Symphony of Hidden Voices Inclusion Conference

Hi all

It's been a week of discussing with our Board and our staff our plans for the future.  The result of the General Election means that we will have both continuity as a result of the current Secretary of State retaining his position, coupled with a little uncertainty as we all learn what impact the new arrangements in Parliament might have on plans for the NHS.​We're in the fortunate position of having a clear vision of what we want to achieve locally, with the support of our local doctors and health and care colleagues via the North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent MCP Alliance Board and the North Staffordshire GP Federation. We're proud of this bold initiative - drawing together leaders of hospital services, community services, GP practices and local government - to bring about radical improvements and new partnerships that deliver the best possible services to patients and their families. We're also proud that patients, service users and the voluntary sector will have a powerful voice and influence over the decisions taken by the new body.

The latest meeting of our Leadership Academy on Wednesday gave everyone the opportunity to learn and discuss what an MCP means and how it could work.

I'm really keen for everyone across Combined to feel involved and engaged in how we shape our future and deliver a transformation for our local communities, service users and their families.

Engagement visit to Edward Myers Unit

As part of the monthly Executive team visits, I was really pleased to visit the Edward Myers Unit. It was great to meet such a committed and enthusiastic team. I was particularly pleased that three members of the service user New Beginnings Group joined us. They were full of ideas for how we could continually improve things.

LGBT Focus Group

Thank you to everyone who attended our first LGBT Focus Group on Wednesday. We held two sessions, one for service users and another for staff; both of which were facilitated by our special guest, Abby Crawford from Stonewall.

Feedback from the sessions has been very positive and there is a real sense of optimism as we move forward in this important area. Among those who attended was Julie Brookes, Unison LGBT Members Representative, who praised the welcoming, relaxed and informative nature of the sessions. Julie was particularly impressed with the input from those from outside the NHS who came along, with discussions on the day providing helpful suggestions on the ways in which we can improve.

This is a really good first step and I am delighted we will also be holding a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Focus Group on 2 August. More details about this session will be provided soon.

REACH Individual Award presentation and retirements

At our latest Trust Board meeting on Thursday, we were delighted to present the latest REACH Team award to the Children’s Community Learning Disabilities Team.

They are a skilled and experienced team dealing with the many demands placed upon them. They have adapted to working within a new directorate, with a new manager and have implemented many new ways of working to manage the significant demand on the service.

The team fulfil many roles, with the largest part of their work focusing on the assessment and treatment of a young person’s developmental and behavioural needs. They also promote healthy lifestyles and work closely with special schools and mainstream services providing support to charitable organisations such as Caudwell Children. They not only understand and meet the physical and emotional needs of the children they work with, but also provide support for parents who often have significant emotional challenges to overcome. This is done with patience, sensitivity and great compassion.

We also presented a certificate of thanks to Ron Edwards, Intermediate Support, Time and Recovery Worker at the Kniveden Partnership, who is sadly retiring from the Trust after an incredible 46 years of service! Over the years Ron has received numerous accolades from both his peers and service users and in 2003 and 2009 was awarded the Chairman’s Individual Award. He is the ultimate professional and a great friend to all.

Other staff retiring from the Trust include Imogen Hutchinson, Occupational Therapist, Jayne Cartlidge, Staff Nurse, Susan Whitehurst, Community Nurse, Healthcare Support Workers Lynette Mills and Maurice Curwen, and Julie Farrar, RAID Team Lead.

Sharing the successes of our Psychological Services

We saw a great turnout at our second Psychological Services Open Day on Friday - thank you to everyone who was able to make it on the day. Our Medical Director Dr Buki Adeyemo and Acting Director of Operations Nasreen Fazal-Short opened the event, which featured a packed day full of talks and presentations from many of our directorates on the many Psychological services we provide at Combined. Staff were also on hand by their stalls to chat to visitors about how they support our patients and service users. Well done to everyone who helped to organise such a successful open day!


Symphony of Hidden Voices Inclusion Conference

June is an exciting and busy month for Trust events, with the latest in our nationally-renowned Neuropsychiatry conferences taking place on Tuesday 27 June, which will this year focus on Huntington's disease; while our first Integrated Psychiatry conference is happening on Thursday 29 June, aimed at local GPs, psychiatrists and trainees.


On Friday 30 June we will also be hosting our first Inclusion Conference, called Symphony for Hidden Voices at Port Vale Football Club. I really hope that each team is represented at the event, which seeks to share stories from a range of people whose lives have been shaped in different ways by their experiences of both inclusion and exclusion. To register your attendance at the event, please follow this Eventbrite link.