Collaborative initiatives make for a busy week at Combined

Last week was a really positive week due to the fantastic care that you deliver day in and day out! As you know, we had the CQC inspecting our core services, and the feedback we’ve had has been really encouraging. But we also saw a number of developments and initiatives which show just how much is going on across Combined Healthcare.


The CQC core service inspections took place as planned, visiting the Access team, Home Treatment, Liaison and Place of Safety. There were also a number of focus groups with lots of our staff which overwhelmingly were positive and some that let the CQC know we still have more to do.

All the hard work and preparations we have put in place over recent weeks and months really bore fruit and the feedback we have had so far has been really positive. So, well done and congratulations to all of our frontline staff and teams for doing yourself and your colleagues justice.

The CQC can still choose to visit any of our core services both this week and next. If they do, we will receive 30 minutes’ notice for in-patient areas and 48 hours’ notice for Community. So we’ll continue to be prepared and ready to show the inspectors all the great work we do.

There are also a number of partner interviews taking place throughout this period including with some of our local MPs.

The last part of the inspection will take place next week, when the CQC carry out their Well-Led Inspection. This involves a presentation from myself next Tuesday, as well as a number of one-to-one interviews with senior management and members of the Board.

I will, of course, update you over the next few weeks on progress towards the publication of the CQC’s final inspection findings and results.


I was really delighted to chair the latest meeting of our Inclusion Council. The energy in the room was really palpable as we heard about all that’s being delivered – from recruitment, to HR policies and appraisal, plans for reverse mentoring and increasing staff confidence in reporting incidents. We also heard about the impact the Stepping Up programme has in building confidence and stories of our BAME staff subsequently getting promotions – well done!

We have created a new dedicated section on the Trust Intranet, where you can keep up to date with all the work of the Council.

Our intention for each Inclusion Council meeting is to choose one topic each time where we can have a more in-depth discussion and for this meeting we chose the topic of micro-aggression.

Micro-aggression is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group. Often it can be subtle, even unconscious on the part of those demonstrating it, but the cumulative effects over time can be to make someone feel devalued, demotivated or lower their confidence or mental wellbeing.

As part of the Council Action Plan, we will be shorty launching an awareness campaign and survey so we can understand the degree to which our staff may be experiencing micro-aggression, to be followed by specific programme to tackle it and support those affected by it.

You can watch a short film featuring two members of the Inclusion Council, Nikita Duncan and Tendai Chirawu, discussing the latest meeting and micro-aggression.


As you may know, one of key initiatives being taken forward this year by our Director of Nursing and Quality, Maria Nelligan, is the creation of our Wellbeing Academy. The Academy will offer, together with our partners, a wide range of courses, workshops and activities to support people to discover interests and develop their skills on their mental health recovery journey.

All of our course facilitators are dedicated to recovery and wellbeing and have a range of personal and/or professional experience in adult education; activities related to mental health recovery or lived experience of mental health issues.

Wellbeing Academy courses will be open to anyone, regardless of their past experience. Everyone is welcome to attend the Wellbeing Academy and we will promote equality & diversity in all of our settings. We hope to support everyone who becomes a student to accomplish their learning and recovery ambitions. We will do this by providing a safe, welcoming and non-judgemental learning environment to help them to get the best out of your experience. Participants don’t need any formal qualifications or experience to attend the college.

Last week saw the internal ‘soft launch’ of the Academy, hosted by our Medical Director, Buki Adeyemo, and it was incredibly well attended by a range of service users and staff.

The Wellbeing Academy is supported by a fantastic new website, where people can get details of courses, book places and learn more about the initiative. You can visit it at  to find out more.



Our programme to become a CAMHS Digital Exemplar continues to go from strength to strength, and as part of this, the digital team, our CAMHS Team and our digital partners DXC, held an engagement session this week with young people at the Watermill School, in Tunstall. This was an opportunity to get feedback and ideas from service users to inform the co-production, co-design and development of a key part of the exemplar project, an Engagement Portal, where young people can go for advice and support.

I’m told that the event was really positive and the feedback from attendees was both enthusiastic and informative. We’ll be releasing details of the portal once it’s ready for launch. In the meantime, congratulations to our Chief Information Officer, Dave Hewitt, our CAMHS teams and all involved in bringing forward this exciting development  .



As some of you may know this week, on Thursday, we have the interviews for the new Chief Executive for Combined Healthcare.

We have had a great field and four people are being interviewed following national recruitment. A strong engaging process has been designed, including an internal stakeholder panel with service users and carers, staff side, clinicians, professional leads, board members; an external interview panel with many of our partners including the STP and Alliance Board members; and a final selection panel chaired by our Chairman with service user, Board and NHSI representation.

We will let you know as soon as possible what the outcome is. I am really hopeful we are going to be able to recruit a values-based leader that I will be able to hand over to.