I wanted to blog this week to mark the end of my tenure as Chief Executive and Accountable Officer here at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
And what an incredible week it has been with colleagues from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) arriving at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Tuesday morning to undertake a planned but unannounced inspection on our services.
The CQC will provide us with feedback in due course from the inspection, which focused on the quality of care within our medicine and accident and emergency services in particular during the three days the team were on site.
However I know all colleagues will have taken the opportunity as a real chance to shine and showcase the great work we’re doing and the improvements we have made too.
Then on Thursday, the Secretary of State for Health the Rt Hon Sajid Javid included Blackpool Victoria Hospital as part of a wider visit. Colleagues including the new CEO Trish Armstong-Child, Deputy Chief Executive Nicki Latham, our MD Dr Jim Gardner and COO Natalie Hudson were able to meet with the Minister for a quick update before joining a ‘round table’ event to talk about health inequalities linked to mental health and well being at the nearby Grange Community Centre.
It was great to see Mr Javid include Blackpool Victoria within his itinerary. It is a great place to work and I want to say how much I have enjoyed working with you all. I am incredibly proud of the progress and improvements we have made to our services for local people and their families, but also the way in which we have pulled together to tackle the pandemic as a team.
It has been a difficult and challenging time for the Trust, but also one of incredible achievement. There are great people working here across all our teams and settings and I want to say thank you for the great things they are doing each and every day.
I want to also pay tribute to my colleagues on the Executive Team and wider Trust Board. Leadership does matter and I am very proud of the way everyone has come together in difficult circumstances to weather this crisis.
There is still tonnes to do but the progress so far has been brilliant.
I announced I would move on to a new role as Chief Executive and Accountable Officer at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the Spring and took up the post on September 1.
As Joint Chief Executive with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust I have already handed the reins to my deputy and now interim Chief Executive and Accountable Officer Martin Hodgson.
And I know colleagues are really looking forward to welcoming our new Trust Chief Executive Trish Armstrong-Child who starts on Monday, September 20. Trish is keen to get out and about to see and meet as many people both within the Trust and out in our community and the wider health and social care system as a whole.
She represents a great appointment and is going to continue and strengthen everything we have done in recent years, as well as bring ideas and expertise of her own.
So it is with a mixture of sadness and joy that I leave Blackpool, although truth be told I don’t really feel like I am leaving at all as I remain within the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System and will be leading the Provider Collaborative Board. I have taken the decision to see out the remainder of my career in this area and I am determined to work with everyone to create a legacy of the very best system, services and delivery as possible.
As I look forward now, I want to urge you all to continue to do the great work that you are doing and I know things will only improve further. Please do ensure that you look after yourselves and each other also. One of the many things I am especially proud of is the wellbeing support that has been put in place and how it has helped so many of you. Make sure you use it when you need it.
As joint Chief Executive, it has been clear to see how the two Trusts have demonstrated the benefits and the importance of working together to achieve the best outcomes and experiences for our patients too. This has laid a solid foundation for the Integrated Care System and the Provider Collaboration Board which fills me with a great deal of excitement. I am a firm believer in one NHS and social care has a huge role to play in that too.
My final thanks go to our communities for the love and support they have shown towards the NHS, especially over the last 18 months. I cannot express how much it helped us through the darkest of days.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with you all, please keep up the great work you do for our patients every day.