Guest Blog: National Apprenticeship Week and awards triple whammy

I’m your guest blogger, as Caroline was on annual leave last week. It was a week when we celebrated the achievements of our apprenticeships, we received great news in a triple whammy of awards and we dedicated the latest meeting of our Leadership Academy to developing our Directorate business plans for 2019/20.



We are deeply proud of our track record in winning awards and securing nominations as we continue on our journey towards outstanding.

And this week has seen a series of fantastic announcements from healthcare and industry that demonstrates our commitment to continually improve.

This is simply brilliant news. The awards and nominations recognise our achievement and success across a whole range of what we do and who we are. Overall leadership and transformation, front-line teams delivering fantastic and compassionate care and services, and partnerships with health and care colleagues and the private sector.

We simply couldn’t be more proud of you, our members of staff, what you achieve and how you achieve it. Personally, as the Trust’s Medical Director, I am particularly grateful and appreciative of the significant role played by our clinical leadership across the Trust in our improvement journey.

Details of our awards and nominations are below:

Leading Healthcare – Winner – Healthcare Provider of the Year

On 6 March, we won the accolade of Healthcare Provider of the Year in the Leading Healthcare awards. Leading Healthcare is a major news and online content provider for healthcare leaders looking to make an impact to health and care. We were given the award for our fantastic success over the past year in delivering nationally leading transformation and improvement, alongside unparalleled financial performance and value.

HSJ Value in Healthcare Awards – Shortlisted in three categories

Also on 6 March, we received the news that we were shortlisted in no less than three categories in the Health Service Journal Value in Healthcare Awards 2019.

  • Diabetes Care Initiative of the Year – Healthy Minds Integrated Long Term Condition Service
  • Emergency, Urgent and Trauma Care Efficiency Initiative of the Year– All Age Mental Health Liaison Service
  • Improving Value in the Care of Older Patients Award– Rapid Falls Improvement

We were also delighted that the North Staffordshire GP Federation has been shortlisted in the category Primary Care Initiative of the Year for its Staffordshire Physician Associate Primary Care Internship.

Partnerships Awards – Shortlisted for Public Sector Team of the Year

Now in its 21st year, the Partnerships Awards brings together key decision-makers from the public and private sectors to recognise and reward outstanding achievements in public-private partnerships. We were delighted to be shortlisted in 2 categories

  • Public Sector Team of the Year
  • Best Operational Project – Harplands Hospital



The latest meeting of our Leadership Academy focused on the development of our Directorate Plans. It was a hugely enjoyable and productive session – many thanks to Neil Clarke and the OD team for organising and delivering it.

Each Directorate presented their draft plan following a session with colleagues sharing ideas about how the Directorate plans could be further enhanced.

I know just how much hard work and thought is going into developing these plans, and the whole Executive Team are really appreciative of the efforts of everyone in making them the very best they can be.


Caroline mentioned in last week’s blog our week-long celebrations of our apprenticeships was a really fantastic opportunity for us to take stock of our achievements to date, celebrate our successes and look to the future.

We’ve made fantastic progress…tripling our numbers of apprenticeships in just three years, although we still have a little more to do to hit the overall public sector target.

Our Executive Director of Workforce, OD and Inclusion – Linda Holland – hosted our apprenticeships event at Longton Rugby Club – including handing out awards certificates to some of our apprentices.

We held a drop-in session at Harplands Hospital reception to support anyone interested in finding out more about apprenticeships.

And on Wednesday 6 March, the latest episode of our new Podcast – ‘Combinations’ – was a National Apprenticeship week podcast special – featuring some of our apprentices and training providers talking about their success, what apprenticeships have delivered for them and where people can go to find out more. It’s free to listen or download and available at or via iTunes.

For further information about apprenticeships, please contact Carol Bain on ext. 2762 or email








We’re proud of our track record of innovation in digital and social communications and engagement. So we were delighted to be invited last week to showcase some of what we’re doing to the national Communications and Engagement Team at NHS Improvement.

Our Associate Director of Communications, Joe McCrea, demonstrated our use of a powerful social media tool Find SoMeOne in Health to identify and plug gaps in our followers on social media – particularly amongst Seldom Heard groups. This is a key priority for the Comms Team for the coming year.

And we were able to show NHS Improvement our highly innovative ‘Windows on the World’. These bring together real-time content produced by selected Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and Instagram accounts. They enable users to see and interact with what is being talked about right now on social media by different worlds of individuals, organisations and groups.

They are a uniquely powerful way to hear and engage with a range of voices and perspectives, including Seldom Heard voices, in particular, our “Symphony of Hidden Voices” Window.

There are a number of other Windows on the World available for anyone to use on our Trust website at  covering such diverse topics as

  • the Together We’re Better STP
  • Healthcare Finance
  • National Healthtalk

Why not give them a try yourselves? And if you’ve got an idea yourself for a topic or are of activity where a further Window on the World would be popular or useful, we’d love to hear it. Any feedback on them would be gladly received by our Comms Team.


One thing I’d particularly like to bring to your attention is a new study looking for volunteers, including healthy individuals and patients with severe mental ill health (SMI); exploring diet, fitness and other lifestyle factors.

The Trust is participating in the research, run by the University of York, aiming to provide a benchmark of health and lifestyle behaviours of people with SMI to compare their responses to those of people in the general population.

For more information, to refer a patient, or request a patient pack, please contact the Research team on 01782 441774 (FN. 4774) or email


Dr Mark Williams, our Clinical Director for Primary Care, and Chris Bird, our Director of Strategy, were invited to meet with North Staffs LMC to share with them our vision of how we work in an integrated way with Primary Care. It was a productive session.