What 'Outstanding in all we do' really means to us

Hi all...


Hope you those of you that weren’t working had a good weekend and thank you to those who were working. I spent some time last week supporting my brother who is still struggling with addiction.

He was admitted for an in-patient detox in a crisis into a general hospital - although they were not a specialist unit, they treated him with real kindness and compassion. He is fortunate to have also got into a rehabilitation centre where the pathway is one that includes detox, therapeutic rehab and housing and employment support into the community.

On a personal level it is really difficult to continue to support my brother and have faith that he could sustain his recovery. Supporting my family to not give up is key and also supporting my Mum who recently lost her husband who worries so much about her son – no matter how old he is – he is still her child.

Thinking about the local service offer we have - we don’t have a route in our Trust for people to receive detox support in a crisis – therefore people often have to go to UHNM and are admitted to a medical ward and don’t benefit from the excellent support of our services. This is something we are thinking some more about and discussing the possibilities of expanding our service offer in partnership with UHNM.


Board Development

We had a really  interesting Board development session last week. The morning focused on how we are working as a Board team with the help of our Myers Briggs profiles. We individually completed the Myers Briggs assessment then explored what that may mean for how we work as a team. I am a big supporter of MBTI and have previously been trained to facilitate individuals and groups in deepening their understanding of different personality types.

The more we can understand ourselves and each other – the more effective we can be in encouraging difference and using all the different qualities we have within a team. As an Executive team, for example, we have a dominance of extroversion so we need to be careful that we enable Directors with an Introversion preference to have a voice – my role is key as Chair of our meetings which is more challenging for me being an extrovert making sure that I shut up and enable others to contribute!  


Towards Outstanding in all we do and how we do it - our journey continues

The second part of our development session focused on reviewing our Organisational Development strategy considering how we wanted to strengthen it to align with our ambition "To be outstanding - in all we do and how we do it." When we updated this following the publication of our latest CQC results, we took the opportunity to refresh our supporting statement from "We're on a journey" to "Our journey continues..."

The reason we did this was to emphasise that our ambition of being "Outstanding in all we do" goes beyond simply achieving CQC Outstanding ratings - great as that is and not in any way lessening our admiration for the achievement of our teams in securing them. When we say we want to be Outstanding in all we do, we literally mean "all we do".

Our vision also is designed to emphasise the equal importance we attach to being outstanding:

  • "In all we do".... via our SPAR quality priorities, delivering services that are Safe, Personalised, Accessible and Recovery-focussed; and
  • "how we do it"... via our Proud to CARE values, being Compassionate, Approachable, Responsible and Excellent

We had a great discussion at our Board Development session last week and we thought that one way we can make this even more apparent is to align all of the excellent initiatives underway across the Trust under an overall 'Towards Outstanding" banner.  So for example, over the next few weeks, you will see us begin to talk about:

  • Towards Outstanding People - bringing together our OD, workforce development, skills, recruitment and retention strategies and initiatives
  • Towards Outstanding Engagement - bringing together Listening into Action, GoEngage and engagement strands of our communications activities
  • Towards Outstanding Value - bringing together our fantastic Valuemakers initiative with our cost improvement programme, emphasising all the time our commitment to delivering value, not simply cost cutting
  • Towards Outstanding Ideas - bringing together our fantastic efforts and achievements in research and innovation
  • Towards Outstanding Quality - bringing together our quality and performance strategies
  • Towards Outstanding Partnerships - bringing together our partnership working, our support for the North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Alliance Board.
  • We spent time as a Board particularly discussing how we need to build on the improvement work we have done to date to ensure this spreads and is sustainable. Towards Outstanding Improvement will enable our staff and service users and carers to work together on using common improvement methodologies to improve services to deliver better outcomes. Whilst we have started this journey in partnership with AQUA – we now need to invest in enabling people to be trained and supported to make continual improvements. We already have 2 of our staff who have been trained in advanced improvement skills – Zoe Grant and Jackie Wilshaw – another 5 are imminently starting their training and there will be more to come. We are really keen that we have people trained as part of our new organisational changes so we maximize the potential for transformation and improvement.


REACH Awards - a stunning response!

One of the signs of an outstanding organisation is the support, appreciation and respect its frontline staff have for each other. Our annual REACH Awards is one of the main ways in which we do this - by giving everyone the chance to nominate a colleague for an award.

And this year, I'm delighted to be able to let you know that you've done so in record numbers.  At the close of nominations last week, we had received over 300 nominations - the first time in the Trust's history we've had such a response.

The shortlisting panel were hard at work at the end of the week and I'm looking forward this Tuesday to taking part in the judging panel - it really is one of the highlights of my year each year.

Everyone who has nominated a fellow staff member will be receiving an invitation to the event, so it should be even more packed the rafters than normal. What a great way to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the NHS!


Why not show your support for Stoke Pride 2018?

I'm proud that our Trust is recognised by Stonewall as a Diversity Champion. Representatives of the Trust will be attending Stoke Pride again on Saturday 16 June. This event is a great fun way to raise awareness of mental health and Trust services and about working in the Trust and wider NHS.  The planning team have got lots underway for a visually appealing colourful stall with lots of things to do and take away, including information about Trust services and general mental health and wellbeing. 
The team would be really glad of more volunteers to join them even if only for an hour or two on the day. They are particularly looking for clinical people who can offer support about accessing therapies etc. Last year we were surprised by the number of young people and also parents and carers of young people who came to talk to us often looking for support and information. It would be great to have people with experience of working with young people’s mental health as part of the team on the day. Also if you have any information that you would like shared about Trust services, please send to Lesley Faux.
If you can take part, please contact Lesley Faux, Veronica Emlyn or Stevan Thompson. Or if you are visiting Stoke Pride, which is a really great family event for people of all ages, please stop by and say hello. For more information about the event, go to:

Welcome to Paul Edmondson-Jones

I am really pleased to let you know that following an interview process that I was part of, that Paul Edmondson-Jones has been appointed as the new Director of Social Care, Health Integration and Wellbeing at Stoke-on-Trent City Council.  

Paul, who spent considerable time in the armed forces leading medical operations in the Falklands, Yugoslavia (including Bosnia) and the Gulf wars, also has an MBE. He was responsible for a number of adult social care and public health functions in York, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland Councils. He has also worked extensively in the NHS, contributing to several white papers on public health, pharmacy and health and social care. This is a great appointment for Stoke-on-Trent and I am, alongside many others, very much looking forward to working with Paul.