I’ve had the privilege of being Chairman of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for a little over five months and I’ve been out and about meeting as many people as possible during that time.
And whilst there is no doubt it has been difficult for colleagues, patients and their families as we have continued to fight Covid in our hospitals and in our communities, it has also been a time of immense pride for many too. I include myself in that.
Colleagues on the Trust Board and, indeed, across all teams in all our healthcare settings and out caring and supporting people in our communities too, are working incredibly hard to make improvements that are not just needed, but really matter.
We are asking ourselves everyday: what more can we do? And moreover, we are then doing whatever we can.
It sounds simple, but a constant focus on the little things as well as big strategic objectives and ambitions is really important to me. Little improvements are the ones people notice ‘on the ground’ and are usually suggested by staff who know our patients best.
Of course, we all want to provide the very best quality services and each day we move further forward towards that goal. I am just delighted to report that we are recording real progress across a range of incredibly important areas including:
- Urgent and emergency care with improving performance in waiting times in A&E at Blackpool Victoria despite huge pressures and some really tough incidents over the past few months
- Restoration of our services as part of the Lancashire and South Cumbria accelerated restoration programme – which is reducing waiting lists for elective surgery and scheduled care faster than in most parts of the area
- Improving the flow of patients around our hospitals and making sure they are discharged home or to other care settings when it is appropriate to do so
- Continuing to focus on vaccinating colleagues and local people from our hospital hub
- Ensuring infection prevention control remains paramount in our settings, continuing to support visiting where safe to do so and reducing the spread of Covid in hospital by regularly testing asymptomatic colleagues for the virus
- Encouraging ideas for improvement and putting them into practice
There are many, many more I could include and I want to thank all colleagues who are working tirelessly, whilst already exhausted, to deliver change and improvements which benefit local people.
This is important because at the same time as improving the quality of our services, we are also prioritising how the Trust can work with others across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to support improvements too.
This includes working with businesses of every variety, colleagues in the education sector, other public bodies and the voluntary sector to do everything we can to support the place to thrive. As one of the largest employers in the area there is so much we can do on top of our health care role and responsibilities. I’m determined we’ll do it.
We have some great people in the Trust and some of the most talented young, up and coming colleagues right across all our clinical and non-clinical teams. I want to welcome them into discussions, listen to their input and ideas, inspire them to recognise and then implement improvements and feel empowered to speak up.
You might be aware that the Trust is actively recruiting a new Chief Executive at the moment, as our current CEO Kevin McGee prepares to take the helm at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Kevin has been a brilliant and much loved leader who, with his team, very much started this work and we have seen some real change for the better during his time in Blackpool. Alongside his new role he will continue to work with all NHS providers in Lancashire and South Cumbria at system level and I am sure will always be a champion for improvements in services across the area.
I want to reassure colleagues and partners, as well as our patients and their families, that whilst we are sad to see Kevin go our direction remains the same: we will not only see through our ambitious improvement plans but we will deliver them and then some.
This week I was fortunate enough to be invited by Napthens to a networking walk with other local organisations starting at north Blackpool walking into the town to the Blackpool Tower where we had the opportunity to visit the ballroom and then travel right up to the top of the Tower.
What a fantastic experience I can’t wait to see this full of people again and delivering the real Blackpool experience.
I don’t mind telling you I am not a fan of heights but once I got to the top the view from the top was breath taking. The sun was shining and the beaches spread along the coastline for as far as I could see and certainly for miles.
Whilst talking to others I received some very positive feedback of our Trust and the work being done by all our staff and the dedication and caring attitude shown which was very pleasing to hear. I heard some great stories of how families had been cared for and supported. Whilst we know we still have work to do you should all be proud of this feedback because this is how you are all seen outside of the Trust.
The Fylde Coast and the Town we work in is a fantastic place, undoubtedly with its challenges, but with incredible potential and a spirit and identity that is difficult to match. I want us to work together, bottle that spirit and then sprinkle it as far and wide as we’re able.
I’m already proud of everything we do and have achieved but there is more to come.
And the view from there will be very exciting indeed.
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust