It’s a bumper double edition this week! What I really mean by that is that I ran out of time last week, sorry!

In the last blog, I left you with a cliff-hanger about a VIP guest visit to UHDB. You’ll have seen the VIP in question was Matt Hancock MP, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Matt visited Queen’s Hospital Burton, alongside local MP Andrew Griffiths, who has been a big supporter of the hospital and the merger, to meet staff in our Emergency Department and chat through the challenges they face working in the NHS. Emergency Medicine Consultant Dr Sarah Pearson, Sister Beth Bibb and Helen Prescott led the tour of the department, which underwent a £1.2m refurb earlier this year. So, it was great recognition for all the team for their hard work over the year and to listen to the prep they’d done for winter. We also had a chat about our progress since the merger and how digital technology is helping us improve patient care, as well as giving him an update on the innovative Outwoods plans at QHB.

On that note, £21.88m in capital funding for the Outwoods Health Village has been approved by the Department of Health and Social Care, as part of the Staffordshire STP. This is great news for our Trust and for our patients. This development will include supported residential living and bring a range of other services together, including social care, voluntary services and primary care too.  The development will deliver an innovative integrated care model. On one of my ‘out and abouts’, I visited the Burton ICU team to talk through some of their challenges and plans for the future. High quality Intensive Care is an important part of our ‘vibrant DGH’ plan for QHB. Thanks to Dr Craig Stenhouse, Dr Paul Smith and Dr Adilah Miraj for showing me round.

Those of you who are eagled eyed will have spotted that the RDH winter modular ward has already been winched into place, whilst the QHB ward will be delivered in February. The Derby ward will be operational by the end of January and we’re also opening Ward 2 at LRCH before Christmas. This will be a difficult winter but a bit of extra capacity, 70 in total, will help.

I’ve met a number of really interesting colleagues at UHDB over the past few weeks. I caught up with Pablo Velli, consultant physician. Pablo works in the medical short stay unit at RDH one week a month and spends the rest of his time working in Barcelona. It’s all part of being creative about getting the best people to come and work for us. We had a good conversation about integrated care models in Spain and place based care there and discussed lots of ideas to help us develop our plans about integrated care. I also caught up with Dr Sam Mills, who has produced the first issue of the Junior Docs Times, aimed solely at junior docs, which will be a great way for junior doctors to share their thoughts. I also spent time with Elicia Sulway, who is Assistant General Manager for Patient Access. Ellicia is a graduate management trainee and will be spending a year with us, so I hope you’ll make her welcome.

One of the things I enjoy most is attending our Trust Induction to speak to all our new starters. This week I attended two, a general and volunteers induction and doctors in training induction. Mr Imran Bhatti, a local lad born at RDH but trained at Bristol, who has now come back to his home town to be a consultant laparoscopic pancreatic surgeon, organises the induction for doctors. In addition, Imran’s a very busy man and was part of a live broadcast from theatres this week demonstrating our UK leading laparoscopic (key hole) surgery for pancreatic conditions. This was beamed to 250 delegates at the Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons (ALSGBI) national conference in Manchester. Our Trust really is growing its reputation for innovation nationally and internationally, which is great to see.

Our very own Alison Bell, Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, has been chosen as the next Lead Guardian for the region. This is a testament to Alison’s work supporting colleagues to raise concerns when something’s not right. Congratulations are also in order for the Finance Team, who were unlucky to narrowly miss out on Finance Team of the Year at last night’s national Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Awards, having previously won the HFMA Regional Team of the Year award. Well done to the Finance Team for being shortlisted.

Many thousands of you have now taken part in the Clever Together Big Conversation, either in person or online. This piece of work looks at the Why, the How and the What of who we are and why we are here. The Clever Together team will now spend their time right up to Christmas analysing the thousands of comments and ideas that we’ve all contributed. Once we are over the first couple of weeks of January next year we’ll show you what that looks like so that you can have a final say on what will be our purpose, values and our agreed behaviours to each other and our patients as one Trust. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you have said.

Finally, tonight is the Derby Hospitals Choir Annual Christmas Concert at Derby Cathedral. Many of you will be going along to support the Choir, it’s an annual highlight for me and guaranteed to get even the biggest Grinch feeling Christmassy!

Have a good weekend.


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