Being open and hearing the patient voice


Hi all...

The news that all of our services have been rated by CQC as either Good or Outstanding has really attracted attention.  Over the past week, we’ve had lots of people and organisations - in particular across social media  - welcoming and spreading the news - including from local Healthwatch, the STP and NHS Providers to all of their Twitter followers. 

At a meeting I attended of STP leaders, our news and achievement was singled out for praise. It’s great to see that our staff are getting recognition for their achievements and it’s great to be able to fly the flag not only for our individual Trust, but for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

​But it’s equally important that we don’t fall into the temptation to rest on our laurels or think that our continuing journey of improvement towards outstanding has been achieved.  

Fortunately, there was plenty of evidence from meetings and activities I attended last week that suggest that’s not going to be the case.

Celebrating and thanking our staff

I mentioned last week that we would let you have further details of a celebration event we intend to put on to thank our staff and recognise their achievement.  

I can now let you know that it will take place on Monday 19th March.  We’re working out the final details, but our intention is that the main location will be Harplands Hospital, starting at 12.30pm and lasting around 90 minutes.

We’ll also be holding simultaneous celebrations at either Florence House or Summers View and at Dragon Square - this is in recognition of the superb job that these core services have done at Florence House and Summers View to get an overall rating of Outstanding and CAMHS Community being rated Good for all of their 5 domains. This isn’t to underplay the fantastic role that everyone has played in contributing to our overall success. 

We will also be launching a celebration film at the event, featuring a selection of our staff talking about what they have achieved.  

It will be first come, first served for places, but we will also be live-streaming the event on social media and the web for those unable to attend.  This will include live broadcasts from all three locations.  It should be a great event.

North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Alliance hears about our moves to locality working

The latest meeting of the North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Alliance Board took place on Wednesday and it was, yet again, a packed attendance and a packed agenda.  The model we have been supporting and promoting over a considerable period of time - of partnership working between health and care organisations, alongside colleagues from the voluntary and third sectors,through Alliance Boards - has now been adopted by the STP as a model for the whole of Staffordshire  and the Northern Alliance is increasingly being seen as the example to follow.

I was able to give an overview to the Alliance Board on our own plans to move towards locality working.  As I promised, we’ve been listening to our colleagues and staff as we develop our approach.  As part of this, we will be introducing our new structures in a phased way, moving to four directorates (Stoke, North Staffordshire, Specialist Services and Urgent Care & Acute Services).  

Being open

As a Trust we are always striving to encourage all of our staff to be open in their views, comfortable about raising any concerns they might have and able to ask any questions either to their manager, through confidential support and counselling services or even ask questions or provide comments direct to myself via our Dear Caroline facility available to all via our Intranet. This is something I really feel passionately about and I cannot stress enough how much we welcome and value feedback and opinions from all of our staff, whether it’s praise, ideas, questions or concerns. This week myself and Carol Sylvester, Acting Director of Operations, appeared on BBC Radio Stoke to talk about our approach and the importance we attach to it. As part of this, we were pleased to be able to highlight the praise we received from CQC in its inspection for our positive and open culture they observed amongst our staff.  

 Trust Board hears patient voice

Continuing the theme of listening, at our Trust Board last week we heard a powerful patient story featuring a video used by Dean Burgess as part of our MAPA (Managing Actual or Potential Aggression) training and featuring Gabrielle, a service user restrained in 2010 whilst on a ward in Harplands.  Gabrielle’s story featured some difficult things to hear about the manner in which she was treated, the attitudes she encountered and how it made her feel.  Fortunately, she and us have been able to turn what was a painful experience for her into something positive, as she has been able to work with us to use her story to really bring home as part of our training the importance of treating services users with compassion, empathy and respect.  Gabrielle and Dean also attended the Board meeting to answer any questions the Board had about what they had seen and heard.  It was a really powerful session and really reminded us all that at the heart of everything we do are human beings looking to us for care and compassion.

The Board was also delighted to present an individual REACH Award plus one of our Trust Nursing Badges to Sue Ford.  Sue has done some truly brilliant work leading the development of a new clinical pathway that has successfully tackled waiting lists for assessing young people for attention deficit hyperactive disorder.  It was a pleasure to recognise her achievements and dedication.