Coming to terms with the events in Manchester

Events in Manchester

Like most of you, the events in Manchester last week affected me deeply. No words can express sympathy or sorrow enough for those caught up in those terrible events and I know that some of our own staff were directly affected. The worst of times can also bring out the best in us - it was heart warming to see how so many people offered to help in so many different ways. The vigil that was held the day after the tragic event was a tribute to Manchester. The responses from the NHS made me feel really very proud and was a stark reminder to why I joined the NHS. Manchester was my home for most of my childhood and the place where I trained as a nurse. It is really important that we act with compassion in supporting our own staff which is why in the immediate aftermath, we circulated to all our staff a note from our Staff Support and Counselling Service manager, Jan Summerfield.

Jan wished everyone to be aware that tragic events such as the terrorist incident at the Manchester Arena last Monday night are upsetting for everyone; from those involved, to those witnessing and responding and those that hear the news through the media coverage. The emotions that can be aroused can feel overwhelming and are individual to each person as we come to terms with the loss, shock, horror and facts of the event. It may feel that some of the reactions you are experiencing are not what you expected and they can be lingering. However, please remember the reactions we may be experiencing in these early days are normal reactions to the abnormal event that we have had to come to terms with. We may experience over the next few days or even weeks shock, disbelief and fear and may also find that your thoughts dwell on the situation and the horror of the events. Although uncomfortable, these are the normal reactions we experience as we come to terms with the loss, shock and horror. The fact that children have been involved may also affect our need to want to be with our children more and to temporarily want to ensure they are safe and close. Again all these reactions are normal.

On a personal level, I had much of the week taken with supporting my stepdad as he became very unwell suddenly. I needed to travel to Wales to support my mum and help him get the care he needed. He is now in hospital but still doesn't have a diagnosis. Whilst the staff demonstrated care and compassion it was a stark reminder of why the NHS needs to work over seven days as he has had to wait from Friday to Tuesday to continue his much needed diagnostic interventions due to the bank holiday. I am so grateful to my team for showing such support and compassion to me - when the chips are down it matters so much the support we receive - thanks super Exec team and Chairman!!

Trust represented at the HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards

I was delighted last week that we had two teams invited to the national HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards. Our learning disabilities services was a finalist in the Community Healthcare Service Redesign Award and the Healthy Minds IAPT Team were shortlisted in the Improving the value of Primary Care Service Award. Although on this occasion, we didn't land the first prize, it's a real tribute to the quality of our people and our partners that we continue to gain national recognition for the work we do.

Towards Outstanding Engagement staff survey

Our staff have received a link to our Towards Outstanding Engagement survey, enabling them to share how they feel about working for Combined. The results will enable us to better understand what works well and what could be improved, helping us all to deliver the best outcomes for patients and making Combined a place where we all enjoy coming to work.

Julie Anne Murray appointed as Acting Deputy Director of Nursing & Quality

Following the appointment of Carol Sylvester as Interim Clinical Director for Adult Mental Health Inpatient services from Tuesday 30 May, I am delighted that Julie Anne Murray, our Head of Nursing & Professional Practice will be Acting Deputy Director of Nursing & Quality. Julie Anne is a highly respected senior nurse and I am sure you will join be in wishing her well in this developmental role.

Combined nursing badge competition and What Matters to You Day on 6 June

It has come to light that many of our nurses never received a nursing badge on completion of their nurse training. To address this, Maria Nelligan, our Executive Director of Nursing and Quality, has launched a competition for a Combined Healthcare Nursing Badge to be designed. We look forward to receiving the entries.

At our recent Celebrating and Nurturing Nursing Excellence conference, we issued teams with Pledge Tree posters and have been encouraging staff to make individual pledges of care. We are hoping as many staff as possible will be sharing their pledges on Tuesday 6 June for What Matters to You Day, which aims to encourage and support more meaningful conversations between those who provide and receive care. We will be setting up a stand in Harplands on the day between 12-3pm and are hoping to include as many pictures as possible of staff with their pledges. Staff have been encouraged to share what they will be doing on the day via Twitter using the hashtag #WMTY17 and including the Trust’s Twitter account - @CombinedNHS – in their tweet so we can promote what they are doing.

Raising our Service Excellence (ROSE) update

Thank you again to everyone who helped to make our ROSE go live such a success. The ROSE project team has been working on ironing out some teething problems with regards to a number of documents and appointments not having been transferred to the new electronic patient record. Although some have reported experiencing issues with Smartcards or their devices not working properly, on the whole most staff have been able to access the system and get started. Our Super Users and floorwalkers have been doing a great job in supporting staff as and when required and more support is being provided to help staff better understand how to use the system to support they way their teams work.

Psychological Services Open Day on 9 June

Following the success of last year’s Open Day for Psychological Services, another drop-in event is being held on Friday 9 June from 9am-5pm at North Staffs Medical Institute, in Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 7NY. Everyone is welcome including staff, service users, carers, commissioners and GPs and there will be talks throughout the day from psychologists and therapists about the services we offer throughout the Trust to support people with their psychological care. As this is a drop-in event, no booking is required. Refreshments will be provided and for more information and the event programme, contact Jane Callear at or Christina Twomlow at