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September 9th 2016

Gavin Boyle
As ever it’s been another busy week! We had our public board meeting on Tuesday, visits with frontline services, meetings with our regulators and, of course, lots of partnership working too. 

One of the highlights of my week was spending a bit of time with Steve Kyte, General Manager for our Pathology Services, when we had a quick tour of this vital behind the scenes clinical service. I was joined on my visit by Avril Drummond, one of our Non-executive Directors, and Rita Merrison, one of our Public Governors. This was all part of our ‘Board to Ward’ programme, which has the aim of ensuring members of the Board and the Council of Governors get ‘up close and personal’ with staff at the sharp end, so we can hear how things really are. But as you can see, it’s not just about the wards, and we also visit frontline support services. On our visit, I was particularly impressed with Dave Simpson, who manages the Blood Sciences department – I think I’ve mentioned this area before; it’s all very hi-tech with samples moving on a conveyor from one analyser to the next something like a space-age Yo Sushi. I was especially interested in Dave’s comments about the team’s work to support the development of their people, and the benefits they have seen from this approach, not only in terms of recruitment and retention of staff, but also in the impact it has had on their ability to develop and innovate. All in all, it was a very impressive visit.

On the topic of being impressed, it was great this week to have a phone call from a patient, who was particularly keen to speak directly to the Chief Executive about her experience. I get calls like this quite a bit, and they can always go one way or the other! Thankfully on this occasion the caller was so delighted with her experience on Ward 403 that she wanted to tell me that despite her being poorly she had a wonderful time. She even described it as ‘a bit of a giggle’. I think under the circumstances that says a lot of the team on that ward. She praised ‘wonderful’ Sister Yvonne, and she was particularly complimentary about the food, saying she enjoyed the meals very much, and liked how they were presented and the manner in which they were served. Without giving too much away this particular caller is somebody who has a personal insight into healthcare and how it’s delivered, and so this was praise indeed!

As ever partnership has been a big part of my week and it was a real pleasure to have a special meeting with our Council of Governors here in Derby to talk about the work we’re doing to develop our partnership with Burton Hospitals. I was joined by our Chairman John Rivers and Helen Scott-South, who many of you will know, who is the Chief Executive at Burton. This was followed by a corresponding rematch the following evening down at Lichfield to meet the governors of the Burton trust to talk about the same. Naturally our Governors are extremely interested in this work and keen to ensure it has real benefit for the communities’ served by both organisations, and quite rightly will challenge us to make sure this is the case. Whatever we decide to do the plans will need to be supported by the two Trust Boards but also by the two Councils of Governors. I was really pleased that both discussions were open-minded. We were keen to describe the work we’ve done to date and also how within the next couple of months we will have some more details on some of the emerging ideas. Whilst the two Trusts are different in many ways this is nevertheless a partnership of equals, we’re aiming to bring the best from both organisations together in a way which builds on our strengths and delivers the best care for people in Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

We had our public board meeting this week too, the highlight of which was congratulating our latest Pride of Derby winners – TB Nurse Specialist Mel Newell, Bernard Shoebridge, Catering Manager at LRCH, Louise Martinez, one of our team leaders in Occupational Therapy and the team on Ward 311, which was our winter ward. As usual a busy agenda – but we started with a patient story which highlighted the importance of good communication with patients and families particularly about discharge arrangements. We talked about some of the challenges we’re facing and our plans for the future. One area we touched on was the continued rising emergency demand, and how rather than easing over the summer, these pressures actually increased. July was the busiest month we have ever had in our ED with record attendances. There’s lots happening within the hospital and across the whole health system to meet this challenge and ensure we continue to deliver a good service to all our patients. I would like to take this opportunity to thank colleagues in ED, MAU and indeed all our support and frontline services for continuing to do their best for our patients in difficult circumstances.

One of the best things about public board meetings is that it’s followed by my regular Face2Face staff briefings, which are also videoed and made available on flo. Last time, around 2,000 staff attended my briefing or took part in a local team briefing, and 1,000 further staff members viewed the video. These briefings are a two way thing, and I really value the comments and discussions we have during these sessions. It helps me to keep in touch with the real experience of our people working within the hospitals. Just finished my RDH briefing and now off down to LRCH to catch up there.

Have a great weekend. 

Best wishes

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