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Friday Message – 25 September 2015



Like other regulated sectors, the bar of what is considered to be the minimum acceptable standard constantly rises, which is one of the reasons why it is important to seek out continual improvement – what is considered ‘good’ one year can easily become the standard for ‘requires improvement’ the next.  The announcement this week, that Addenbrooke’s hospital had been rated as inadequate is a stark reminder that we can never be complacent about the need to improve.  Addenbrooke’s is a well-respected organisation, not just in this country, but also world-wide for its expertise and scientific knowledge in the field of research and development.

As Chief Executive, where I take my assurance from is you, our staff.  You see our patients and work with colleagues all day, every day – I have confidence and rely on you all to do your very best and to report when things are not right.  Of course, I receive assurance from many other areas too, such as the Trust Board, regulators, governors, partners and so on.  Please keep sending me and other leaders in the Trust feedback on areas that need to be improved, it is always welcomed.

It is essential that our approach to continuous improvement is led and supported by our clinicians as these are the people that look after our patient’s day in, day out. It was this belief that led us to adopt Listening into Action as our new way of working.  We’ve seen impressive results over the last year from this method, I said at the time it wouldn’t be a fad!  It is important that we take a look back and reflect on what’s been achieved in a relatively short space of time – I’ve shared some of the detail before, such as the work around Acute Kidney Injury at FGH and the creation of a Diabetic Centre at the RLI. Here are few more examples of the great work that you and your colleagues have achieved for our patients:

  • Dietitians have become more efficient, freeing up time for the patient by streamlining how they work.  The before and after picture below says it all. Katy Gillespie, Clinical Service Manager and has been leading this scheme along with Community Dietitians.
  • Carol Park, Assistant Chief Nurse has been leading a scheme to implement an Early Assessment Unit at the RLI.  The aim is to improve the experience of our patients by reducing admissions through earlier assessment, before a decision about needing to be admitted is made.  The urology team are now testing the model and reporting good results.
  • We were not performing as well as we could for those patients who had suffered a hip fracture and as a result, Kuntal Patel, Consultant and Moira Bonwick, Clinical Nurse Analyst led a LiA scheme to make improvements in the Fractured Neck of Femur service. This has resulted in securing a trauma resource room, new standardised documentation and improved bone health screening.

I know all of the teams from Wave 1 are keen to do even more and I commend them for their ‘can do’ attitude and results. They all embraced Listening into Action to make a difference for everyone who use our hospitals.


And now, we are about to launch our Wave 2, Listening into Action schemes.

I spent a day this week at a LiA ‘lock-in’ event with some of our doctors and nurses that are responsible for our patient services discussing the possible outcomes for the Wave 2 schemes.  We will share details over the next few weeks as we lead up to our Wave 2 launch event in November, but I would like to take this opportunity today to say thank you.  Not just to those clinicians that I spent time with this week, but also to those staff that have helped them be released by backfilling their clinical duties.  It was a great team effort – thank you.


Last year, I met with hundreds of staff from across our hospitals at our Big Conversations. This was an opportunity for you to tell me what frustrates you at work and what gets in your way when you want to make the change that you know needs to be made.  In addition, we’ve had thousands of staff complete the LiA Pulse Surveys.

We used a lot of this feedback to make a number of immediate changes and also to support the Wave 1 schemes.

I am now about to launch another round of Big Conversations, but this time I want to hear from you all, in more detail about some specific areas that you told me you want to see improved.  The Pulse Surveys have shown that many areas are improving, but they also show us that we have much more to do too.

Like last time, the Big Conversations are open to ALL staff.  This is your personal invite from me.

The five Big Conversations all have themes, they will be:

Big Conversation
1.      Involving, not just informing: Improving how we communicate and engage with our staff
2.      Information Technology that works for us: How can we ensure that we are making the best use of technology
3.      Day-to-day frustrations: Those things that seem to get constantly get in the way
4.      Mandatory training: How can we improve mandatory training and considering the use of a training passport approach
5.      Health and wellbeing of staff: How can we best support our staff to be healthy and happy at work

Please look out for the invite which I will send out next week for your diaries which will include date, times, venues and booking details.

These were really well attended last year and like then, they will be on first come, first served basisPlease book early to guarantee a place!


I was delighted to learn this week that we have been chosen as a finalist in the Collaborative Working category of the Allocate Awards 2015.  It is really heartening to receive external recognition for the collaborative approaches that we are taking to recruitment, including the development of the Virtual Recruitment Hub for Better Care Together, the Choose South Cumbria marketing and recruitment initiative with public and private partners, and our work with local colleges and education providers to improve access to healthcare professions. Thank you and well done to all of our staff and partners for achieving this nomination.

One of our key values is about developing and sustaining partnerships – being nominated for such a prestigious award shows the power of effective collaboration.  We will find out in October if we were the category winner.


Our staff again stepped up to the plate this year and essentially delivered our Annual Members Meeting to the public and colleagues – and with a TV crew in the room at one point!DSC_0566

We’ve really come a long way in being open and engaging with our public.  This year staff filled the main room at the Castle Green Hotel, showcasing the work of their teams. It was very rewarding to see so many staff take the time out to speak with members of the public about the work you are all doing, challenges that you face and what’s next.

As Board members we also deliver a number of talks, but I know it is the ability to have a cup of tea and chat freely with our staff that makes a real difference to people.  I felt very proud looking around the room at how far we had come.

Dr Paul Grout, Clinical Director delivered an insightful presentation into the ground breaking work that has been taking place in Millom.  Millom is a community based, partnership approach to improving healthcare for the local population and Paul did a great job of explaining the Trust’s involvement. I will ask my team to look at the opportunity perhaps of some ‘lunch and learn’ type sessions on Millom. Where Paul and his colleagues could spend half an hour with staff, as we’ve done this year around our Estates Strategy and Respiratory Pathway development updating on what it is all about.


I was delighted to have recently become a member of the HSJ Women’s network board (

The network aims to be a useful leadership community for women leaders and emerging leaders in health and social care. Its vision is to achieve fair representation of women on boards of health and social care organisations. It is supported by NHS Employers.

I’ve written a couple of more personal blogs recently, including one focussing on the support I believe is still needed to help Women rise up the ranks in the NHS.

The network was officially launched on Wednesday this week in London and I seconded and supported the motion for men to become members of the network. We had a very positive debate and you can read some of the comments on twitter by using the hashtag #hsjwomenleaders.  Democracy had its say though and the motion wasn’t supported, with most of the members voting against it.

I am looking forward to my work with the network board, and supporting diversity, equality and fairness within the NHS.  I would encourage women within our organisation who are in a senior leadership role to consider becoming a member of the network. If you are interested, you can find out more from the HSJ website: or please drop me a line, I’d be happy to help answer any questions.


Jackie Daniel

Chief Executive

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