Services and initiatives shortlisted for HSJ Value Awards

Beating 'the beast'!

What an extraordinary week, that was!  The so-called ‘Beast from the East’ brought incredible weather conditions across England, with snow and blizzards creating immense challenges to everyone looking to provide public services. Driving in from Shropshire, I can tell you, was quite an experience!

Our fantastic staff did what they do every time they face a challenge. They rose to it and went the extra mile, and then another mile after that, to make sure that patients got the care and support they need.

I was so thankful and impressed to hear about staff coming in to do extra shifts, or changing their working patterns, to help out each other colleagues and to continue to deliver great care. Some colleagues even came in on their day off, stayed over with other staff to enable them to get to work without even being asked - and many walked in if they couldn't drive. Other people also helped transport staff to work.

It all added up to another fabulous example of how brilliant our staff are.  I cannot tell you enough how much they are appreciated by me, colleagues and – most importantly – service users and carers. It really was a case of 'The Best' beating 'The Beast'! Thank you also to the Incident Control team, who coordinated planning for the impact of the severe cold weather on our services and staff.

Services and initiatives shortlisted for HSJ Value Awards

Congratulations to the Combined Healthcare services and initiatives that have been shortlisted in the 2018 HSJ Value Awards. The Trust has been chosen as a finalist in no less than four awards for the prestigious national awards! Our innovative Valuemakers programme will be representing Combined in the Improving Value through Innovative Financial Management or Procurement category.

In the Mental Health category our fantastic CAMHS in Schools team has been shortlisted, as has the Meir Partnership Care Hub service we provide with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and a number of other partners. We have also been nominated in the Pharmacy and Medicine’s Optimisation category for medication reduction in a learning disability inpatient service.

Each of the teams will now have to go and present to a panel of judges before finding out if they are the national winners at the award ceremony on Thursday 7 June when the awards are held in Manchester.

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) gathers pace

Progress on implementation of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent STP gathers pace.  I spent a productive day with STP Chairman Sir Neil McKay and the STP team last week being held to account for the three STP workstreams I am the senior responsible officer (SRO) for. The quarterly meetings are really helpful in having discussions about our strategy and ambition.

On the mental health workstream we agreed we would set a Staffordshire-wide ambition for zero tolerance to suicides. As a mental health trust there is lots we can do and are doing to reduce suicides, but to have an even bigger impact we need to have wider partners involved including the public, private and voluntary sector and our wider communities.

Let me know any thoughts and views you may have.

Being open 

A number of Executive Directors, managers and some staff met together last week to consider how we can improve our culture to be more open and enable everyone to speak out if they have experiences that are less than satisfactory. Whilst we were discussing a particular issue we very much focused on how we can improve our culture even more. We already have Dear Caroline and our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian and we thought there is more we could do at a service level to maximise learning from these. We also discussed how we could embed our values and behaviours more across the trust and thought a simple 360 process to receive feedback would be helpful. I would welcome again anybody’s views on this.


Our CQC action plans are due back this week so we have been continuing to focus on a few areas where we know we have more to do to reach our ambition to become ‘Outstanding’.