Compassion is key


by Julian Hobbs, medical director

Welcome to my blog, in which I hope to talk about several different things that are happening at the moment. Some of these we have had subject presentations about and reported within the Trust but you might not have had the opportunity to see or engage with these.

I’ve spent a lot of time last weekend and Friday reading and learning about the latest thoughts on compassion, how this can be translated into clinical practice, and the benefits on patient outcomes of good team working. I was fortunate enough to spend a considerable amount of time at the GMC/CQC workshop in order to contribute to the inspection framework around team working. You may be familiar with the output of the St. Georges, Great Ormond Street and also East Kent reviews, all of which have highlighted poor team working as a central cause of various inpatient harms which have occurred.

On a slightly different note, however, it’s clear that the personal impact of poor team working and a failure to appreciate the contributions of multi-disciplinary teams have caused a great deal of harm nationally. Central to all of this, I believe, is the role of compassion and indeed this was the key theme of Michael West’s talk when he visited the Trust some six months previous. He recommended a book titled ‘Compassionomics’ which I have just finished reading. It makes very telling and impactful sense in terms of the hard reality of improving outcomes for patients. I’m conscious that all of you are busy but an insight into this can have a significant impact on the team and also patient outcomes. The interventions recommended are very simple and straight forward.

I’ve enclosed the link to Chris Turner’s Civility Saves Lives TED talk. For those of you who haven’t seen it before I do recommend it and for those who have seen it previously it’s well worth re-visiting as a reminder as to how impactful these things can be:

I’m grateful indeed to Richard Alleyne for agreeing to help with the communication skills training which is often a feature of our staff and patient surveys. I believe the start-up date for this training is 1st April 2020 and I encourage you to participate as part of your CPD. It will assist with the work related to patient safety, patient safety behaviours and the graded assertiveness programme that Nicky Calthorpe has arranged.

Finally, I just wanted to update you on the CQC re-inspection. We are yet to receive the request for information which would normally proceed this by about six weeks. There is still much to be done, particularly around addressing mandatory training, ensuring that the recording of this and also the content is fit for purpose moving forwards for a number of reasons. Medical mandatory training remains of particular concern and I’d be grateful to colleagues if they could ensure that mandatory training is complete but also that records the Trust is holding are truly reflective of the position.

Good work in relation to the MCP has taken place, system wide collaboration is never straight forward and indeed that is the case with this project but I do think that the clinical advisory groups are doing both good and impactful work.  Over the next couple of weeks we will be providing updates at the clinical summit and also via the hospital senior staff committee.

I’d like to wish you all a very happy year for 2020 and look forward to working with you to ensure that our services are as responsive and compassionate as possible.





Turning strategy into action!

James Fleet, interim director of strategy and transformation, reflects on his first few weeks.

Three weeks into my new role, and really enjoying it. I have now attended my second weekly executive Team meeting, as well as the Trust Board last week. In preparation for joining the Executive on-call rota, I have also spent time out on the floor, getting to know clinical and support colleagues better. Whilst clearly challenged operationally, I continue to be heartened and impressed by the dedication, professionalism, commitment and capabilities of our diverse workforce.

I am excited about the opportunity to help drive forward the Trust’s strategic agenda, including strengthening our approach, systems and processes for developing and delivering transformation across our service and workforce models, and turning strategy into action! This work has never been as important to the Trust as it is right now, given the many changes and developments within the local and national health and care system.

As Interim Director of Strategy and Transformation, I will be focused and unapologetic about seeking-out opportunities for the Trust to think, behave and operate differently, particularly introducing new ways of working which challenge some of the norms and traditions that exist. The Trust is challenged to recruit and retain high quality clinical capacity, and it is increasingly clear that the Dudley Group, along with other providers must explore different ways of staffing our services, through co-developing new workforce models, including extended and new integrated roles, drawing on learning from other areas, where improved care, delivered more efficiently, has been achieved.

I am committed and passionate about staff engagement and will be working with colleagues from across the Trust, to take forward action to improve the experience of our staff at work as part of making real the Trusts commitment to becoming an employer of choice.  Although I’m new to the board I have already taken the opportunity to get my flu vaccine something I’d recommend to any member of staff who hasn’t had theirs yet.

