Guest blogger: Suzanne Robinson updates us on the week

Delivered by Suzanne Robinson, Director of Finance, Performance and Digital

Hi all…

I’m your guest CEO blogger this week and there’s lots to talk about!


This time of year is one of my favourites, and not simply because I love Autumn!  It’s because this is the time when our annual cohort of new starters arrive.

A group of 33 newly qualified nurses, AHPs and Social Workers have joined the Trust and their Preceptorship Programme. It’s fantastic to see so many of them choosing to join Combined Healthcare and Maria Nelligan was on hand to welcome them personally.

The Preceptorship Programme has been strengthened annually since 2016 and it is great to know that, of those RNs who joined us as newly qualified in the past two years, all but one is still with the Trust. In times of national nursing shortages, what a great achievement!

We are currently reviewing the in-house CPD offer for the preceptees and all our registered staff to offer an enhanced programme of development.

Thank you also to all the contributors to the Preceptorship Programme, as this is obviously providing a great foundation. It was also wonderful that two of last year’s preceptees, Nicky Morris, Staff Nurse from Ward 1, and Bethan Plant, OT from Ward 7, shared their ‘Life as a Preceptee’ during a Preceptorship Schwartz Round. Their stories and that of Gary Watson, Access Practitioner, (one of the first ever preceptees through Project 2000) were very much appreciated by the group who will be donning their uniforms and out in practice this week.

Welcome to the team, everyone!



You’ll all probably know that I love a good social media film. Our animated finance films for our Valuemakers Programme and presenting our annual financial results are something I am really proud of, and have attracted loads of praise.

So I was delighted to see the efforts of our fantastic Flufighters team to use social media to get the message out that we need everyone to get their flu jab!

This week, they launched a brilliant 40 second song – “Jab, Jab, Jab, Jab, Jabbin'”.  You can watch it below – our share it across your own social networks via this link.

How to get your vaccination

We’ve made it even easier for you to get your flu jab at a time that works for you.  Simply call, email or text our Flu Fighter Team to arrange to have your vaccination:

  • Text FLU to 07740372868 and a member of the team will call you back to arrange an appointment.
  • Call 60122 to speak to a Flu Fighter, or leave a message and receive a call-back.
  • Email the team on:



As you’ll be aware from Caroline’s blog a couple of weeks ago, October is Freedom to Speak Up Month and, to coincide with this, we’ve launched a new Freedom To Speak Up section on our new Trust Intranet – including a webform that they can use to raise a concern, anonymously if they prefer.  Staff with access to the Intranet can visit the new section here.

As a Trust we are always striving to encourage all of our staff to be open in their views, comfortable about raising any concerns they might have and able to ask any questions either to their manager, through confidential support and counselling services or ask questions or provide comments directly to senior roles in the Trust

If staff wish to speak up directly to our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, they can do so directly by e-mail to  Their concern will always be kept confidential if they prefer.

The launch of the new section topped off a great week for Zoe, as she went to the House of Commons for a reception for all Freedom to Speak Up Guardians, where she had the pleasure of meeting Sir Robert Francis himself and the national Guardian, Dr Henrietta Hughes.



We’re over the moon that 27% of you have completed your staff survey so far! What a fantastic result! Can you help us to have the highest response rate? Although the national average is 23% for mental health Trusts, one mental health Trust currently has a 33% completion rate – so we’ve got some tough competition.

We’re doing great, but we want to do even better. We know you’re Proud to CARE – so tell us more! We can only improve if we know where the goalposts are, so don’t miss out on your chance to share your opinion.

Your feedback and responses are completely anonymous and will only take you 10 minutes, so please be honest with us. You should have had a reminder email this week if you’ve not filled it out, so search for an email from with the subject line:

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust 2018 NHS Staff Survey: 1st Reminder

Don’t forget about the £250 prize draw for teams with a high response rate, which can be spent on a team-focused priority, so rally up your team to take part, too!

Read our FAQ page to learn more.

Have you spotted the Staff Survey Roadshow on tour? We’re coming to a location near you to provide space and a laptop to complete surveys, with staff on hand to provide IT support.

  • Harplands Hospital – 24 October, 10am-1pm
  • Summers view – 25 October, 10-12pm
  • Florence House – 25 October, 2pm-4pm
  • Hope Centre, Hanley – 3 teams all informed of the date – Early Intervention, Criminal Justice, Healthy Minds – 6 November, 12.30pm-2.30pm
  • Harplands Hospital – 8 November, Time tbc
  • Assessment & Treatment – 14 November, 12-2pm



There’s been lots going on this week as you can see. We had some good meetings, too. On Tuesday, I chaired the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) for Caroline. This was the first time we had met as a senior team under the new Directorate structure and it was great to hear from our Clinical Leaders about some of their thoughts and ideas on the new Directorates – the NHS Ten Year Plan will be published soon (December 2018) and we’re hoping for a real emphasis on Mental Health, so it’s important to start planning for the future and how we continue to transform our services to improve quality and safety.

The Executive Team also met with NHS Improvement for our bi-monthly Progress Review Meeting (PRM). As a Trust we’re performing really well and that’s a real credit to all our staff because we know it’s not easy.

Thursday was the Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent Health & Care Transformation Board, which is the Board that governs the STP. The Board comprises members from across the CCGs, NHS Providers, the voluntary sector, primary care and social care plus our regulators (NHSE and NHSI). We heard about plans for the development of integrated care teams, plans for winter and updates on the Digital Programme which Caroline leads on behalf of the STP. The latter outlined some exciting plans for investment in digital technology that will really enhance the way we deliver care across partners. You can read more from the STP here.