Suicide Prevention Conference highlights our determination for target zero ambition

Last week was very packed with some really great things going on and loads of sharing and learning.


The CQC announced well led inspection has been confirmed to take place on 21–23 January. The well led element of the inspection focuses more on the Trust’s Executive Team, structures and governance.

The CQC will be trialling a ‘light touch’ approach to the well led inspection this year. This is due to the Trust hosting successful engagement sessions and visits throughout the year with the CQC and in response to assurance that we have provided to queries and concerns generated throughout.

As you may recall, prior to any well led inspection, the CQC carries out unannounced inspections of core services. We have also now heard that the inspection of core services begins this week with our Adult Community Services being inspected this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Those of you who were with the Trust at the time of the last inspection will recall that we produced a weekly CQC Update newsletter, to provide news, advice and support to help everyone make the very best of the opportunity the inspection gives us to demonstrate how our journey towards outstanding continues to progress.

We were told that staff found these updates really useful, so we are launching them again – starting today. Can I ask everyone to look out in your email inbox for them and take the time to read through the advice and support they contain.

The most important message is to try to relax and tell the CQC about the great work you are doing day in day out working with service users and carers, how you are continually learning and improving.


Our Behaviours Framework – co-designed with our staff and service users – ensures we live our values in all we do. The Framework takes each of the four values and provides five examples of behaviours that would demonstrate that we are adhering to those values in our day-to-day working lives.

The Framework is below:


  • Listening to others, considering their feelings and needs
  • Respecting and being responsive towards diversity and difference
  • Pulling together, helping colleagues out when their priorities are greater than your own
  • Recognising your own stresses and limitations and developing ways to cope with them
  • Promoting and encouraging healthy living and recovery with service users and colleagues


  • Communicating with everyone openly, clearly and appropriately
  • Keeping a positive and calm manner when faced with challenging situations
  • Providing and welcoming feedback to support good behaviour and challenge inappropriate behaviour
  • Taking people’s understanding, viewpoints and needs into account when making decisions
  • Being friendly and welcoming, making eye contact, giving your name and smiling where appropriate 


  • Always putting service users first, maintaining professional integrity, confidentiality, following correct procedures, adhering to standards and adopting best practice
  • Holding ourselves and others to account to prioritise our workload in delivering high quality care in a timely manner
  • Developing our self-awareness by seeking feedback from others, reflecting and acting upon it
  • Making the most effective use of available resources to provide best value at all times
  • Take full responsibility for patients you come in contact with, ensuring any other needs are properly coordinated


  • Encouraging team problem-solving to create better outcomes and solutions
  • Being flexible and responsive, changing our own practice and behaviours to ensure we continually improve
  • Inspiring and recognising others, so they feel they want to strive to improve or do something different
  • Welcoming and being prepared to take acceptable risk to innovate or provide safe patient-centred care
  • Looking outside the Trust to compare our performance, search out best practice, develop relationships and share learning to improve ways of working

We will shortly be circulating to all teams in the Trust a series of new posters we have produced to celebrate our Behaviours Framework. You may like to display them in prominent places in your work area. Or, if you wish to use an electronic version of the posters, you can download these digital versions.


One of the elements of our Behaviours Framework is “Looking outside the Trust to compare our performance, search out best practice, develop relationships and share learning to improve ways of working”.

And that’s precisely what the Board, Clinical Directors and Associate Directors did last week, as we enjoyed an extended visit to Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS.

We endured a long and sometimes difficult journey to the wet and windy Northumberland but we’re so glad we did! The Trust were wonderful in hosting us and generously shared and showcased their excellent services and approaches to their continual improvement. We learnt loads and were also able to share ideas, lessons, insights and experience with each other.

We have already agreed a return visit to our Trust and feel excited about more we can do to become outstanding.


I was delighted to hear from Tendai Chirawu, Tanisha Molloy and Lesley Faux about their attendance at the Asian Fire Service Association Inclusion Conference and Awards night last week. The event served as part of the induction programme for our new BAME Inclusion Facilitators.

Lesely was awarded a Shining Light National Advisors Award for her work in establishing a Staffordshire-wide BAME Leadership Programme and opening this up free of charge to the Fire Service and other agencies nationally. The award recognised the benefits of working across organisation boundaries and the benefits this brings to people in local communities. Lesley was nominated by Mohammed Ali and
Dalvinder Rai, who both participated in the Stepping Up programme and whose contributions were also recognised at the Awards evening.

Later in the evening, Lesley participated in the end of conference panel discussion representing the NHS. Congratulations Lesley – fantastic recognition for our dedication to diversity and inclusion at Combined as well as in the local community.

Our action to promote inclusiveness and diversity at Combined and make a stand against racism continues unabated, and we have also produced a new Trust poster to drive home our determination to stamp out racism together.


You will all be aware that I have been using my blog each week to keep you all updated on progress on our NHS Staff Survey and urging everyone to take part and have their say.

The survey came to an end last week, and I am thrilled to let you know that we had the highest response rate since 2015.

Congratulations to staff working in Workforce and Leadership for posting a perfect 100% response rate and thanks to everyone throughout Combined who took this opportunity to tell us what they think about working at Combined and where we can do even better. We will be publishing the results of the survey, as well as an action plan, setting out precisely how we intend to respond to its findings once the entire national figures are collated and published next year by NHS England.

Many thanks to everyone who engaged – your feedback is so important.


On Friday, I was pleased to open a major Suicide Conference attended by over 300 delegates, jointly organised by the Mental Health workstream of the STP and a team from Combined Healthcare and chaired by our Medical Director, Dr Buki Adeyemo.

The conference brought together a whole range of experts, service users, clinicians and others from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and beyond, including Switzerland to share perspectives and knowledge.

The most impactful part of the day for me was the sharing of heartfelt personal stories from service users and carers. It was incredibly brave if the individuals and made such a difference to us all being able to think about the personal and emotional consequences of suicide and what we could do better as organisations and the wider community. 

It also was an opportunity for the partners across our area to sign a Suicide Charter, setting out their determination to work together with an ambitious aim for nothing less than zero suicide in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent from 2019 onwards.

​Well done to all involved in organising and delivering a fantastic event and initiative – a particular thank-you to Ben Boyd, Lesley Whittaker and Jane Callear for all your help.