Strengthening our Patient Safety Culture

Strengthening our Patient Safety Culture

Everyone knows that in the best organisations, quality and safety go hand in hand.  But making a reality of that doesn't happen by accident.  It has to be consciously planned, organised, monitored and delivered. Last week – the theme for me was reflecting on how we can continue to improve and create even better services for our local communities. I was delighted to start the week having some time with the whole Board over a day and a half learning about how we can build an even stronger patient safety culture.

We were very fortunate to have David Fillingham and his team leading our sessions. Some of you may remember David  – he used to be the Chief Executive of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, led the national Modernisation Agency, Chief Executive of Royal Bolton Hospital, is a fellow of the Kings Fund and is now chief Executive of the Advancing Quality Alliance – a membership organisation that supports improvement. The Academic Health Science Network have commissioned AQUA to strengthen patient safety across organisations and we were lucky enough to participate in the programme. We spent our time reviewing the evidence then thinking through in detail how we could improve reliability across all our services to build the safest mental health and learning disability culture across our organisation.

Some of the real value of the time we spent together was the opportunity to spend some really productive time in brainstorming, bouncing ideas and insights off each other from our various perspectives and teams.  It was a hugely enjoyable and positive and we'll be finalising the ideas we produced and sharing them internally with you all shortly, so we can all have ownership and influence over how we take our quality and safety strategy forward.

We will be asking our service users and carers their views next week at the Open Space Event - details below.  We'll also want to involve staff and teams in the discussions about how to agree and then implement the new way forward.

So, watch this space - we'll be coming to you soon to harness your own ideas...

Open Space Event for service users and carers on 29 March

As part of our commitment to developing how we engage, we are hosting an Open Space Event for service users and carers to tell us how we can improve the quality of our services and more effectively involve them and their families. We are hoping as many service users and carers as possible will be able to attend the event on Wednesday 29 March at Port Vale FC from 9.30am-4pm.

I would be really grateful if you could encourage patients, service users and carers who would like to get involved in various ways with the Trust to come along and, if necessary, support them to attend the event. In order to ensure everyone who attends receives a free lunch and refreshments, we are asking that people please register their attendance by texting their name or calling 07718 971123 or emailing

 Andrew Hughes appointed as interim Director of Strategy and Development

I am delighted to announce that Andrew Hughes has been appointed jointly by ourselves and North Staffordshire GP Federation as Director of Strategy and Development. Andrew previously served as our interim Director of Strategy and Development prior to Tom Thornber’s appointment.

This is a fixed term post beginning this week and running until the end of the year. This joint appointment is a demonstration of the partnership being developed between the Federation and Combined as part of a wider strategy to transform and develop integrated and partnership working between providers of primary care, community and hospital services - from GP practices and staff working in the community to clinicians on hospital wards - throughout North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Andrew is someone who has been a hugely valued colleague in the past, providing expert advice and support and helping develop and deliver a fabulous vision for both the Trust and the Federation and the service they provide.

Regional and National Updates

On Wednesday last week I attended a Chief Executive meeting in Leicester for all CEOs across West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England. I was delighted when North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare was one of 2 Trusts highlighted nationally by NHS Improvement for their significant improvement measured by the CQC. This was a great accolade to you all for the fantastic care you are providing day in and day out. It was also positive that a key focus of the day was on Mental Health. NHSI announced their plans to build more knowledge and expertise on mental health within their organisation recognising the significant national priority that Mental Health is becoming. This can only be good news for our local communities.

On Thursday I was in london attending with colleagues the NHS Confederation national mental health conference. Clare Murdoch the national mental health director gave an excellent update on the investment planned for mental health through the five year forward view. Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State shared that Mental Health was a significant priority for the Prime Minister. One of the headline messages from him was that 2017/18 is going to be a year prioritising Children and young people’s mental health. A green paper is planned with a particular focus on prevention. I really welcome this. Whilst we have had investment into CAMHs services – we need to see more to be able to radically reshape local services to ensure children are given the support they need as early in life as possible.

Staff Friends and Family Test

Every three months we ask staff to make their voice heard by completing the Staff Friends and Family Test. This short, but important online survey provides a temperature check that gauges how staff are feeling.

We use the results to identify areas for improvement and develop tailored development action plans in partnership with Staff Side. The survey will close on Friday 31 March and can be completed via this link so please do get involved.

Raising our Service Excellence (ROSE)

Throughout our ROSE engagement journey, we have been asking staff to fill out a quiz asking how much they know about our new electronic patient record to win a £10 gift voucher.

With less than eight weeks left to go until go live on 13 May, we are pleased to announce our winners (vouchers will be given to relevant Heads of Directorate to present to winning staff):

  • Anna Frary – Ward 3, Harplands
  • Wendy Stubbs - Central Referral Hub, CAMHS
  • Nena Williams – CMHT City, NOAP
  • Claire Ault - Pharmacy
  • Helen Snow –CMHT (County)
  • Karen Timmis – Mental Health Law Team
  • Steven Proffitt – Early Intervention Team

Thank you to everyone who has completed their ROSE e-learning and face-to-face training. The countdown to ROSE day on 13 May is drawing nearer so if you have not yet booked your training please do so here.

Nutrition and Hydration Week celebrated by staff and teams

Thank you to all staff who took a break and got involved with the events held to promote Nutrition and Hydration Week.

Ward 7 at Harplands held an afternoon tea party on Tuesday inviting patients from other wards and this was followed on Wednesday with a host of events, starting at the ECT suite at Harplands where a ‘pop up’ café offered free hot drinks or a bottle of water to promote the importance of staying hydrated.

There was also the opportunity to enter a healthy eating quiz and our dietitians answered queries on diet and nutrition. A healthy bingo session was held on Ward 5, while a taste testing of the Harplands Hospital menu took place outside Level One café.

Summers View also hosted a ‘Come Dine with Me’-style lunch for service users. Fruit smoothies were served for patients on Ward 6 on Thursday, while Florence House held a tea party on Friday.

Long Service Awards

I had a lovely end to the week participating in our Long Service Awards, held in the Boardroom at Lawton House. Our Chair David Rogers and I were delighted and humbled to present certificates to staff from across the Trust who have given 20, 25, 30, 35 and an incredible 40 years of dedicated service to the NHS.

We held a tea party to celebrate and thank each and every member of staff whose loyal service both to Combined and the NHS in general is a real source of inspiration. The event was recorded and you can see a lovely summary film of the event via our YouTube page here.