Yet more examples of how great our staff are

Hi all

It’s been another packed week and more reminders of the progress we’re making and the fabulous people who work in our Trust.


As you know, the consultation process on Phase 3 of our move toward a structure of locality working has closed this week and we have received significant, useful and largely positive feedback from staff during this period. Thank you to all those who have taken the time to be involved in our consultation process, your input is greatly appreciated and is important in ensuring our future organisational structure is co-produced with our staff.

We had planned to provide feedback on the final structure this week, but in order to ensure that this fully considers the significant number of comments and suggestions, we have decided to take some additional time to finalise the structure. We will be making a number of changes to the structure as a result of consultation responses.

This means that have we have agreed the new ‘go live’ date for the new structure of Monday 1st October 2018 and will be working in September to put the necessary transitional arrangements in place.


I attended the latest meeting of the Health and Care Transformation Board on Thursday night.

It was a very positive meeting, where we reviewed progress that has been made in the key priorities.  I was pleased to be able to discuss the progress we are making on the mental health workstream, in particular supporting service users to receive their treatment closer to home.


Regular readers of my blog will be aware of the welcome we gave to the appointment of Paul Edmonsdon Jones as Director of Social Care, Health Integration and Well-being at Stoke City Council and how we have been working to develop our relationships and partnerships as part of the local System Review Action Plan.

I had the opportunity of a catch-up meeting with Paul this week, and we were able to discuss  how we both intend to work together in supporting and strengthening professional leadership for social care.  We also discussed our joint support of the CQC system plan, which we are presenting at a national event next month.


With so much going on across Combined at the moment, it was a packed agenda for this week’s Senior Leadership Team meeting.

Amongst the items we discussed was an update on our plans to work together with colleagues in Northumberland Tyne and Wear to share lessons learned and insights from their own journey of improvement.  We are planning to visit this Outstanding Trust in November to see what we can learn.  Our new Clinical Directors and the Board will be on the visit and will come back with plenty to share.

It was really positive to review the CQC self-assessment that each core service has completed.  A big thank you to everyone who has participated.  Overall, the picture was positive but demonstrates more improvements are needed


You may have seen coverage in the press and on the television about the challenge of Monkey Dust in Stoke-on-Trent.  As some of you will know, monkey dust is a particular feature of substance misuse in Stoke-on-Trent and has been something on which we have been actively involved, both in providing support services via the Community Drug and Alcohol Service and in developing partnerships across the local NHS, local government, voluntary sector and emergency services including the police.

As with any relatively new substance, there is always the danger for the press to over dramatise the situation or exaggerate its prevalence.   In times like this, it’s really important that all of the agencies involved work together to ensure we communicate calmly and responsibly the reality of the situation and what is being done to address it.

​I was really pleased to see that approach being adopted this week, in particular some really good work by Dr Derrett Watts, our Clinical Director for Substance Misuse, on the local BBC.  We have been emphasising:

  • We have been aware of monkey dust in Stoke on Trent for some time
  • Even though it’s a small number of substance misuse users (we estimate about 5% of all substance misuse in Stoke-on-Trent and less in Newcastle) it’s a challenge we recognise and certainly don’t underestimate its significance and the importance of developing partnerships to deal with it and support users
  • We have been leading the development over the past 12 months of a partnership approach to tackling the issue and supporting users in coming off the substance and recovery, together with colleagues in local government, public health, voluntary sector and emergency services including police.

    DATE FOR YOUR DIARY – 28th September 2018 12 – 2 Boardroom – World’s Biggest Coffee Morning and a ‘Brave the Shave” volunteer!

    Lawton House are holding a ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ on 28th September, fund raising in support of Macmillan Cancer Support.

    It’s a great thing to be involved with, particularly because as part of this event our very own Sue Slater, Education and Development Manager, is ‘Braving the Shave’ so at 1pm she will be be having all of her hair removed!

    You can support Sue by clicking onto the link to go to her funding page:

    We will be having cake and coffee for donations for the charity.

    We will also be filming and photographing Sue’s shave so if you can’t make it you will certainly be able to see it afterwards!


    Our Freedom To Speak Up Guardian, Zoe Grant, will be taking annual leave from Friday 17th August through to Tuesday 4th September 2018,  during this period she will not be in a position to address any concerns.

    She intends to follow any issues up on her return, so please do contact via email or leave a voicemail.

    However, if your concern is urgent please ensure that you raise this with either your line manager, another senior member of staff, the Trusts HR team or via the Dear Caroline email