Quality of care and staff wellbeing

THIS week we held our first full Board meeting of the new year.

It was a busy agenda but the first point that everyone discussed was the need to say a massive thank you to all staff who have been working so hard across the system in recent weeks, especially over the Christmas and New Year period.

It has been a really challenging time for everyone but the response from  colleagues has been fantastic with some great examples of patient care and people going above and beyond to deliver safe, quality care.

The delivery of high quality care was very much the key theme of the meeting.

The Chairman, Pearse Butler, and I went to a national NHS Leaders meeting  recently which was extremely interesting. There was a lot of discussion about how we support and keep the system safe across health and social care and I sensed that the tone of the conversation around those challenges was very supportive.

Whilst we still need to achieve the best performance levels we possibly can against targets our focus must always be on delivering high quality services for our patients while at the same time making sure we look after our staff and their health and wellbeing over the winter and indeed over the longer term.

You may have seen a report in the Blackpool Gazette this week that our sickness levels for November were the  highest they have ever been. The Trust is not alone here. It is a similar story to many other NHS organisations across the country and I was delighted to see that senior NHS leaders were speaking so openly about the need for all of us to recognise the pressures staff are under and the importance of us all making a concerted effort to look after our colleagues and provide opportunities for them to look after themselves.

There is a growing recognition nationally that the NHS needs to do more to be seen as an employer of choice and I can assure you that I totally support all ideas and schemes to help make this Trust the best place it can be to work.

I am a massive believer in self care and the need for everyone to look after their own health so please take note of all the things we offer through our Thrive health and wellbeing campaign with our regular health roadshows and our excellent Occupational Health Services. Please also take part in our Great Place to Work Group meetings and share your thoughts of how to make this a better place to work with your line managers or email me or any member of the Board as we would be only too happy to hear your suggestions.

Board appointments

THE past week saw Dr Jim Gardner begin his role as Medical Director and the appointment of Dr Grahame Goode into the new post of Deputy Medical Director and Director of Clinical Effectiveness. As part of our drive to improve quality we have created a new Clinical Effectiveness Committee with Dr Nigel Laycock, Consultant Paediatrician, recently appointed the Clinical Effectiveness Lead for the Trust. Nigel will be working with the Medical and Divisional Directors to ensure reliable processes around mortality, clinical audit, national guidance, safety alerts and other
essential functions as we know good governance of these functions is essential for patient safety as well as allowing us to provide assurance to the Board and to our regulators.

Prior to Christmas Janet Barnsley was appointed to the substantive role of Executive Director of Operations – Planned Care and Berenice Groves as Executive Director of Operations – Families, ALTC, Unscheduled, Soft FM & Estates, Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response (EPRR). These are all major appointments for the Trust and I am sure you will welcome everyone into their roles.

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