Whilst I recognise that this blog is very much a statement of commitment at this early stage, I look forward to updating in future blogs on some of the successes that I know we will achieve together.

The values of public service

Liam Nevin board secretary, reflects on his first few months

This is my first blog since joining the Trust in August and it’s caused me to reflect on my career path that has led me here.

I started working in public services in 1987 and often reflect how much things have changed in that time. In the mid-80s technology was in its very early stages, emails were still a distant prospect, cross-organisational partnerships were rare and demand for public services, whilst always greater than resources, was nothing like it is now.

However, what drew me to a career in public service was the responsibility and sense of fulfilment in contributing to making the lives of others better whether through local government, health, education or housing, all of which have been steps on my journey.  During my career I have been fortunate to work with many people, who have inspired me in their dedication to their job and their determination to provide the best possible service to the public often in very difficult circumstances.

Never has this been more true than what I have witnessed here in my initial months with the Trust. I have seen so many examples of staff who are striving to provide the very best service in the most difficult of conditions. In late November I spent half a day in the Therapy Department. I was grateful to Vicky Hawke and other members of the team who patiently explained their work and allowed me to sit in on patient sessions.  The professionalism and sense of humour within the team and the gratitude of the patients for the standard of care they received were a real credit to all of the staff.

Last week I went into ED in the early evening to speak to people and observe the very difficult conditions for patients and staff. I was humbled by the dedication of the team as they described the daily pressures that they confront.

I still have a lot to learn about the operations of the Trust and the roles that different teams fulfil but I have been heartened to see the values of public service on display in my time here to date. It serves as a reminder that although the environment that we work in will always be subject to change, those values remain fundamental to what we do.

On the subject of new faces, our Board has been strengthened and expanded over the last few months with the recruitment of additional Non-Executive Directors. The most recent recruitment has resulted in Liz Hughes, Vij Randeniya and Lowell Williams joining and each bring to the Trust a wealth of experience that will be invaluable in helping guide it through its many challenges.

I am always keen to chat to staff when I am round and about so please do say hello if you see me in the building.

Happy New Year to all! From Adam Thomas

Welcome to the roaring twenties, the decade of rebel ideas? By now most of us will have written “2019” and then made it look like 2020 half a dozen times, as well as got bored of the “2020 vision” pun.

First and foremost, a huge thanks to all colleagues that have worked hard over the festive period and bank holidays to keep our patients safe. It certainly has been a busy couple of weeks with pressures across the healthcare system in Dudley and the wider Black country. Well done and thank you, to all teams.

In the lead up to Christmas the Dudley Group Charity ran a number of events to support our Children’s ED appeal. All donations going towards our target of £100,000 to improve the environment for children and young people when they attend the hospital as an emergency. Thank you to all that took part and donated to this worthy cause. I can certainly vouch that the Santa dash was more challenging than I had expected! We did however make the front pages of local newspapers as a very positive story for the Trust, with lots of other festive coverage promoting the Trust including the Christmas video, Christmas market and carol singing.

I am very pleased to announce that the festive fund raising brought in a fantastic £2861 so another thank you for all the support.

Prior to Christmas, a couple of books were recommended to me. David Fillingham (NHSI executive improvement practice coach) recommended John Shook’s – Managing to Learn.  Peter Lowe our very own Head of Improvement Practice, recommended Matthew Syed’s “Rebel Ideas”. I’ve been fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy of both. Whilst, I have yet to get into the managing to learn text, I can recommend “Rebel Ideas” to all current or aspiring leaders.

Rebel Ideas, explores the importance of diverse thinking in teams, avoiding collective blindness, the risks of dominance hierarchies versus shared responsibility and the importance of innovative learning through combining ideas and “outsider thinking”. Written by a journalist, it is not surprising that this book is easy to read and  gathers evidence and opinions and applies these to real life examples – broadly these are epic or catastrophic failures. Learning lessons and shared knowledge is a basic principle of human evolution and certainly applies to healthcare.







