Setting ourselves improvement goals for the year ahead

Hi all

A very happy new year to everyone. I hope that everyone had some time over the festive period to spend with friends and family – again a very big thank you to those staff who worked especially on the bank holidays; it is their commitment and compassion that makes Combined a great place to work and to be a service user.

The start of a new year is an opportunity for us all to reflect on what went well last year and set ourselves improvement goals for the new year ahead.

It is fantastic to be starting 2017 with a draft ‘GOOD’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – really well done again to all of our staff, they should rightly feel very proud. Not only have we achieved GOOD, but delivered a strong GOOD – what an achievement!

Every directorate is now working on checking their CQC reports for factual accuracy and these will be returned to the CQC by next Monday (16 January).

The CQC will then have an internal process to decide if they accept any issues we raise with the reports before responding to us. We expect to be able to publish the final reports in February and also to hold a Quality Summit where our partners and regulators will join us and the CQC in sharing the report and any action plans we need to develop for our journey towards becoming ‘Outstanding’!

Another amazing achievement of 2016 saw us achieve our flu vaccination target of over 75% of frontline staff being vaccinated. A big thank you to our Director of Nursing & Quality Maria Nelligan, Deputy Director of Nursing & Quality Carol Sylvester, our peer vaccinators and every individual member of staff who decided to become an #NSCHTflufighter and take responsibility for getting vaccinated and demonstrating our Trust value of ‘Responsibility’.

We held a ‘deep dive’ last week into how each of the clinical directorates were getting on with their plans to introduce our new Raising our Service Excellence (ROSE) electronic patient record (EPR) in May this year. This is our next big priority that we need to focus on.

Although there are some key risks in introducing a new EPR it is fantastic that Combined has received a multi-million pound investment to support it which will benefit our service users, carers, staff and partners. Our directorates are making good progress but have more to do.

One of the priorities is ensuring that everyone who requires access to clinical information feels confident using a computer and understands how to use ROSE. We are now in the last 120 days before we go live with the new system. At our deep dive, there was a high level of confidence from directorates that we are in a good position as an organisation to make the very best of the new system and achieve the objectives of our ROSE programme. I was struck down with a post-Christmas illness last week so was bed bound for a couple of days which I find frustrating.

After a restful weekend I feel much better today and optimistic about the opportunities and challenges ahead. I was pleased at the end of the week to be able to meet with a mentee to support her on her leadership journey. I really believe in both providing and receiving mentorship – it gives an opportunity for reflection, learning and development.

If you haven’t got a mentor or aren’t providing mentorship maybe that could be a 2017 ambition; it’s free and often helps others as well as yourself!

Till next week…​

About the author

Welcome to my blog.

My name is Caroline Donovan and I am the Chief Executive of North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust.

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