CQC Workshops are underway before the Christmas break

There isn’t much time left until CQC will be back with us and preparations are in full swing.


We have now begun our Trust core service workshops, intended to offer reminders of CQC regulations, the assurance required per core service and highlight innovations within the services. These assist frontline staff who are likely to interact with the CQC team during the inspections.

The first ones to take place at Harplands Hospital were an Open Drop-In Session and one for Substance Misuse Services. Further workshops are taking place this week.

We also had a great collaborative session with the Senior Leadership Team, working through the CQC Key Lines of Enquiry and identifying where we think we perform well and where there are opportunities to improve.

Many thanks to all of you for your commitment so far and remember to look our for the latest CQC Update newsletter or go to our dedicated CQC Inspection Home Page on our Intranet (CAT) for all the latest news and a range of support materials and content.


I updated you last week on progress with the CEO post following my departure to Lancashire. I am pleased that the post has now gone to national advert with interviews planned for the 17 January. We will be having an internal and external stakeholder panel alongside the interview panel. It is essential that we get involvement from our staff including staff side, service users and carers and our partners. I will keep you updated.


I was pleased to attend the latest meeting of the Stoke-on-Trent Health & Wellbeing Board last Thursday. It was great to be able to celebrate the really positive CQC system review outcome. The initial report, which is subject to factual accuracy, recognised the excellent progress that has being achieved – well done and thank you to everyone.

There was also discussion about the really great system working supporting the high use of monkey dust in Stoke. This has resulted in partners from UHNM, GP Federation, the Council, the police and Combined working collaboratively and being very responsive so again thank you particularly to our substance misuse teams.


The work of the STP Mental Health workstream continues to progress and I was pleased to chair the latest Programme Board meeting last week. There is really good progress being made and thank you particularly to Jonathan O’Brien for his leadership as Programme Director. There was overwhelming positive feedback about the zero suicide conference and great that we now have a charter. More work needs to happen to support people with a learning disability and we have elevated the workstream to be one of our priorities. We were delighted to have been successful in gaining funding for our urgent care workstream and pleased that we will have crisis cafes across Staffordshire and more support for people needing an urgent detoxification.


In our latest round of Directors’ visits to frontline teams, Maria Nelligan Director of Nursing, visited Dragon Square and met with the CAMHS LD and ASD team and heard about the great work they are doing to support young people.

There are challenges and the teams are reviewing how we can also work with in conjunction with our local partners in the future. Maria reported that she had a pleasant visit to the new custom-build garden area at the Short Breaks Service, which has been recently opened to the young people.

Well done to everyone for their continuing hard work and delivery.


Regular readers of my blog will know of the pride and importance we attach to our relationship with Keele University. We are proud to be able to call ourselves a Keele University teaching Trust.

In this vein, it was great to be able to welcome 25 new graduates from Keele University, who have started their preceptorship programme with us. The programme will include masterclasses, action learning sets and rotation across specialties.

We continue to work with our second and third year programme and look forward to them joining us next year.


Many congratulations to Julie Anne Murray and Ann Cox who travelled to London last week to receive Florence Nightingale Fellowships.

Julie Anne received a Leadership Fellowship, set up to create opportunities for scholars to explore and discover their own leadership style and develop the essential skills to be a courageous and confident leader. Ann received a Research Fellowship, which is a further example of our strength in research at Combined.

Well done to both!


We have continued to make appointments to posts as a result of our Locality Restructure. I am pleased to confirm to staff that the following appointments have recently been made:

  • Clinical Lead CAMHS – Ann Cox, Nurse Consultant
  • Clinical Lead Substance Misuse – Dr Derrett Watts, Consultant Psychiatrist
  • Clinical Lead Learning Disabilities – Jacquie Shenton, Nurse Consultant
  • Clinical Lead Older People – Dr Rebecca Chubb, Acting Consultant Psychiatrist
  • Clinical Lead Adult Mental Health – Natalie Larvin, Nurse Consultant
  • Associate Director for Acute & Urgent Care – Nicky Griffiths, Service Manager Staffordshire Moorlands
  • CAMHS IAPT Lead – Valerie Stronach, Service Manager

I wish all of those who have been appointed to these new positions every success in their new and very important posts. Congratulations!


As this is my last blog before Christmas, can I take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for all your hard work and dedication throughout the past year, which has truly been remarkable. The festive system is often a difficult time for people who maybe unwell or alone – a massive thank you to our wonderful staff who are working over the Christmas period supporting people who need it.

Here’s to a fabulous 2019!