In one chapter, the rebel ideas book explores the infamous and devastating events on mount Everest in 1996 and the actions that lead to the catastrophe. As a keen mountaineer, I have read many accounts of this event. It made me reflect on my own mountaineering experiences, decision making, and lessons learned, which I may add are in no way a comparison with the devastating events of Everest in 1996.

I’m taken back to the English Lake District, my spiritual home. Wasdale Head – mid March a few years ago. A good friend (a mountain leader) and I have decided to take a last-minute trip. After driving from the Midlands to the heart of the Lakes we arrive at Wasdale Head around 3pm Friday. We make basecamp in the field outside the Wasdale Head Inn – as this seems very sensible. We then quickly gather our kit and set out to fell-run Scafell Pike before dark. At the top, dusk is approaching and disorientating fog closes in – bringing visibility down to 10 – 20 yards. Helpfully we have left the GPS unit in the car. We are however both carrying warm clothes, a torch, a whistle, a compass and we have an OS map. Training kicks in and we work together to set bearings, one of us walks ahead 10 yards on that bearing, counting paces (meters) while the other keeps the bearing true – we then overlap and repeat. Fast, effective, safe. We’re soon safely out of the fog and off the mountain for pie and a pint. Great fun and a reminder; the peak of a mountain is only the halfway point!

The following day, we get up early to glorious warm, spring sunshine. Pack basecamp into the back of the car, grab rucksacks and set off on a long two-day route plan, over some classic peaks; Seatallan, Steeple, Pillar, Kirk Fell, Great Gable. The aim is to freecamp on the saddle below Great End before returning Sunday morning to the car. We tell the local climbing shop and the Inn our plans, for safety’s sake. I look at the peak of Great End in the distance, which is still strewn with strips of winters snow. I look to the high hanging stratus clouds that seem to be noticeably building through the first hours of the morning and joke to my climbing companion – have you got the GPS, as it looks like snow?! It’s about 15°C, we leave Wasdale head in shorts and t-shirts at mid-morning, behind schedule.

Five hours later we are on a knife-edge ridge. A blizzard has closed in within 15 minutes, the temperature is 2°C. We’re at about 820m. The visibility is zero. Warm clothes are already donned – although neither of us has packed ski goggles and the snow is overwhelming and stinging our eyes. It is unsafe to back track on the steep exposed rocky section that brought us here. We sit it out for 30mins hoping it may go as quickly as it came, both still eager to crack on and bag some more peaks. After some discussion mainly fuelled by bravado and then latterly an examination of the information in front of us; failing light, wind chill, lack of visibility, we actually listen to each other’s concerns. We arrive at the decision to get off the peak and retreat to the car – smart move. We have GPS! So, re-plan and push on along the ridge to safely get to an intermediate position, in so doing we’ll descend to 400m and below the snowline. Slow going.

At 400m and now out of the snow, we are cold and light is fading quickly in the shadow of peaks and the murk of the clouds. We put the tent up – ‘imaginatively’, as my friend hasn’t packed the pegs – which is a nice surprise! We are now very cold, have wet gloves, it’s dark and we are incapable of operating the zips on our coats, never mind a lighter to start cooking. Together we have the tools, skills, knowledge and experience to first get warm, then get fed, then get sleep and then get home safely the next day. Which we do.

Scant snow makes it down to 400meters by 6am the following morning walking away from the big peaks behind us;

GPS is now always with me (as a backup). Ski goggles and a two-layer glove system have a permeant place in my Autumn / Spring kit bag. Knowledge and experience shared.

As we plunge into a new decade, I’m reconnected with some old learning. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Trust in your skills, knowledge, tools and experience. Learn from the past. Be aware of the bounds of your own competence and know when to ask. Speak up, listen up, share information and knowledge as a team. Challenge and don’t be afraid to have rebel ideas!

Happy New Year – have a fantastic 2020!

Update from Julian Hobbs!

I wanted to write to you to highlight some of the really good work being done at the Kings Fund, and also to draw your attention to some of the work taking place nationally around staff well-being which forms part of the Dudley people plan. Within this there is a clear understanding and recognition that the bricks and mortar of the buildings in which we work are not really the hospital.

