It’s been another busy week across our hospitals and you have continued to provide excellent care. I want to thank the A&E team and the wider Queen’s Hospital Burton team especially this week as I know that they had their busiest ever day yesterday. 275 patients at QHB is huge and the slippy conditions and cold weather certainly caused some of these extra attendances. As you know, the flu season is now in full swing across UHDB. We are averaging 25-30 flu inpatients in beds during January and many of these patients need an intensive care bed. This highlights how important it is to protect yourself, your patients and your family. More than 6,250 of our staff have taken this advice on board this year and had the flu vaccine.

Staying on the theme of staff participation, hundreds of comments have been made and thousands of votes have been cast in UHDB’s third and final Big Conversation on insights around UHDB’s vision, our values, and a behavioural promise from the last conversation. As Chief Executive Gavin Boyle has said over the past few weeks, this approach probably hasn’t been done in the NHS in this way before so to see so many of you actively having a say is a testament to the open culture we are building at UHDB. You’ve still got a few days to take part, so visit the Clever Together site via the intranet or one of the email updates.

Being Executive Medical Director, Deputy Chief Executive, and a practicing Emergency Medicine Consultant, you can imagine I have a varied working week. This week has been no different, today especially so. I popped in to see the new modular ward, which opened yesterday with 28 new beds. Just 74 days ago (including Christmas!) this was Car Park 1. We now have a fully operational ward, and the team tell me patients are already saying how lovely the rooms are and how nice the staff looking after them were. Everyone from Paul Brooks’ Estates team – who have organised this complex project – from the contractors who did the build, to the finance team, to the clinical team who have been getting ready for this week deserve a huge thank you.

Giving over an entire car park for the past couple of months has been difficult, but today I had the honour (if you can call it that), of officially opening 570 new car parking spaces at the Manor Car Park near Royal Derby Hospital, which will relieve pressure on parking on the actual hospital site and improve the experience for our staff working here. Plans are in place to build new car parks at Queen’s Hospital Burton in the next 18 months.

After cutting the ribbon, I headed off to Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital in Tamworth to chat with staff over a piece of cake (forget the last paragraph of last week’s medical director’s blog….​) and coffee about their ideas for the future and any concerns they may have. This has been part of a comprehensive plan for me and my Executive colleagues to try and meet with as many UHDB staff as possible, either at breakfast drop-in events or informal visits to clinical areas.

On behalf of the Board, I want to thank all those staff who came along to events or took time out of their day to chat to us during the visits. As I mentioned above, January is our most difficult month and it was great to see that morale was really high in all the places where we have met people. And where concerns or ideas have been raised, from smokers directly outside the hospitals doors, to exciting plans for the future of our clinical services, these have all been really positive discussions. I’m already looking forward to participating in similar events and visits in the spring.

Before then, we’ll see what the rest of the winter brings. But I’m in no doubt we have fantastic teams across our hospitals that will continue to provide high quality care.

Dr Magnus Harrison

Executive Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive