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Praise from NHS England for our work on Workforce Race Equality

I started the week feeling refreshed after a week's break. It was really nice to have a week off and spend time with my family - I have quite a lot going on at home at the moment with different members of my family needing support. As so much of my life is consumed with my work, I have had to review a little bit how I am spending my time to allocate more time to my family who are needing me. I am sure there are many colleagues who are in a similar position. There is little point in working in the caring profession and sector if we can’t take time to care for our loved ones. This is really important in terms of the culture we want to create across the Trust and part of our values - one of them to be ‘Compassionate’. I would welcome hearing any thoughts and views from anyone with regards to how we are doing as a Trust.

Register now for our AGM on Thursday 10 August

Each year we welcome staff, stakeholders, service users and carers to our Annual General Meeting (AGM) to celebrate our achievements over the previous 12 months and look forward to the year ahead.

This year’s AGM is being held on Thursday 10 August from 12.30pm at The Bridge Centre, in Birches Head Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST2 8DD. A buffet lunch will be served prior to the event getting under way at 1.30pm. The AGM will include short films showcasing our journey of improvement and we will also be unveiling our latest Annual Report and Accounts.

The event will also include a number of stands promoting the work of Trust teams and services. There is still some space left to book a stand, so please contact the Communications team on 0800 032 8728 (ext 2676) or email communications@combined.nhs.uk to make your request (this will be on a first come first served basis due to space restrictions). Please also be sure to book your place by visiting https://tinyurl.com/y9el53ud.

IAPT rates confirmed as best in the country

We’ve known and celebrated for some time that our performance on IAPT - Improving Access to Psychological Therapies - has been impressive. This week we were delighted to have it confirmed by NHS England that our county’s performance is the best in the country.

The IAPT recovery rate in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is 61.2% - the only Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) in England to have achieved over 60%. The figures form part of the first progress dashboards published by NHS England and NHS Improvement for the country’s 44 STPs. That’s great recognition for our IAPT teams. It means that the people who turn to us for help are getting the very best service available anywhere in the NHS. So, well done and congratulations to everyone involved in continuing to deliver this brilliant service - you really do make us proud.

Praise from NHS England for our work on Workforce Race Equality

Our Board was delighted to welcome NHS England’s Yvonne Coghill OBE to the Trust to lead our latest Board Development session on diversity and inclusion. Yvonne is the national lead for workforce race equality across the NHS. The workforce race equality standard (WRES) holds trusts to account for the action they take to ensure employees from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and receive fair treatment in the workplace.

Being aware of race equality applies at all levels and all stages of activity - from recruitment and interviewing through to promotion and leadership. We were extremely heartened to hear from Yvonne that our own Trust Board and Executive team is amongst the leading organisations in the NHS in terms of its diversity. We had a fabulous and thought provoking Board Development session and were very grateful to Yvonne for evoking such emotion across the Board and for the excellent discussion. I am delighted that Yvonne will be returning to the Trust on Wednesday 2 August to lead a focus group on diversity and a session at our Leadership Academy, both at Lawton House. If you are not already involved (the service user/carer focus group takes place between 9.30-10.30am and the staff session will be held from 11am-12pm) and would like to be, please email Lesley Faux at Diversity@northstaffs.nhs.uk or call ext 2814 for the focus group and make the Academy a priority - it promises to be good!

Spending time with our partners

Much of my diary is spent with meeting people outside the Trust and strengthening our partnerships which is a key priority for us. This week, both myself and our Chairman David Rogers met up with Simon Whitehouse, the new STP Director for Staffordshire. We had a really positive meeting and are feeling positive that we will be able to work constructively to improve healthcare for the residents of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. 

I also met with Marcus Warnes, the Accountable Officer for North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) for one of our regular catch ups. Marcus is also the primary care lead for the STP so is key to supporting our work with primary care and the North Staffordshire Alliance. We also discussed how we can continue to invest in mental health services to deliver the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. As we have such financial challenges we need to use the money that is currently being spent on mental health in a different way. This is one of the priorities for the Mental Health STP workstream that I chair. 

I finished the week meeting with Bridget Cameron, Associate Director of Commissioning for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, another important partner for us. We are working very closely with the council in the integration of our locality teams through the multispeciality community provider (MCP) work. The council also has a CQC inspection coming up in September looking at how people living with dementia are supported. We will work closely with the council in preparing for this as it is important we demonstrate good system working. Our memory diagnostic rates being one of the highest in the country is a great example of the work we do across this pathway.

Digital Staffordshire gathering pace

One of the roles I fulfil for the Staffordshire STP is to lead its Digital workstream. As part of this I chaired the latest workstream meeting last week and it’s clear that whilst there is lots we need to do, there is also lots which we can also be proud of, including that we have been awarded national pathfinder for digital skills status for those with long term conditions by the Good Things Foundation.

We now need to look at building our agreements on data sharing, common standards and interoperability and are working with our STP partners to do this. As part of this we are planning a supplier event to bring all our respective suppliers together across Staffordshire to see how we can collaborate in delivering our priorities. The excellent work led by Dr Ruth Chambers on the Technology Enabled Care Systems (TECS) group is really delivering innovation, with trials progressing on GP video consultation and online GP consultations. We are also developing further the role and impact of a Staffordshire Digital Design Authority and an Information Professionals Network, which would be a major boost to the hundreds of our staff who work in IT and information management. All in all, it's a challenging and busy agenda.

New recruitment leaflets and poster produced

One of our main Trust priorities is recruitment of staff and for our workforce and communications teams to come up with new ways of attracting people to join the Trust. As part of our ongoing recruitment campaign, this week the team have produced a new poster and leaflet aimed at nurses who have newly moved in to the area and are looking for a great new job in the NHS. They are in discussions with the city council about using their locations and channels to get the leaflet and posters displayed in areas outside the NHS; for example, libraries or leisure centres. They will also be looking to work with supermarkets and estate agents to see if we can harness their channels. It’s part and parcel of our determination to think ‘outside the box’ in terms of how we attract new and/ or returning staff.

Keep your REACH Award nominations coming in!

Thank you to everyone who has submitted a REACH Award nomination so far – we’re already seeing many great submissions from people who wish to celebrate the contribution made by a colleague, team, service user or volunteer. As a reminder, you can make a nomination online at www.reachawards.org/nscht or download a nomination form here (Word) or here (PDF).

If you’ve downloaded your form, you can either drop it into any of our Trust locations (please mark it ‘REACH Awards 2017 - Communications Team, Lawton House’), email it to communications@combined.nhs.uk or post it to REACH Co-ordinator, Communications Team, Lawton House, Bellringer Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 8HH.