The expertise and values sit within our clinical staff. Our responsibility is to develop and support this resource as far as we possibly can. The pressures on the NHS at the current time are enormous and every time I hear on the television or radio that we don’t know how much more we can ask of the NHS staff or NHS in its entirety, they respond heroically to whatever new crisis or emergency arises exceeding all expectation.

It was a pleasure to go along to the presentation of cohort 8 who form part of the leadership cohort, their passion and enthusiasm was admirable. Our reflection as staff and leaders in the organisation is that we are we ready to receive their energy in terms of improving the experience for patients.









There are also on-going staff engagement events across the organisation, the aim is that we become clinically led with a workforce at all levels able to influence and shape the delivery of service. We have seen some evidence of recovery in terms of our medical engagement score which has improved over 40% in the last 12 months reflecting the great deal of work which has been done by the Divisional Chiefs and CD’s although further work needs to be done.

There are examples of the negative effect of these pressures and close links relating to the practitioners health advisory service. For those of us who find we require practical and confidential advice regarding mental health issues that arise either as a result of or in combination with pressures at work or home. There is also provision within our organisation to have these conversations via occupational health and helplines.

I’ve attached the presentation Professor Tom Bourne gave and he has been kind enough to agree to come and speak with us. Rates of burnout amongst clinical staff are significant and I’m aware that much of the teambuilding work, nurturing and the positive learning that we are trying to imbed within the organisation will help in some ways. I’ve highlighted the need to raise awareness around support for staff to enable them to cope with the pressures that are experienced on a day to day basis.

My door is always open and we have an in house mentoring scheme, I’m happy to see anyone who feels that they require further support.

Hoping for a brrr…illiant winter performance!

By chief operating officer Karen Kelly

There’s a frosty nip in the air which tells me winter is here! For those involved in managing front door capacity and patient flow, you must be thinking “winter has never really gone away!” As the days get darker earlier, I am pleased to see everyone pulling together to keep our patients safe and well managed during the capacity challenges.

But hark! (listen up!) This has been an incredible journey for the Trust in terms of our changes in patient pathways and overall performance against our constitutional targets. Even as the days get darker earlier, we have lots to be proud of and reasons to be optimistic.

We have a dedicated bed manager in medicine to give nursing time back to nurses. We are trialling different models of rapid assessment in ED to improve patient flow. Our Frailty Assessment Area has opened and is proving to be a great success.

Moving the FAA to the front door, in line with recommendation in the NHS Long Term Plan, frail elderly patients receive optimal care from a dedicated frailty team providing comprehensive geriatric assessment. This should enable patients to get home sooner and maintaining their independence. The specialist MDT support will help prevent admission to hospital and reduce re-attendance.

Our Cardiac Assessment Unit was also shortlisted for an HSJ Award earlier this year. The introduction of a CAU enhances earlier diagnosis on entry into hospital, with monitoring of key diagnostic biochemical markers of all acute admissions to the Trust.

Our Referral To Treatment performance remains largely stable, achieving 93.62 percent in September. This is similar to performance in previous months. This puts us firmly in the top 25 per cent performing trusts nationally.

Our performance against the national cancer standards has historically been strong with DGFT amongst the strongest performers within both the STP and nationally. We have even been able to support ladies from our Wolverhampton GPs in the breast referral pathways ensuring there is no delay in being seen.  I want to say huge thank you to everyone involved in this service.

It was great to see pathology staff showing great enthusiasm for their profession through their displays.  It was fascinating to look through the microscopes at samples of skin and blood.  I even had a guess of how many sharps were in the tubs on display. Didn’t win!!!

CQC – reporting has reduced to monthly for our ED department, which is good news. We continue to work through Mary Sexton’s Achieving Excellence groups for our CQC visit.

ED redesign work is underway. Staff, patients, visitors and healthcare partners have been sharing their ideas to help shape future plans for the £20.3 million redesign of our ED. We held a series of drop in sessions and one-one-meetings to gather feedback.  It will inform how we better support the coordination of care, patient safety and health outcomes. We’ve engaged clinical staff and others across the Trust and from this the clinical specifications are informing the  options appraisal process before the final design. So – exciting times!

