential effect on competition – yes really! Clinical teams at both trusts have worked hard to identify very specifically what those benefits might be and how they will be delivered. It’s a compelling case!

Also at the Board, we talked about our plans to prepare for winter, and while being encouraged by the partnership working across the whole system to meet this challenge, we also recognised there’s some further work to be done to ensure that the capacity both within the hospitals and outside is sufficient to meet the anticipated demand.  I mentioned the start of our flu vaccination campaign last week and I’m delighted to say that over 1,500 colleagues have already taken the opportunity to get their jab! Remember it’s a perk!  

Next week, we’re running one of our now famous ‘Perfect Weeks’, which give us an opportunity to try out new ways of working to streamline our emergency services along the whole patient pathway all the way to discharge and beyond. Staff can check out the details on Flo but it’s all about trying new things to value our patients’ time and not keep them unnecessarily in hospital. 

I’ve said this many times before but one of the really good things about DTHFT is the appetite for innovation and a desire to be at the leading edge when it comes to new technology. I was delighted to be invited to visit by Nick Reynolds, one of our Intensivist consultants and his colleagues, Dave Nelson, Clinical Informatics Nurse, and Matt Elliott, Pharmacist. You might remember me mentioning Nick a couple of months back when I sat in on Mr Sherif Awad’s theatre list – one of the most well organised I’ve ever seen, talk about a smooth operator or what!  Nick was the Anaesthetist and is a real data demon and service improvement nut. They’d asked me to visit to see the ‘go live’ of their new computer system in ITU, which integrates a whole range of other Trust information systems and collects data directly from the ventilators that support some of our most poorly patients. 

The new system presents all of this data in a really simple and easy to understand way, which allows staff in this high-pressured area to be able to see at a glance exactly the condition of their patients. It was very impressive stuff and I met a number of colleagues working in ITU who seemed incredibly relaxed about the new system and they’d clearly worked very hard to prepare for its implementation.  Whilst on the unit, I was impressed to see that Nick and co had created a ‘test-bed’ within ITU, which was effectively an ITU cubicle with all the high tech gear you’d expect but which is used to try new equipment and also provide a realistic space for staff training. They were working on a really innovative project to link infusion pumps with our GS1 barcoding technology - which blog readers will know all about as part of our Scan4Safety work. The aim is for the infusion pump device to be able to read the necessary bar codes, to match the right patient with the right drug and at the right dose to make sure we eliminate any potential human error. This is all experimental but it’s the sort of idea that could make a big difference to patient safety.

Next up, an apology from me about the problems we’ve had recently at the Manor car park.  At certain times it’s been extremely difficult for staff to exit the car park because of traffic on the big roundabout at the front of the hospital.  I’ve been talking to my colleague Paul Brooks, who’s Associate Director of Patient Experience & Facilities Management, about his ideas for solving the problem and the discussions he’s having with the City Council to help with this.  Fair play to Paul because he called a staff forum today to give any colleague who’s been inconvenienced recently the opportunity to speak to him directly, for him to share the plans to sort the problem and hopefully to hear suggestions from others too.

Finally, I’ve got a few days off next week and so there’ll be no blog.  No applause please! That said, I just can’t stay away because on Friday I’ll be spending a night in the Trust with Sam Thacker, one of our Doctors in Training – and as blog readers will know, our Medical Leadership Fellow – to experience life on the front line with some of our junior medical colleagues in the Hospital Out of Hours service, on MAU and in the Emergency Department.  I’m really looking forward to it and genuinely don’t mind taking a day’s leave to do it – to be honest it was the only chance I was going to get to fit it in! I’m not put off by the fact that next week it’s Friday 13th – I’ll share all in my next blog! 

Have a great weekend.

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