Friday 13 May 2022 - Interim CEO's Blog | CEO’s Blog

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Our Chief Executive’s Blog

Dr Magnus Harrison is the Interim Chief Executive of University Hospitals Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Magnus Harrison

“It’s a genuine privilege to take on this role and my commitment to you is that I will give everything I have to support you.

“I live in East Staffordshire and Queen’s Hospital Burton is my local hospital, so there’s something special about living within the communities that we serve. It gives me an extra sense of pride knowing the lives you impact everyday through the care you provide directly impacts my community too.

"I'm honoured and lucky to be working with a bunch of fabulous people here at UHDB. Together with you, I want to create an environment where we do fabulous things and allow all of our people to do so.”

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Friday 13 May 2022 - Interim CEO's Blog

Dr Magnus Harrison

One of the things about the CEO blog I love so much is that we don’t duck the big subjects, and this week is no different. It’s our value of Openness that drives us to hold the conversations that we probably don’t have often enough.

This week I want to raise inequalities, both amongst our patients and our staff. I will focus on our patients first. Earlier in the week my colleague, Dr James Crampton, brought a paper to the public Board meeting to share some key headlines from a health inequalities review being led by the Derbyshire system.

I think we all have some idea of what health inequalities are, whether that’s being someone with one or more of the protected characteristics, or living in an area with deprivation, something we sadly do have in Staffordshire and Derbyshire. But what this early work has shown is that previously unbeknown to us it really does feed through to our services themselves and how long actual patients wait.

We’ve found that BAME patients wait 11% longer overall – that’s an extra three and a half weeks – for care. That will come as a shock to many of you as we clearly don’t discriminate within the NHS. We care about all our communities and are committed to working with our partners across Derbyshire and Staffordshire to tackle health inequalities. We’d all agree reading this statistic that it’s unfair and must be avoidable. This early data gives us a starting point to understand why it’s happening so we can all take action.

That might mean looking at our services so they take into account someone who may have a lesser ability to travel, struggles to take time off work or is more likely to miss an appointment, perhaps due to the way our systems and processes affect how we communicate with them. Have we set up an outpatient clinic at a time that isn’t great for some communities so they wait a week or two for a clinic that is a better time? Is there a planned surgery list taking place somewhere harder for some communities to reach so they wait a week or two for a closer one?

If we think our big priority this year is a focus on time, which includes waiting times for emergency and urgent care, cancer and diagnosis treatment and for planned care, an extra three weeks will certainly affect patient experience and if we’re being honest, probably outcomes too.

We’re at the very start of this journey now that we have some concrete data. There is no quick fix, but step one was getting the data, step two is talking about it like we have this week and step three will be to tackle the underlying causes in the months and years ahead. It’s a long road but together I think we can make a real difference.

Turning our attention to inequality internally and this week has been Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week. Our ethos as a Trust is very much welcoming diversity and driving forward inclusion and belonging at UHDB so that everyone can be themselves. Sounds simple, but that again is a huge piece of work. Every single one of us has a part to play in co-creating an inclusive and respectful culture. The driving force behind this are our staff networks.

The networks have slowly been changing the Trust over the past two years, not only in the way we talk about equality, diversity and inclusion, but in the way we share good practice too. A great example is the NHS Rainbow Badges scheme. A second phase has been launched to this so that all UHDB staff and patients, regardless of whether or not you are LGBTQIA+, can complete a survey about your experiences and the results then lead to an accreditation: bronze, silver or gold. Obviously I’d love us to eventually be Gold accredited but at this moment in time your views will feed into an action plan for us to implement. If you want to give your views, you can do so by completing the survey here > The eight networks cover such a vast array of themes that there will be very few of us that can’t relate to at least one of them. If you do want to get involved in shaping the future culture of our Trust, please visit Net-I and get in touch >

Lastly, I want to give a special mention to a team that support all of us in the work we do, our Facilities team. It’s Facilities Management Day today so if you see one of our Facilities staff around our hospitals, do stop and thank them for their work. They’re often described as an unseen army, but as Paul Brooks regularly says, ‘they’re not a back of house team, you can’t get more front of house than Facilities staff’. I couldn’t agree more. Believe me, a kind word from you will make their day.


Have a great weekend and see you next week.

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