And exciting news on a personal level – I’ve completed my Great North Run! The half marathon was a slog but I was pleased with how I did. I exceeded my personal best – as I’ve never done one before.  I was just pipped to the finish by Mo Farah (honest!).  I’m now looking forward to the Santa Dash around the hospital on the 5th December – please join me.

Blog by Adam Thomas!

As we plunge head first into November, like me, you may well be wondering what has happened to 2019? It seems to have evaporated! They say that time flies when you’re having fun, and it certainly does when you are busy. This year has brought both of these things, and it certainly isn’t over yet! It has however prompted me to reflect on the last 10 months, which have really been about positive change in the Trust.

There has been a significant pace of change throughout the year in a number of areas. Many improvements have been driven in departments or by directorate and divisional teams. Some by improvement action plans. Some through the Dudley Improvement Practice (DIP) methodology with events in Ophthalmology and Ward C3 reaching the sustainability phase. There are a number of other exciting improvement projects in the pipeline and I’m excited to see these come along in the new few months.










Under the guidance of the Dudley Improvement Practice team, Tom Jackson and I have undertaken accelerated ‘practice coach’ certification. There has certainly been a healthy dose of competition to attain the first incremental improvements within our respective projects, which has spurred things along – occasionally spilling out into Twitter! It has also developed a partnership of improvement reflections and transformation.

Most importantly, Tom and I have both made the first steps on our improvement journey and demonstrated that we were able to make a measurable change. I’d like to take this opportunity – as someone has left me in charge of the Directors blog with no direct opposition – to claim the win on my complete project A3 document. Well done Tom, it was close!

I would also like to use this chance to encourage all staff to register with our self-service password re-set system; “Passworks”. This allows you to have full control over resetting your Trust password and unlocking your account within hours and out of hours. It is significantly quicker than calling the IT service desk and frees up time for the service desk team to help staff with more complicated queries. It doesn’t require your mobile number – just some memorable questions. Register today here and give it a go!

Time to think
Continuing the theme of change, last week I was privileged to join over one hundred of our Allied Healthcare Professionals (AHPs) and the Chief Nurse Mary Sexton at an away day to mark National AHP’s day. This was an inspirational day with fantastic presentations demonstrating the leadership and direct transformational input AHP teams are delivering to the evolve our model of care.

One particular presentation delivered real transformational change in practice – right there in the meeting! Nicola Shaw presented on the power of social media, ‘super-connectors’ and work social networks. The presentation demonstrated the positive disruption that professional networks with direct communication can bring, over traditional structures and hierarchy. A conservative estimation would be that this session delivered a doubling of Twitter converts in the attendees that day!

For me, Nicola’s session highlighted the simplicity of positive influence. It’s not at all about difficult projects or complex technology. It’s about communicating and taking a new approach to a current challenge. Take the first step. Twitter is as a free platform for sharing ideas, supporting continual professional development, building networks and learning…used responsibly.

Later that week, I held two away day Think Tank sessions supported by our partners at Dudley College. Even the walk into the venue was inspiring with campus buildings called, ‘advance’, ‘evolve’ and ‘enhance’. The coffee shop was within the ‘enhance’ building – which makes a lot of sense!  These engagement events were based on interactive improvement practice sessions to inform our new digital strategy. There was fantastic input from attendees across the Trust on benefits, priority setting, as-well-as how innovation and technology support the Dudley People Plan and how we evolve into a truly digital Trust.

Key themes from the two days, were;

  • Collaboration on shared platforms to avoid waste and maximise benefit,
  • Developing digital skills into our workforce through the Dudley People Plan
  • Preparing our workforce for benefits and unintended consequences
  • Access to capture data to use it to drive evidence-based








Staff Survey
A couple of years ago as a Trust we moved to an online staff survey which is run independently by Picker. The survey is completely anonymous and allows you to directly contribute your feedback to supporting ongoing improvements in the organisation. It is really important to the Trust in both helping us to identify and address areas for improvement, as well as highlight areas of real success. The results of the survey really do have an impact on how we make positive change together. You will have received an email entitled “NHS Staff Survey 2019” and if you can’t remember your log-in details the IT team are ready to help.  As a shameless further promotion, you might also chose to register with Passworks while you are at it, as this will help you next time AND contribute to improving Trust services!

