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October 7th 2016

Gavin Boyle
Today I’ve got the theme tune from ‘Neighbours’ going around my head in – no, this week’s blog is not about the trials and tribulations of Scott and Charlene (yes, my Aussie soap knowledge is at least 30 years old) – more of that a bit later. 

It was a real pleasure this week to be asked to say a few words at the start of our Healthcare Support Worker conference. Our Healthcare Assistants and other allied colleagues do a fantastic job for our patients, and I’m delighted that our marvellous Chief Nurse Cathy Winfield backs this great event every year to support the development of those staff who work in these roles. Their importance in delivering frontline care to our patients must never be under-estimated. As I was signing the mountain of Pride of Derby certificates this week I was struck by how many Healthcare Support workers featured in the stack; it’s clear our patients really appreciate their care. While I was there I took the opportunity to talk about our CARE values, which are all about treating our patients with kindness and compassion and these colleagues are often real exemplars of this. It looked like a great programme for the day with some exciting opportunities on the horizon to help them develop their skills further. We’ve put ourselves forward to be part of a pilot scheme for the new Nursing Associate role – hopefully we’ll have some news about that within the next few weeks. 

Our CARE values were also to the fore when I met with some of our newest doctors in training on Thursday morning. Stephen Hearing, one of our Consultant Gastroenterologists, also takes the lead on induction training for new doctors, and I’m always delighted when he asks me to come along and say a few words. It’s a tough gig, though, because I have to follow Nigel, our Executive Medical Director, who tells the juniors ‘the standard you walk past is the standard you accept’ – powerful stuff. I really like having the opportunity to welcome our new doctors and acknowledge what an important part they play in the life of our hospital. Although they are in training, our junior doctors are in fact senior clinical professionals and as such are important role models. I was keen to talk about CARE because, just like our Healthcare workers, how they act is crucial to ensuring our patients are cared for respectfully and with kindness. I’m always impressed with how our junior doctors do this for our patients. 

So, back to Neighbours. Readers of the blog will know that over the last few months we’ve being doing some detailed work with our partner Trust in Burton and this week has brought something of a milestone in the process, as board members at both Trusts have independently considered something called the Strategic Outline Case – or SOC for short. The SOC describes some of the work we have been doing over the summer, with lots of conversations between our clinical teams and support services to work through how a closer relationship could deliver some real benefits for the people of Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Both boards approved the direction of travel set out in the SOC and agreed to move the partnership onto the next stage, which involves examining the options in more detail – this should be completed by the spring. 

The sort of benefits that are emerging from the partnership include: 

  • Opportunities to better use our community hospitals at London Road in Derby, in Tamworth and Lichfield.
  • Securing important general hospital services in Burton. 
  • Increasing our catchment population for specialist services in Derby, making these services more secure.
  • Sharing learning and best practice to improve care. 
  • Reducing duplication in our support services to release funds for frontline care. 


I’ll make sure I keep everybody informed as we start to do this next part of the work and I’ll be really keen to hear people’s views on the partnership as it develops. 

All in all, it’s been an exciting week!

All the best,

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