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The Friday Message – 2 October 2015

Staff have been working extremely hard for our patients, and I know last weekend was especially challenging. As a result of this work, we achieved our A&E target again in August for the fourth consecutive month, with overall performance of 96.19%.

These figures were presented at the Trust Board meeting this week and I wanted to let you know that it was stated that “The key factor in the continued achievement of these standards is the hard work and targeted effort by staff to improve services.” I fully support this statement and would like to say thank you.

We all know that it isn’t about targets. Seeing and treating our patients as quickly and as safely as possible, by the right people, in the right place, results in better outcomes for them, and I am confident that we all share this view.

Our performance continues to improve in many areas, and it is influenced by many things, not least our values and how we uphold them – our behaviours.

Last year, staff, governors and volunteers got involved and helped create a new vision and set of values for the Trust.

Using the Listening into Action approach, staff have now created a “Behavioural Standards Framework”. It is has been developed by our workforce, not the directors, and acts a guide as to a core set of behaviours and attitudes that can help us as we go about our day jobs.

I’ve heard people say that they don’t need a guide to help them behave, or that people should just treat others like they would want to be treated themselves. I wish this was true.  The “hello my name is” approach has been well adopted by you all, but we need to go further.

We still don’t consistently introduce ourselves to our patients. A member of my team was a patient recently, and they met five different members of staff as part of their treatment (none of whom they had met before), and whilst all very polite and helpful, nobody introduced themselves.

Our behaviours and attitudes are really important. They are crucial and have a big impact on relationships and teams working well together. Many of us are also public facing, not just those working in our wards. The first impression a visitor or patient has of our hospitals might be you. Is it as good a first impression as it could be? I don’t say this as an accusation, more as a question that we should ask constantly ourselves. How we behave and act can potentially influence how our colleagues feel and in turn, act and behave too.

This can’t be an initiative. It has to be part of how we do business. HR colleagues are now working on sharing this information and will be working with us all to embed the framework, rather than it gathering dust on a shelf – even our growing ‘virtual’ shelves.

This week, the Trust Board approved plans which in time will transform the way pharmacy services will be delivered in our hospitals.

The change will involve outsourcing an element of our pharmacy services to a third party community pharmacy provider, and is part of our plans to improve the quality of medicines management services for patients.

There are lots of rumours going around about this, and you can read more details on our website, including a copy of the Board paper at:

We first considered these options back in October 2013, and since then we’ve explored different options. The chosen option will allow our skilled hospital pharmacy team to focus on supporting our patients in hospital and help them get better more quickly.

Despite the rumours; we are not selling off our pharmacy services. We still retain the responsibility for this service, and no jobs will be lost. This option will reduce the time taken to prepare discharge medicines, allowing our patients to leave hospital in a timelier manner, every day of the week.

We were also mindful that we needed to address a range of actions identified to offer the highest standards of medicines management, as well as tackle the recruitment and retention difficulties that we have experienced for several years in relation to new clinical pharmacists.

The option approved by the Trust is already well established in over 100 NHS trusts.

The other option considered by the Trust Board would have required setting aside substantial public funds to manage and run a private wholly owned subsidiary.

We were asked to give this option further consideration by our Governors in April this year. We did that, however, we felt that as well as being expensive to set up, it would not address the key areas of both improving the patient experience and in particular, solve our recruitment issues. We acknowledge and respect the work of our Governors, and thank them for their continued involvement in this process.

I know that the project team for this initiative will continue to liaise across divisions on progress and involve you all. I anticipate that I will be in a more informed position next month to share any wider updates. Change, for whatever reason, can be unsettling, so if you are unsure on any aspect, please don’t hesitate to ask. I know that a short “Frequently Asked Question” document is being prepared for the intranet for any immediate questions too.

As many of you know, we start each Board meeting with a patient story. These are often told in different ways – by the patient themselves (in person or video), or by a staff member on their behalf. We listen to a mix of different experiences, many of which are about where we have got it wrong and discussing the learning opportunities.

This week, the Board had the pleasure of hearing from a family who had used our maternity services at Kendal and the RLI. It was a largely positive story, but with some elements where we weren’t consistent in our advice, and I know the team have been working on how we can improve.

What I wanted to share with you today was part of their feedback. They wanted to impress on the Board the importance of patient feedback and ensuring that their “thank you” got through. Whilst I know that Sascha Wells and Owen Galt will ensure this happens at a divisional level, the services we provide rely on everyone to play a part. Wards don’t clean themselves, food doesn’t cook itself and so on – we are all part of an incredibly large, complex, professional and dedicated team. On behalf of the family, thank you. You should all be proud of yourself and the role you play.

I am quite sure hearing their story, and having two babies at the Board meeting, stayed in the back of everyone’s mind when we had to make patient safety decisions later that day. It is essential that we all stay grounded as to why we are here.

Please remember that there are many ways to recognise your colleagues – a thank you is always appreciated but there are other ways. If you haven’t yet nominated someone for our Your Health Heroes Awards, there is still time! Nominations are open until 30 October. It only takes a few minutes and can be done online at: I know from speaking to staff that regardless of whether they are shortlisted or not, just being nominated is appreciated.

There really is a lot going on at the moment with people working flat out. I am conscious that we also have a lot of events planned, such as our Listening into Action Big Conversations, monthly Team Brief, Inclusion Event and the Medical Staffing Committee all before Christmas. Therefore we will not be holding our All Staff Briefings in November, however, the monthly Team Brief for Managers and Supervisors will remain unchanged.

However, as soon as we have a firm date for the publication of the CQC re-inspection report, I will arrange for sessions to be put on where we can share and discuss the report.

Jackie Daniel
Chief Executive

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