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.