I was really pleased to catch up with a number of staff last week whilst out and about around our hospitals, teams and staff from R&D, emergency planning and organisational development. I know you were all very busy, thank you for taking the time out to talk with me about your current challenges and achievements.
It was great to spend some of this time with Armineh Shahoumain, our new, and first ever lead for Human Factors in the organisation. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for everyone, particularly with the increased demands on our services; it was therefore interesting and pleasing to meet a relatively new member of staff who had such a positive experience of being welcomed into the organisation. As many of you will know, I believe the first introduction to a new work place can shape how you settle in and your longer term views of the organisation. Armineh has worked at a number of well-known and high performing organisations such as The Christie and brings with her a wealth of expertise and energy, making her another valued member of our team.
Making people feel welcome and helping them to settle in is a key part of how we do things around here, “the Bay Way”!
We made a number of commitments regarding Human Factors in our current Quality Improvement Plan. We said we would include this area into our development curriculum, and build in-house expertise and knowledge in this area.
Why do people make the mistakes they do? We have an interesting term in the NHS: ‘Never Events’. Never Events are serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented. And whilst such events thankfully are rare, the consequences can be terrible for our patients.
Human Factors is now an established scientific discipline used in many other industries. It looks at understanding and improving how as people we behave and interact with others and the world around us. By accepting and understanding our limitations, we can use the Human Factors discipline to minimise and mitigate, and in turn, reduce the errors we make and the often awful outcomes as a result.
Human Factors will therefore play a key part of our drive to continuously learn and improve ensuring our hospitals are as safe as they can be.
We often talk about the safety of our patients, but we should also remember when we talk about safe hospitals, we are talking about the safety of everyone who uses and works in them.
I’ve been very proud of the professional relationships that we have forged with our partners, particularly locally, such as with our GPs, commissioners and politicians, over what has been an incredibly busy and complex few years. I was therefore pleased last week to welcome Cat Smith, our new MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. I was able to discuss with Cat our future plans for the RLI and the wider Trust as part of Better Care Together.
Like all of our MPs, Cat is very passionate about her local NHS and providing the very best services and care for our patients. I am looking forward to working with her as we continue to develop services in what remains, an extremely financially challenging environment.
Cat was also able to take the time out to visit our oncology unit and meet patients and staff. Although the unit is in the process of a much needed facelift, and it is looking much brighter as a result, it is still an area that we want to significantly improve – sooner, rather than later.
I would like to thank Cat for taking the time to meet with me, but more importantly for taking the time out to talk with our staff and patients, I know they will have appreciated this.
CARE QUALITY COMMISSION (CQC) RE-INPSECTION REPORT
I am expecting to receive, in the next few weeks, the report and outcome of the CQC re-inspection of our Hospitals which took place this Summer. I know that there are many staff who anxiously await the outcome following the last visit. There is no doubt in my mind that there have been many improvements over the last year or so – I hope that these will be reflected in the report itself.
I know how important it is that we recognise all the many improvements made by staff as well as those things which require further work. In today’s busy NHS – our improvement journey will never be ‘done’, it is continuous – that is the point. We continue to learn and I hope, make small improvements each and every day.
So – as soon as I have news, I will share it with you.