A positive week across the health and social care system

Last week was a busy and positive week, both within the Trust and across the health and social care system.


The National CQC team visited Stoke-on-Trent last week to review the progress we had made with our system plan. You will recall that, following the review last year of how we were working as a system supporting older people, we had quite a critical report. I agreed to lead the Improvement Plan and was really pleased with the level of commitment to working together across our organisations in order to improve services for our local communities.

At the time, both the city Council and the CCGs were undergoing changes in their leadership structures. Following the appointment of new leaders, including Paul Edmonston-Jones, Director of Social Care, Health Integration & Wellbeing at Stoke-on-Trent Council, and Mark Seaton, the Managing Director for the Stoke and North Staffordshire CCGs, I handed back leadership a couple of months ago. I am delighted that the headline message from the CQC was really positive, recognising the immense amount of improvement that has happened with strong working relationships evidenced. Well done and thank you to everyone who has supported this. For our Trust, Jane Munton-Davies and Andrew Hughes and their teams are to be particularly congratulated for the work they have done.


It was, as usual, another packed agenda for the latest meeting of the Trust Board on Thursday. This month’s meeting was ably chaired by our Vice Chair, Tony Gadsby, as our Chairman, David Rogers, was away helping the CQC reviewing another Trust. I was able to update the Board on a host of developments and news via my CEO Board Report, which will be familiar to regular readers of my blog, including:

  • continuing to build our strategy of Being Open;
  • our Person Centredness Framework;
  • Innovation Nation live;
  • stepping up our BAME Leadership Programme;
  • the continuing development of our Inclusion Council;
  • our work with the Advancing Quality Alliance (AQuA); and
  • the launch of our ROSE Champions.

As normal, a copy of my full Board Report for November can be downloaded from our Trust website here.

Our individual REACH Award went to Adam Chambers. Adam is a nurse in the Prison Healthcare team specialising in Substance Misuse. This clinical role entails assessing prisoners for substance misuse and offering interventions to support withdrawal, harm reduction and abstinence. 

The new integrated Healthcare Team at Stoke Heath offers their patients a new approach to service, where the patient is seen as having multiple needs that the whole team need to address and not as it has been in the past, where each service offered their intervention in isolation. This new way of working will require shared records that are easily accessible and conform to a set of common standards. Adam has commenced an assessment of the current workflows and hardware to support this development across the services. This has not only been praised by NHS England commissioners but has been recognised as a key enabler in offering improved services to patients at Stoke Heath.

We said thanks and congratulations to Dean Burgess on the occasion of his retirement​. Dean began his nursing career in November 1981 when he started work as an ‘NA’ on ward 21 at St. Edwards Hospital. He qualified as a staff nurse in September 1985 and immediately started his new role at Wilkins House, an adult admission ward. His first charge nurse being Patrick Sullivan who is now one of our Non Executive Directors.

Dean can only be described as a constant source of support and advice for staff. He keeps up to date with all matters relating to the reduction of violence and aggression. He is there to support staff who have been verbally or physically assaulted and he is a passionate advocate of patient care and staff support, believing that when staff are supported to do a good job, staff morale and patient care noticeably improve. Fortunately, Dean is not leaving us completely – he aims to continue to work part time in the MAPA training role.

We also watched a fantastic film, featuring the work of our Family Group on Ward 4. The Family Group is a support group set up by staff on Ward 4 who wanted to ensure that family members of patients also received support that they need. Many thanks to Janine Burgess and Clare Moore for coming to support the presentation.

Often, family members will have been or exist to be carers for patients who are staying on the ward. This can take a toll on their own health and wellbeing, whilst they are also managing the difficulties surrounding having their relative or friend in hospital. Whatever their individual circumstances, everyone is welcome and it is a relaxed and informal group. The Family group meets every Monday – tea and cake is available as they chat about their experiences, often sharing tips and strategies ranging from emotional tools to cope with the upsetting nature of dementia, to practical advice on getting prescriptions. Anyone is welcome to come to the group and share their story, or simply listen and feel that they are in a safe space amongst people going through similar experiences.

You can watch the film about the Family Group below.


The latest Board attendee to feature in our flu fighter videos is Jenny Harvey, Chair of our Staff Side. We’re really grateful every year to the support we get from our staff representatives for the flu vaccination programme, and this year is no different.

To do so, simply give our Flu Fighter Team a call on x60122, or email flufightersnscht@combined.nhs.uk and one of the team will come to you!


The week showed our staff survey performance meeting an important milestone as we broke through the 50% response rate overall. There is only one week left to complete the survey, so if you haven’t done so already, PLEASE take the time to give us your views – they really do matter to us and will be acted upon.


Our regular MP meeting went very well last week. We discussed the situation with Monkey Dust and how different organisations across health and social care are working together to address the difficult issues that are affecting our local communities. We discussed the positive development of our new PICU that is now open serving our local population. We also briefed MPs on the collective work we have done in preparing for winter.


On Friday, we had a really positive workshop with leaders and clinicians across the system, focusing on the detail of what we are planning to achieve through our integrated locality working. We are now developing a manifesto that we can all sign up to, which should help align each organisation’s commitment to improving support for local communities through integrated locality team working. Our new structures should really help in facilitating this for our Trust.