National recognition for our Diversity and Inclusion work

Delivered by Suzanne Robinson, Director of Finance, Performance and Digital

It's a real pleasure to be asked to be the guest provider of this week's CEO Blog whilst Caroline has been on annual leave.  

And it's even more of a pleasure to be able to tell you about a whole host of great things that have been going on in just the past week alone – involving our frontline staff and supported by my fellow Exec Members and Directors!

National recognition for our Diversity and Inclusion work

We've had not one - but two - national recognitions this week for the Trust's fabulous work on Diversity and Inclusion. And it's involved our Diversity and Inclusion Lead, Lesley Faux, criss-crossing the country, ably assisted by our staff side Chair, Jenny Harvey.

On Wednesday, Lesley was at an event in the House of Lords, organised by the Employers' Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENIE). ENIE is the UK's leading employer network promoting equality and inclusion in the workplace. And we were proud to be invited to attend and fly the flag for all the work we are doing to promote equality and inclusion in our own Trust and across the NHS.

With little more than a night's sleep, Lesley was with the NHS Employers organisation in Leeds the next day to present our Symphony of Hidden Voices. We're really proud of the work we've done through the Symphony - a series of events, activities and online places where hidden voices with perspectives on mental health care can find and engage with each other. As many of you will know, it was created initially at an event at Port Vale Football Club in June. NHS Employers got in touch with us shortly afterwards to say how impressed they were and invited us to show what we're doing to their Diversity and Inclusion Partners Programme.

Winner of the Festival of Learning Tutor Award

Our very own Christine Malbon is celebrating after being announced as the regional winner of the Festival of Learning Tutor award from the Learning and Work Institute, an independent policy and research organisation dedicated to lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion. 

Christine, a STR Worker for the Trust, won the Central region award for her exceptional achievements in adult education. The award recognises those who have supported learners to go on and lead successful and rewarding lives.

Originally working in catering at Combined Healthcare, Christine was given the opportunity to become a support worker where she was to discover that her true calling was in teaching.

To become a support worker, Christine needed to re-train and completed a Level 3 Community Mental Health Care certificate. She also began to give advice and support to fellow learners who had low confidence levels, helping them achieve success. Her calm, reassuring and confident approach was noticed and she soon began to teach the Community Mental Health Care certificate. She has now started her own journey delivering education programmes for health care support workers.

Christine discusses her thoughts on learning: “It is never too late to achieve; everyone regardless of age, ability or disability has the right to study, learn and achieve.”

Christine’s nominator Julie Richardson, Residential and Resettlement Coordinator, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, states: “Christine is committed to her work, extremely knowledgeable of her subject and passionate about recovery in mental health. It is these values that come shining through when she is delivering the training.”

Leading with Compassion scheme makes the final in the Kate Granger Awards

The Leading with Compassion scheme, which we lead across the region, made it into the last three finalists' slot in the Kate Granger Awards for Compassionate Care, presented this week at the NHS EXPO in Manchester. Our Chair, David Rogers and Director of Workforce and Leadership, Paul Draycott accompanied Laura Rogers to the event and it was a great occasion to celebrate. The scheme has been rolled out across 11 NHS organisations in the region. To date, more than 500 Combined staff have been recognised and received a personalised badge and card recognising the impact they have made.

Kate Granger, who sadly passed away in 2016, worked tirelessly to raise awareness around compassion in the NHS through her #hellomynameis social media campaign and the awards continue this inspiring work.  You can make a Leading with Compassion nomination at

Visit to Harplands Hospital by Police and Crime Commissioner

We were delighted to welcome Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, to Harplands Hospital to meet with our staff and directors and discuss the importance of working together in partnership to protect and keep safe the most vulnerable within our communities. Matthew heard from Ward 1 Manager Maxine Tilstone and Ward 3 Manager Laura Jones, as well as members of our Community Triage Team. He also saw progress on the building of our new Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. This a project that I've been personally involved with as have many across the Trust and it’s great that this brand new facility will be available in North Staffordshire in 2018.

Grand launch and garden party for the Tony Scott New Beginnings Garden

Our Chair, David Rogers rounded off a fantastic week by attending the grand launch and garden party for the Tony Scott New Beginnings Garden. The Garden is simply beautiful and has been funded by £12,000 from Tesco Bags of Help! It's a pleasant and calm place for patients, visitors and staff to sit, contemplate, meet and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. A key feature in the garden is our Peace Pole which conveys a message of peace in the four most spoken languages in Stoke-on-Trent – English, Punjabi, Urdu and Polish. If you haven't had a chance yet, and you're near the garden in future, it’s a great place to spend a tranquil 20 mins with a sandwich and cup of tea!

Winter is coming…

It’s no surprise we're fast approaching one of the most challenging times of the year for the NHS. A large part of my time this week, together with other executive colleagues, has been spent working with our partner organisations across the patch to ensure we're as ready as possible, and supporting one another to rise to what could be a particularly difficult winter period. We're working hard to do everything we can to support service users through the winter period, making sure time spent in the hospital setting, whether that is here or at UHNM, or in the community is the best and most effective it can be; it’s important that the whole health system works together as winter approaches and we recognise we have a key role in this. Ward 4 is working towards opening up some further capacity over the coming week which will help in this…

Thanks for reading…