Looking ahead together

In my last blog, I reflected on the last 12 months, and highlighted some of the remarkable achievements we have made together. I promised that I would use this blog to look ahead to the next 12 months and share the delivery goals that we will focus on as an organisation.

Our plans for the year are built on strong foundations. We continue to be a high performing organisation both in the NHS and internationally. We also, of course, continue to provide high standards of safe care, despite the incredibly challenging circumstances we find ourselves in.

Our starting point to think about the next year is our trust strategy. This includes the 5 P’s of our strategic framework (patients, people, partnerships, pioneers, performance) and our shared trust values which set out the way we work.

Then we look at the requirements we are set by the Government and NHS England, as well as the standards set by our regulators, other commissioners and legal duties. This year, the NHS operating framework was published on 23 December, and the team have been working to understand the implications for us.

Finally, we review our situational awareness – considering what is going on around us and using all the intelligence and data we have to make the most informed decisions.

This year, a major consideration is how we can leverage the advantage of our newly formed Clinical Boards to reach further into the organisation to engage more people, find new solutions to difficult problems and innovate to achieve our goals.

In the way we have set our goals this year, we have put quality improvement centre stage – reflecting our relentless focus for our patients. We will continue to build with our partners the IHI on the fantastic progress we have made through Newcastle Improvement. This has supported a culture of continuous quality improvement in many different areas to facilitate service and quality improvements not just across the trust but further afield.

The delivery goals we have agreed as an executive team are included below:

You will see that many of these goals are things that I have updated you on in my blog over recent months, for example the work on our ‘Care for me, with me’ project to raise the standards of support for people with mental health needs, learning disabilities and / or autism and recently I’ve highlighted the roll-out of our care co-ordination system theatre scheduling software which we expect will drive efficiency in surgical services.

We have also set ourselves challenging and ambitious performance goals to treat as many patients as possible who are still affected by the backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic and other recent disruptions to services.

We have tried to blend clear achievable developments alongside ongoing improvements to the ‘way’ that we work – so you will see that we have a continuing commitment to improve staff experience and to act on results from the staff survey and other feedback.

I hope that everyone in the organisation will be able to see a link between their own role, and these goals and I would encourage teams to think about how they can contribute, because we need everyone to be pulling in the same direction if we are to succeed.

As you would expect, I will continue to update you on our progress towards these goals as we go through 2023/2024, and I would be keen to hear your thoughts and feedback on these plans and the contribution you and your teams are making.

Finally, I’m conscious that as I write there continues to be much uncertainty about future industrial action. This has the potential to lead to strong views being felt and expressed and upset being caused.

I would ask everyone to remember that we are a team, and we are at our strongest and most successful when we work together. Above all, I would ask that our overwhelming response to everyone here – patients and colleagues – should be kindness.

Thank you all for the hard work and dedication that you bring to work each day.

Launching our Celebrating Excellence Awards 2023

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the National Health Service and we could not imagine life without it, despite some of the challenges we’ve faced.

It’s fitting as we celebrate this diamond anniversary, that we recognise and show appreciation for all that our staff do, day in and day out, whether that’s in our hospitals or the community, in clinical areas or recognising those who play an essential support role.

This anniversary is also an opportunity to celebrate the work of our Black and ethnic minority colleagues – who today make up almost a quarter of the NHS workforce – as 2023 also marks 75 years since the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush, with many passengers taking up roles in the NHS which was launched just two weeks later on 5 July 1948.

I am delighted to announce the 2023 Celebrating Excellence Awards are now open for nominations. There are 15 categories you can nominate colleagues in and – in honour of NHS 75 – we have included a Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

You can submit a nomination for the awards here.

Genomic Newsletter

The North East and Yorkshire NHS Genomic Medicine Service brings together regional clinical partners, including Newcastle Hospitals, the Genomic Laboratory Hub and the Genomic Medicine Service Alliance, who all work together to improve health and equity of access to genomic tests and treatments for patients in the region.

Please find the latest edition of the GMS newsletter which I hope provides you with an engaging and insightful view of the rapidly evolving world of genomic medicine.

Colouring Adult Eczema – Getting Under the Skin

If you’ve been in the RVI’s New Victoria Wing you may have noticed a new piece of temporary artwork that has been installed there. Colouring Adult Eczema: getting under the skin is a public engagement art project commissioned by Professor Sinéad Langan at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, supported by the Wellcome Trust.

It has been created and produced by artists Peter Hudson and Julia Vogl from nationwide workshops with 30 adults living with eczema in the summer of 2019. You can read more about the project here.

Face-to-face antenatal classes

We’re delighted to once again be able to offer face-to-face antenatal classes in community family hubs across Newcastle. Classes available include preparation for labour and birth, baby practical and comforting, caring for and feeding your baby.

Antenatal classes will be facilitated by community midwives, maternity support workers, health visitors as well as Healthworks and Action for Children representatives and you can find out more here.