Open Space Event hears the voices of service users and carers

Hi everyone

My week started on Monday as a digital day! As you know I am the leading the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) digital programme as well as chairing our internal Digital Board. Technology is a real enabler of change and improvement which is why we called our programme Raising our Service Excellence (ROSE). We also did a deep dive last week into the clinical and corporate directorates to ensure we are doing everything we can to prepare for go live on 13 May. Staff who will be using the new system will very shortly be receiving their ROSE Boarding PassThe Pass provides a handy checklist of the things everybody needs to have done and to have in place.

Open Space Event hears the voices of service users and carers

One of the undoubted highlights of my week was opening our Open Space Event on Wednesday, bringing together over 50 of our service users and carers to give us their views on:

  • How we prioritise the specific approaches we take under our core quality SPAR priorities.
  • How we can expand the ways in which service users and carers can get involved with the Trust, building on the excellent work to date of the Service User and Carer Council.

The event was a huge success. It was chaired by Wendy Dutton, our Vice-Chair of the Service User and Carer Council and great credit must go to the patient experience and clinical quality teams supporting Maria Nelligan and Buki Adeyemo. We conducted a live poll as part of proceedings and, from this, the priorities we were asked by attendees to focus on in particular include:

  • Ensure every service user has a risk assessment and care plan.
  • Implement our suicide prevention strategy.
  • Ensure all care plans are completed with individuals and are wellbeing and recovery focussed.
  • Increase service users’, carers’ and staff feedback to improve service development.
  • Increase contact time spent by registered nurses with service users and carers.
  • Improve remote access to electronic records for clinicians.
  • Enhance opportunities for service users to gain access to employment.

We also heard powerful contributions from our Children and Young People’s IAPT Youth Council. The day ended with scores of users and carers offering to get involved with the Service User and Carer Council, as well as other ways of supporting the Trust, for example through taking part in research activities. Maria’s team, supported by our Communications Team, will now go through the outcomes of the event in detail and prepare an updated strategy for our engagement and involvement of service users and carers.

I chaired our monthly Clinical Directorate performance meetings last week. Overall we are doing well, but we need to ensure we are keeping our focus on our priorities and that we continue to improve alongside our Towards Outstanding ambitions. One of our continual priorities is ensuring we have the right level and skill mix of staff and that we don’t rely on temporary staffing. We are planning another major recruitment campaign that will go live next week – Paul Draycott , our Director of Leadership and Workforce is leading this and am sure will welcome support from our clinical teams.

Flu team highly commended at national NHS Flu Fighter Awards

Congratulations to our flu team, who were highly commended in the Team of the Year category at the 2017 Flu Fighter Awards on 27 March. The team were shortlisted in recognition of our hugely successful flu campaign which led Combined to become the highest performing mental health trust in the country with a total of 79.7% of frontline staff being vaccinated between September-December 2016. This meant we over achieved the national 75% target that forms part of the Healthy Workplaces initiative with financial incentives to improve the health and wellbeing of NHS staff. By reaching our target we were able to secure the full £140,000 income available. Thank you to our team of roving vaccinators, led by Deputy Director of Nursing Carol Sylvester and Josie Sage in the Infection Prevention and Control team, who worked tirelessly to ensure staff could easily receive the jab. Thank you also to each and every member of our staff who became a flu fighter by receiving the jab and, in doing so, not only protected themselves against the flu virus, but also their patients, friends and family.

Feel Good Friday initiative and Leading with Compassion scheme shortlisted at HPMA Awards

In further awards news, I am delighted that we have been shortlisted in two categories in the national Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA) 2017 Awards! Our Feel Good Friday health and wellbeing initiative has been chosen as a finalist in the Social Partnership Forum Award for partnership working between employers and trade unions. Feel Good Friday was set up in October 2016 to enable staff to receive information and advice on a range of things aimed at enhancing health and wellbeing. As well as getting cholesterol checks, for instance, attendees can also speak to our Staff Support and Counselling Service, staff side union reps and the diversity and inclusion team.

We were also delighted to have been shortlisted for the Academi Wales Award for Excellence in Organisational Development for the Leading with Compassion scheme where staff, patients and carers are able to recognise someone who they believe has demonstrated compassion. The scheme was launched at Combined and has been rolled out across 11 NHS organisations in the West Midlands. To date, more than 450 Trust staff have been recognised in this way and received a personalised badge and card. You can find out more about the scheme and make a nomination via its website at To find out more about the scheme, you can view this video and to hear more about its journey so far, you can watch this video. The awards themselves take place in London on 22 June so we will be keeping our fingers crossed!

Ward 4

Most of you will remember the excellent Ward 4 dual care service we established in 2015 which was very successfully evaluated by commissioners, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Healthwatch. We were very disappointed last summer that a commissioning decision was made based on finances that the service couldn’t continue. We were then asked to establish a nursing assessment ward to support the lack of capacity across the health economy – all credit to our wonderful staff that they stepped up to this challenge and have provided such excellent care for the last few months. I am now really pleased that commissioners have decided to fund on a permanent basis the shared care service which demonstrably provided such excellent support within our local community. The ward will open in the summer with a switch over planned from the current mix of patients. This will again provide both physical health and mental health support so our recruitment campaign will be aimed at attracting a wide range of staff. Our continued partnership with University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) is essential to its success.

The Chief Executives across Staffordshire spent a morning last week working on our collective plan building on the success of the Accelerated Design Event. It was a good session with mental health increasing in priority – the key challenge is ensuring we continue to invest in mental health in a climate of such financial difficulty.

I finished the week leading a great mental health workforce event across the West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England – this is in my role as Mental Health CEO lead for Health Education England. We want to build on the success of the collaboration across the West Midlands that has resulted in a number of innovations. Our Trust is leading on Physical Health, Dementia and Children and Young Peoples workforce.