One week in and it already feels like home…

Well, it’s only been a week since I first started as your Chief Executive – and already it feels like home. When I applied for the post, I obviously spent some time researching how the Trust performed, the strengths of its people and its services. I remember saying at my Stakeholder Panel and interview how impressed I was with how truly outstanding Combined Healthcare appeared to be. But, I can honestly say, in just the short time I’ve managed to spend with you all – managers, frontline staff and partners – I have been simply amazed at the amount of energy, positivity and quality of you all. Thank you so very much to everyone for making me feel so welcome.

Initial Reflections

The Trust journey over the last 5 years is truly inspirational and it is clear that our staff are proud to be part of this transformation. I have also heard a clear message that there is more to be done to achieve the ambition of being outstanding in all that we do and how we do it. As we enter this next phase of our development, it is important to reflect on the challenges that we will face, whether they be an increasing population or financial pressures. However, I truly believe that the foundations set over recent years provide us with a fantastic opportunity to continue our improvement journey over coming months and years.

Leadership Academy Looks To The Future

Having had the pleasure of delivering my first Team Brief, followed by the latest meeting of the Trust Leadership Academy, it’s really clear to me just how determined everyone is to ensure that we look to the future and continue the Trust’s fantastic journey of improvement.

The Leadership Academy brought together managers from across all our Directorates and the Executive Team to brainstorm how we can build on the Trust’s transition to its new locality-based structure, the improvements in services secured in recent years and the energy and ideas of all of our staff. I was able to give a brief initial explanation of some of the areas I am particularly interested in, for example, harnessing the clearly positive working and professional relationships that exist between our frontline teams with their colleagues across the whole of our local health and care system. The Workforce and OD Teams will be taking away the outputs from the event and collating them into a summary that we can collectively consider as we begin the next phase of our journey.

Inclusion Council

I am well aware of the great work that the Trust’s Inclusion Council has been doing since its inception last Autumn. So I was really pleased to be able to participate in its latest meeting – thanks to Linda Holland for her support. There are a whole range of projects being taken forward by the Inclusion Council, from inclusive recruitment and micro aggression, to looking at how we adapt our zero tolerance approach to racist abuse towards our staff. We also had a fascinating in-depth discussion about how the Council has delivered in its first few months and how we can continue to build on its success.

CAMHS Trailblazer Pilot

It was great to go to the launch of the CAMHS Trailblazer pilot. As you will know, Combined Healthcare has been selected as a Wave 1 pilot site to receive almost £2 million a year from this April to invest in children’s mental health services across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. The money is split into two parts. After a simply fabulous effort from our recruitment team, the first part has delivered over 30 new posts in CAMHS to form four educational mental health support teams of children’s mental health specialists and trainees to work directly with schools. There are two teams in each of the locality Directorates of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire, serving between 10 and 20 schools per team. The second element of the funding is being used to expand our existing three CAMHS community teams in order to provide additional staffing to each team, with the aim of reducing children’s mental health waiting times to under four weeks. This major development will benefit parents, children and schools across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. Having attended the event, and witnessed the enthusiasm from our own staff, as well as partners from the wider STP, local government and local schools, I know everyone is simply thrilled to have been chosen to deliver this multi-million transformation for children’s mental health and are raring to go.