The final improvement themed promotion is to remind all staff to take up the free flu vaccination. Whilst our formal target this year is 80% of staff having the jab – we want to go one better and achieve 100% – to show our commitment to continuous improvement. We got out of the blocks with our highest ever up take on a single day and currently 24% of the workforce are vaccinated. All Trust staff can get their jab done by peer vaccinators, either on your own area or nearby check out the hub for a list of peer vaccinators and dates for drop in sessions.

Celebrating AHPs – Mary Sexton’s blog

Last week I had the pleasure of joining the national celebrations for Allied Health Professionals. AHPs Day was the opportunity to say thank you to all our wonderful AHP colleagues with a day of networking, friendship and fascinating presentations at Dudley-Kingswinford Rugby Club.

AHPs represent many different roles and specialities and they all play an integral part in supporting our patients to live well and be well, throughout both our hospital and community settings.

Did you know there are 12 allied health professions, from art therapists, dieticians and SALT to physiotherapist and orthoptists, every one of them making their own unique contribution to our teams? They have many skills and one focus – to ensure they offer personalised care and in doing so promote professional standards that support high quality care.

AHPs are the third largest workforce in our Trust and have so much to offer beyond their professional areas of expertise. They will play a vital role in supporting transformation of our workforce by developing new ways of working as we strengthen interdisciplinary leadership and learning.

So while October 14th was one special day on which to celebrate their contribution, let’s take time every day to stop and recognise our AHP colleagues and remember – don’t be defined by what expertise you have but by the leadership you bring to changing and supporting an inclusive culture.




A month of celebrations!

October is Black History Month and we want to mark the month by highlighting the stories of some of our BAME staff. They’ve kindly shared their experiences with us and you can see their stories on the board in main reception at Russells Hall Hospital. We will be displaying the storyboards throughout the month across our sites.

We kicked off the celebrations with a steel band from Summerhill School performing a set in main reception on 1st October. The youngsters are incredibly gifted and drew quite a crowd, as did the tasty Jamaican spiced bun and cheese! Interserve has a fabulous menu planned for the month which I’m looking forward to sampling!

Black History Month has been celebrated every year in the UK since 1987 and was originally founded to recognise the achievements and contributions of people from African and Caribbean backgrounds. It has now expanded to include the contributions of people from Asia.







There are lots of events planned in the West Midlands and you can find out more about them by clicking here.

October is packed with exciting and important events. It’s AHP Day on 14th October. This is our chance to congratulate AHP colleagues by nominating them for the AHP Awards. If you’re an AHP, book onto the celebration event, if you haven’t already. The Health and Care Professions Council will be joining us for a professional talk at the awards. The day is also an opportunity for colleagues to network from the twelve AHP professions that our Trust employs. It also counts as CPD. More info on the Hub including nomination forms.

It’s also National Speak Up Month. We are raising awareness of speaking up and underlining the importance of listening to workers. There are speak up drop in sessions here and at Corbett where you can speak in confidence to the speak up guardians and NED Julian Atkins. Author John Higgins, who works NHS London Leadership Academy running Speak Up, Listen UP workshops, is speaking at November’s Grand Round. Email to book your place. More information can be found on the Speak UP page on the Hub.

I was pleased to be part of the stakeholder panel to appoint the accountable officer for the Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs. Following a successful assessment day, a preferred candidate has been agreed. The decision still requires ratification by NHSE/I chief executive Simon Stevens. A decision will  hopefully be made in the next few days and so I will keep you posted.

The National Staff Survey 2019 opens on Tuesday 8th October and I would urge you al to use it as an opportunity to tell us about your service and the Trust. If you want change, this is your chance.

Look out for an email link and unique password. This will enable you to log in to the basic survey and tell us what you think.

