Well the big event this week must be the beginning of the CQC’s unannounced inspection of the Trust. This is a scheduled part of the routine inspection process and although we didn’t know precisely when it would be, we were expecting them about this time. But more of that in a minute.

Temperatures have certainly taken a dip and we’re in the grip of a bit of a cold snap. Our front door teams in our emergency departments, MIUs and acute assessment areas continue to do an amazing job looking after the surge in patients we see at this time of year. As I’ve said many times before, this is a whole Trust effort and all parts of the organisation are pulling together to make sure our patients continue to get good care. This includes our base wards and departments, community hospitals and support services, too. We also work really closely with our partners across the wider health and care systems in Derbyshire and Staffordshire and together we are managing well.

I just wanted to make a special mention to Paul Brooks and the amazing Estates and Facilities team, who ensured that the 28 bed modular ward was complete and opened on time last Friday. This is a huge achievement for all concerned – it took just 74 days from the beginning of the works to completion, which I’m sure must be some sort of record. Paul describes it as ‘the miracle on Car Park 1!’. Thanks also to Catfoss, the suppliers, for going the extra mile. I also want to thank the Ward 310 Urology team who agreed to move into the new facility to release their ward for medical patients. And well done to Sister Nicola Brock and Sister Sharon Hill and their teams for stepping up to the challenge on the medical W310, too. We’ve already started work on a similar facility at QHB, which will be next to the Treatment Centre, and open towards the end of March 2019.

My out and about this week was a fantastic visit to our lymphoedema service along with Magnus, our Medical Director. Lymphoedema is the severe swelling of usually the legs or arms caused by a build-up of fluid, and is often associated with some other clinical condition such as cancer or vascular disease. This is a long-term condition and can be extremely debilitating for people who live with it. It can cause severe mobility issues, but also makes sufferers prone to other conditions such as cellulitis.

We’re really fortunate at UHDB to have such a highly specialised and well developed service. As well as looking after local people, we also provide the service in Nottingham and in Mansfield. I was really impressed by the holistic support given to patients, not just clinical but also helping to improve their wider well-being. It was a pleasure to spend time with Professor Vaughan Keeley, Clare Nyawo and their teams. Not only are they blazing a trail in terms of the quality of service provided, but they are also leading in research, heading up a variety of major studies so that we can increase our understanding of this particular condition. Vaughan and the team have great plans for the future, including how we develop our service to cover our wider catchment population into Staffordshire, and also the development of an outreach service that would complement the development of “Place based” integrated care, which is an important part of the work of the STPs in both Derbyshire and Staffordshire. It was a joy to see such a team who are clearly passionate about doing the best for their patients and delivering an outstanding service.

I got the call first thing on Tuesday to say that the CQC had arrived and their inspectors were beginning their work across all of our hospitals. Their particular focus has been on acute care in our EDs, MIUs and emergency assessment units, End of Life Care and Maternity. They’ve visited all of our sites and have certainly gone into the detail of how we deliver our services. The depth of questioning has been, at times, intense and I have been delighted to hear of how well all of our people have done in being open and transparent and helpful in trying to assist the inspectors to complete their important task.

I hope you found my brief CQC update each day helpful – we’ll get some high level feedback later today and I will share as much as I can with colleagues later today. This isn’t the end of the process though. We should expect CQC colleagues to return over the next few weeks, where they might want to check a particular issue. Next week we have our ‘Use of Resources Review’, which looks at how efficient the hospitals operate and then in March 2019 there is the Well Led Review, which looks at our governance arrangements. It’s quite a thorough process and we will look forward to receiving their report, which won’t be until around June/July 2019. I just wanted to say how proud I have been this week of my UHDB colleagues who have responded so well to the questions of our inspectors, whilst at the same time keeping on with our main job which is to look after our patients. Well done to you all.

Gavin Boyle

Chief Executive