Our staff were great ambassadors for the beginning of our CQC inspection

Last week, a really important focus for us was the beginning of our CQC core inspection, with the inspectors visiting our Adult Community services. I need to say a very big thank-you to everyone who was part of the inspection you were great ambassadors for the excellent services you deliver day in and day out.


The CQC inspected the Adult Community core service, which involved 3 days of visits to Sutherland, Lymebrook and Ashcombe centre. They also met with members of the Early Intervention Team. The inspection very much focused on intelligence gained from the PIR (Provider Information Request), which we submitted to the CQC in the summer, with a particular focus on performance which was not with Trust targets.

The inspection went very well; at the end of each day the inspection team complimented Trust staff, commenting that staff were friendly and helpful. The teams took the opportunity to showcase good practice and this was acknowledged by the inspection team. They viewed patient records, observed MDTs and inspected the environments and, on the whole, it would appear that it was a good inspection. There are, of course, some areas that were highlighted for us to continue to improve – well done to everyone! 

We are now able to give you details of the Trust core service workshops, intended to offer reminders of CQC regulations, the assurance required per core service and highlight innovations within the services. These will assist frontline staff who are likely to interact with the CQC team during the inspections.

Even though the workshops are arranged per core service, if you can’t make that time, you are welcome to attend any of the times allocated. This is an open drop-in, hence you do not need to book but if you do want to let us know you are attending, you can email CQCquality@combined.nhs.uk


We’ve also created a dedicated new section on the Trust Intranet, CAT (Combined Access Tool), specifically to support staff during the CQC Inspection.

The CQC Inspection Home Page contains all the latest news and announcements, as well as links to all CQC Newsletters and special pages with Themes of the Week.

The first theme this week is all about Consent. You can access it by clicking here.




The second meeting of our Inclusion Council took place last week and it was a real pleasure to hear how each of the Inclusion Workstreams have got to grips with the exciting agenda for action in each of their areas.

You can watch a short video below featuring two of our Council Members – Nikita Duncan and Susan Gombedza – reflecting on the energy and ideas in the room.


Our 2nd Annual Critical Incident Stress Management Conference took place last week and was a great success.

We welcomed a variety of speakers including Colin Burgess from RCN, our very own Maxine Tilstone, Professor Stephen Regel OBE, DS Mark Naylor, A&E Consultant Julie Norton and PSA’s Angela Lewis.

It was a fantastic day of insightful theories, emotional experiences, collaborative approaches to CISM and engaging Q&A sessions. Attendees left the day not only with a certificate and a badge, but with a buzz and enthusiasm about CISM and how to put it to practice.

Thank you to everyone who attended and to those who organised the day and thank you to RCN for sponsoring the event. Its success goes to show how many people stress affects, so we hope to make next year bigger and better yet again!


I was really pleased to be invited to our medical leadership programme at Keele University last week and privileged to be able to share my personal leadership journey including insights into challenges and personal resilience. Our group of medical leaders were really fantastic in engaging in the programme and each sharing their quality improvement project. Well done to Dr Buki Adeyemo for sponsoring this important programme which I hope will continue with action learning support.


Both myself and our Chairman, David Rogers, met with Fran Steele, our local Director from NHSI, last week. We were able to discuss the really positive performance of the Trust and plans for my replacement. As you will be aware, we have, for a couple of years now, been instrumental to the establishment and progress of the Northern Alliance Board. Coupled with this is the national direction of travel being closer working across organisations, promoting integration. It is within this context that we have discussed with NHSI and the STP the potential of the CEO role at Combined Healthcare, taking on a broader role supporting the further development of the Alliance Board into an ICP.

A short review has been commissioned to scope the possibility of this. It is therefore planned to consider an interim CEO appointment until the future shape of the post has been defined.

I will keep you updated.


The OD/system leadership workstream for the STP that I chair spent most of the meeting last week considering the outcomes from a recent system workshops and next steps for rolling out integrated locality teams. There are such exciting possibilities for the future but also a real need for us all to think and plan differently, which is why there is OD support needed. It was really positive that the EPCC workstream leads and the OD leads came together to plan next steps – thanks to everyone!