We’re using outside company Picker  to run the survey for us – this means that all your responses go to them and they only provide the Trust with an anonymous report summarising staff responses.  It ensures everything you say is treated in confidence.

Picker will also send you email reminders – this is something that NHS England tells us we have to do to make sure as many of our staff completes the survey as possible so that we can listen really well to our successes and our areas to do better.

If you do not have easy access to a computer, please let either your manager or lead know so we can make sure equipment is made available. You can access the survey from any device that you use to access your email account.

If you do not regularly use your email and have forgotten your log in details, now’s the chance to get yourself back on so you can be ready for the survey. Go to, click on ‘email’ and follow the instructions for ‘unlock account or forgotten password’. If you are still having difficulties, call IT service desk on ext. 2376.

Julian’s spotlight on safety!

No one should be harmed in health care. And yet, nationally, thousands of patients suffer avoidable harm every day while receiving care. This week saw the World Health Organisation’s very first World Patient Safety Day, a global campaign to create awareness of patient safety and urge people to show their commitment to making healthcare safer. In Dudley we dedicated the whole week to raising awareness.

Safety is at the heart of everything we do; it is also one of the key measures the CQC uses to assess our overall rating as a Trust. It is our ambition to receive an outstanding rating for safety and, to help us move towards this goal, a Patient Safety Strategy has been developed.

The strategy was ratified by the Board of Directors earlier this year and focuses on four key themes:

  1. Optimising the care of the deteriorating patient;
  2. Improving the understanding of human factors and the role they have in patient  safety;
  3. Optimising our patient safety culture; and
  4. Undertaking safe handovers of care both within hospital settings and to external agencies.

The strategy identifies the areas we know we need to focus on but it is the operational changes that will improve the safety of care delivered across the Trust.

Patient Safety week has been a great success in raising the profile of patient safety and highlighting our commitment to patient safety culture. We have run a number of activities this week including speaking to our patients about what safety means to them…overwhelmingly it is you, our staff that shapes the perception of safety. Patients talked about the professionalism of staff, the level of communication and if staff are clear about what is happening this reassures them. They also talked about staff having the competency to do their jobs instilling confidence which is the basis of our winning poster as part of the campaign. The clinical skills team won the competition with their post depicting education as the roots of safety.

I also particularly liked lighting up the building orange to support the national campaign.

We have already made significant progress to improve the care of our sickest patients. We have established a deteriorating patient pathway and our performance in the management of patients with sepsis is something we should be really proud of.

To make our hospital safer in the evening and weekends, we recently established a team of advanced care practitioners to work alongside our medical teams and critical care outreach. Likewise, the introduction of electronic solutions such as eObs and eSepsis supports teams to identify deteriorating patients quickly and consistently.

All of our executive colleagues have long recognised that the key to a safe hospital is the culture in which our staff operate and this is something we have been working hard to embed. We want you all to work in an environment where you feel able to raise concerns but also are free of the fear of blame. It is rare for an individual to be responsible for harm to a patient; the circumstances are usually multifactorial. What is most important is that we learn from our mistakes and build on our excellence which is why the introduction of the GREATix platform is so important.

We launched GREATix this week which will build even further on our patient safety culture by highlighting an learning from positive experiences, this is turn will emphasise improvement and learning. We believe this will drive a big improvement in outcomes but also help improve staff engagement.


This builds on the visits we’ve had from Michael West and Chris Turner and we were thrilled to see 60 people attend the grand round reflecting the increased awareness that we are promoting.


Future developments include Diploma’s in the management of deteriorating patients and the introduction of a learning from excellence programme. So watch this space for more patient safety news.

Finally safety is everyone’s responsibility, no matter what role you play in the organisation.

There are a few key points that the World Health Organisation’s campaign highlights that we can all support:

  • Work with the patient and colleagues to create an open and transparent patient safety culture.
  • Encourage blame-free reporting and learning from errors. Use GREATix!
  • Ensure continuous professional development to improve your skills and knowledge in patient safety
  • Stand up for patient safety by making a pledge on social media using the hashtag #patientsafety.

What will you do to make sure your patients are as safe as possible?