I want to open this week with a thank you to all our staff for their tremendously hard work over the last month. We’ve experienced an increased level of activity in all three of our hospitals and our teams have really pulled together to get us into a much better position. We couldn’t have done this without their continued support and dedication to keeping our patients safe


Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 16.05.53


Surgery reconfiguration project – launch of public consultation


Like many Trusts, we have been planning for the future and looking closely at how we develop our services so that they are both sustainable, and able to meet quality standards that are (rightly) continually rising. We have been particularly focusing on our surgical services, and how we can concentrate the operative part of the pathway on one site, while ensuring each of our 3 hospitals is host to several of these specialties

We’ve been working on our proposals with a range of people who share our views that we should not only put patients first, but also secure the long term future of the Trust. We’ve had great input and insight from staff groups, and from our Surgery Reconfiguration Stakeholder Reference Group, made up of local residents, surgery staff and members of local governing bodies.  We’ve also talked to commissioners, councillors and MPs to gather their thoughts and ideas on what’s best for our communities

Following this work, we’re now ready to launch the public consultation. The consultation starts on Monday 13th October and will run until Friday 16th January.  We’ll be holding a series of staff briefing sessions, public meetings and events to engage with all our staff and stakeholders.  The dates for the first round of public meetings are as follows:


Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 16.16.16


Please do join us for these and let us know your thoughts – we need to be sure we make the right decisions. There is lots of information on our website here, and I’ll keep you updated as we add more dates


Flu jabs


We start our annual flu vaccination programme on Monday 6 October. Our stocks of vaccine are high and we encourage our staff to have it as it helps protect the vulnerable people in their care

I will be first in line, and we are stressing that the jab protects not only the individual, but also the patients and family members who they come into contact with


Last year our vaccination rate was disappointing, so we are determined to do better this time around. There is more info for staff (see our website here) and a real focus on taking the vaccine to staff to make it as convenient as possible


Improving our stroke services


Each year, West Midlands Ambulances convey 2800 FAST+ve patients to our hospitals and we care for 1207 people with a stroke across our three hospitals

We are currently improving our services by creating a new purpose built Hyperacute Stroke Unit (HASU) on the Heartlands site, and Acute Stroke Units (ASU) at both Good Hope and Solihull Hospitals

A HASU provides specialist stroke care in the first 72 hours after the stroke and the ASU takes patients for repatriation after this. This repatriation of patients back to their local hospital will be a key part of our  new process, if the service is to work smoothly and we are to manage within the planned capacity

Our changes will form part of the soon to be announced West Midlands model for stroke care, that will be based on the changes made in London in 2010


These are really exciting changes, which will mirror for stroke the service changes made for patients with heart attacks some years ago. With over 400 lives saved in London since 2010, these are really worthwhile developments


Leading the way with sepsis awareness


One of our consultants, Dr Ron Daniels, along with survivors and hospital staff colleagues, cycled from Good Hope Hospital to Westminster to help raise awareness of sepsis. Ron has done a huge amount to raise awareness about this condition, and to provide practical guidance on the care and treatment of this life threatening illness

In the run-up to World Sepsis Day on September 13, the Cycle for Sepsis campaigners hosted a Parliamentary Reception with government officials and the Royal Colleges to share experiences and highlight key symptoms which can go undetected. Around 37,000 people die in the UK as a result of sepsis every year


Cycle for Sepsis (2)


Ron and the UK Sepsis Trust work to ensure as many people as possible know about sepsis (commonly known as blood poisoning). He and his team created the Sepsis Six tool at Good Hope Hospital in 2006 – this is now a national standard and patients in our hospital benefit from the expertise that has been built up


Ron is a great example of what a determined individual can achieve. You can find out about World Sepsis Day here


How are our staff feeling?


Having put enormous effort into engaging with our patients and public, and seeking their feedback through a variety of channels, it is time now to put the same emphasis on our staff. With the Staff Survey only occurring annually, we need to do more to understand in ‘real time’ how our staff are feeling

There are huge workload pressures on our staff currently, along with unprecedented scrutiny in the media of the work that they do. So it is more important than ever that we monitor and react to their views and needs, particularly as we know that staff morale is one determinant of the quality of care that is delivered

We’ve just had the responses back from the first of our new quarterly staff surveys. At last week’s Management Board, we talked at length about the feedback, some of which was salutary. The high response rate was encouraging, but we clearly have much to do. We took the decision to widely circulate all the free text comments, around 2000 in total, and they have been quite a talking point

Our new staff engagement group is picking up the main issues, and helping us to respond. It will be crucial that we respond specifically and speedily if we are to maintain the level of interest we have now, and this group will work with us on a range of new initiatives

On a related note, I put out a message about raising concerns with last month’s pay slips, and I have been really heartened by the response. I have had three meetings with staff or individuals who have made contact as a direct result of this, with a couple more to come in the next week or so


With all this in mind, I have chosen to invite all staff to complete the NHS National Staff Survey this year, rather than just a sample. I hope we will get a good response rate to this when questionnaires arrive from October 6th


Raising awareness of equality and diversity


We held an equality and diversity event at Heartlands last week – the only one to be held outside London in support of the Chief Nurse’s 6 C’s campaign

There were many enlightening speakers. The launch of our cultural ambassador’s programme on October 1 was previewed, and Professor Laura Serrant, a non-executive director of the Trust, spoke on the topic of ‘equal chance for patients and staff’. Zafar Dadd, an advocate from our local community, talked as a Muslim of his personal experience when he had a death in the family and the body could not be released for burial

Dr Dawn Chaplin, Head of Bereavement Services, then took guests through our partnership work with a community group, which had built trust and developed a DVD which provides vital information to guide staff and relatives when someone passes away in hospital


It was a fantastic evening and a real chance to showcase our commitment to equality and diversity in every aspect of our work


Coming up!


The launch of our public consultation on specialist surgery changes, new work on our ED ad ‘front door’ emergency services, and our annual Staff Recognition Awards will all feature in my next few blogs




Do visit our Health Blog Round Up here – it is updated weekly and collects a wide variety of health and healthcare related blogs!