Getting to Know You

Meetings and Greetings

One of the most enjoyable aspects of joining any new organisation is that it provides an opportunity to get to know new people, new colleagues and new partners – at all levels.

A good part of the week was spent with me having one-to-ones with our Board, both my fellow Executive Team members and our Non-Executive Directors. It was fascinating and encouraging to hear their ideas, perspectives and insights. The latest CQC inspection had commented on the quality of our leadership team and Board, and I can see why. 

I also had very productive conversations with the STP Director, Simon Whitehouse, and Marcus Warnes, Accountable Officer for our Commissioners. I’m really keen for Combined to continue to play a full and productive role as a key partner for our local health and care system.

It will take a little while to digest fully everything that I heard, the advice and ideas that came through, including a host of really exciting ideas for how to continue to move Combined Healthcare forward on its journey.

Even more rewarding was the time I spent away from the desk in my office in Lawton House, visiting our frontline staff and teams at Harplands Hospital and other Trust locations. I spent most of Friday there, and it was a sheer pleasure to be able to spend some time on the wards, meeting the people who deliver care that is both compassionate and high quality. Very many thanks to each and every person who made me feel so welcome and at home. 

The week culminated for me in an unveiling ceremony of a fantastic display celebrating the magnificent achievements of our staff and service users. One of the things that particularly attracted me to Combined Healthcare was the visible and evident priority it places on recognising its staff, so it was fabulous to be able to continue in this vein so early on in my time with you all. 

‘Dear Peter’ is Live!

One of the tools valued by our staff has been the Dear Caroline facility. I am keen to see this continue, so I am delighted to let you know that ‘Dear Peter’ is now live – and available at Many thanks to my PA, Mandy, and the Communications Team for putting this in place so quickly.

You can also access Dear Peter from a link on the front page of the Trust Intranet – CAT.

This is a totally anonymous, entirely separate, secure website that allows staff to raise directly to the Chief Executive any concerns they may have about quality or any other related issue in our Trust. You don’t need to give any information about yourself, and you are free to say as much or as little as you are able about your concerns.

You also don’t need to visit the website on Trust premises, you can access it anywhere where there is internet access including your own personal computers or smart phones. Incidentally, if you did want to use a Trust computer you can do that too. We don’t need any details about you, just the concern, so rest assured your anonymity is protected unless you want to tell us who you are.

Of course, this is just one of a range of mechanisms available to raise concerns or ask a question – in particular, I am well aware of the high regard and the high quality of the service provided by our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, Zoe Grant, and our network of F2SU Guardians. I would urge anyone to make use of Zoe and her excellent team.

However, if you wish to use a different option, feel free to ask a question or simply make a suggestion via Dear Peter, which I can assure you is totally confidential and comes straight to me.

Exploring the Wonderful World of Podcasting with ‘Combinations’

As the father of children who have grown up in the world of social media and digital communications, I’m sure I’m not the only one becoming increasingly aware that the ways in which we talk to each other and share stories and experiences is changing exponentially. And that goes for the NHS as well as our personal networks and friendships.

I’m really keen to develop my understanding of social media and have already been having a chat with the Comms Team about putting on some training for myself, our leaders and frontline staff about how to develop our understanding and proficiency in Twitter, Facebook and the like. Watch this space, as I know they’re really keen to do so.

But in the meantime, I’ve been dipping my toe in the water by listening to our new Trust weekly Podcast – ‘Combinations’. If you haven’t given it a try yet, I really suggest you do. In just its first couple of months, it’s already attracted over 700 listens for a whole range of fascinating stories and topics featuring staff and service users talking about their experiences, talents and the care we provide. There simply isn’t anything more powerful or rewarding for the soul than hearing genuine personal perspectives and stories. And it really brings home the sheer quality and compassion of what we do.

We’re fairly certain that Combined Healthcare is the first mental health Trust in the NHS to have created such a high quality and regular weekly service. You can listen to Combinations for free either online or on a smartphone via Or for those you with iTunes, it is available for free subscription and download

And even more excitingly, if YOU or YOUR team have an idea for a topic or service you’d like to be featured on Combinations, the team behind it are really keen to hear it!  You can submit an idea via CAT at

Maria Nelligan to Leave Combined Healthcare

It is with very mixed emotions that I announced last week to staff that Maria Nelligan our Director Nursing and Quality will be leaving the Trust to take up a new opportunity closer to home.

Maria has been appointed as Director of Nursing and Quality at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust which provides Mental Health & Community services across Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside.

Whilst we are very sad to see Maria leave the Trust, we are extremely proud that she has been appointed to the role. This opportunity also allows Maria to continue working in the Mental Health sector of the NHS and support Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust with its improvement and transformation. This also removes the significant commute from Liverpool each day that she has been doing since 2015.

Maria has been an extremely highly valued member of the Trust Board and Executive Team and has made a significant contribution to obtaining our recent Outstanding rating from the CQC.

Although we will greatly miss her, we wish her every success in the future. We won’t be losing her quite yet and I’ll keep you updated with plans for her replacement in due course