Making a difference…

Despite the best efforts of Storm Gareth earlier this week, I had the privilege of delivering a keynote speech at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference in Bristol. I focused on the importance of leadership and creating the right environment for staff to flourish.

While I used lots of live examples from our work here, this experience took me right back to the very earliest days of my nursing career in the NHS. It reminded me of the vital role we can all play to make a difference – wherever we sit in the organisation.

Leadership is most effective when it is a combined effort, and involves staff across professional groups, disciplines and all levels in our hospitals. So whilst the leadership role of the CEO, executive team and board is evident, without leaders at every level playing their part we will not achieve our ambition. Added to this, I passionately believe we achieve much better solutions with a combined leadership effort. I have seen so many examples of people who don’t have “manager” in their job title – who are leading with flair and passion and making a huge difference.

As we develop a new strategy in the organisation each of us needs to be able to see how we can contribute and what role we can play in making our services better every single day.

I was delighted to welcome Professor Chris Day, President and Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University and Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council to think about the work we are doing together to realise the potential of our partnerships.

Since joining the Trust I’ve set up a number of new forums to facilitate debate and development, one of which is our leadership congress. This took place last week (Tuesday 5 March) and focused on how we can work differently across the city with Newcastle Council and with our universities. I would like us to be able to put our hospitals at the heart of innovation in the city region, and I was delighted to welcome Professor Chris Day, President and Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University and Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council to think about the work we are doing together to realise the potential of our partnerships.

Together, as three of the major employers in the city, we can play a vital role. High quality jobs and our other contributions to the economy make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of local people. We need to embrace that responsibility and think very differently about how we can spend our resources – what we might call the ‘Newcastle pound’ – differently.

On a more day-to-day basis we talked about the great work we are doing together to develop much more connected and integrated service delivery teams particularly between health and social care professionals. We need to be able to support our communities better so that we can improve patient experience and outcomes and work smarter.
Although I know how much work this will take to achieve, it is definitely worth doing.

Over the next few months I’m sure you will see that we are developing services that work in new and different ways to really meet the needs of the people that we care for.

There is so much going on in the Trust this week – World Delirium Awareness Day, World Kidney Day, No Smoking Day, Nutrition and Hydration Week to name just a few. It’s been great to see so many people getting involved, raising awareness and raising expectations. We really can all make a difference and lead from every seat in the Trust. Thank you all so much for all of your hard work and contributions.


Our March theme of ‘let’s work better’ has encouraged you and your teams to think about the changes you can make to make working life a bit easier. Our #LetsWorkBetter pack can be downloaded from the website and contains posters and top tips.

Email etiquette is one thing we can all do to help each other at work. Our guide to email etiquette has been developed by our own staff and gives some helpful guidance and ideas. Just by thinking a little bit more and making sure we all include our picture and contact details on emails could make working life that little bit easier – so please do that today if you haven’t already (full instructions are in the guide).

Our theme for April is #PledgeItPlanIt and is an opportunity for you to come up with some local challenges which are important to you and your teams. Do you want to focus on drinking more water, moving more, managing your time better or something else? We will be providing some resources to help you pledge to form a healthy habit in April. Tell us your pledges and your plans on Instagram and twitter using the hashtag #PledgeItPlanIt and we can encourage each other to stick with it!

You can also read about flourish activities on our new guest flourish blog. If you would like to share your story in the blog please contact: [email protected]

Thank you to everyone who shared their views in our evaluation of #LetsMove. Your insights are helpful and it was great to hear your views and we will use them to shape future work. Our next Flourish event will focus on the results of the Staff Survey and provide directorates with the time and space to really listen to what those results tell us, understand them and develop key areas of focus for the year ahead. Bookings for this event are being arranged through directorate managers so that we can make sure each directorate and corporate area is represented. If you have any queries, please contact Michelle Cruickshanks: [email protected]

Celebrating Excellence Awards

We’ve had a fantastic response since I shared the news we were launching the Trust’s first Celebrating Excellence Awards and already plenty of nominations are coming in. We have so much to be proud of here at Newcastle Hospitals and I really would encourage individuals and teams to have a look at the categories and share the fantastic work you’re doing.

Nominations close on Friday 12 April and details are available on our Intranet and website

Hard copy forms are currently being distributed across Trust, but if you have any questions please email: [email protected]

Awards and Achievements

Huge congratulations to all of the following individuals and teams for making a difference to
our patients:

  • Dr Karen Heslop-Marshall – named Respiratory Nurse of the Year at the British Journal of Nursing Awards in recognition of her life-changing work in supporting patients with chronic respiratory conditions like COPD to manage the many frightening symptoms they can experience.A special mention also goes to our UTI Collaborative Team who took second place in the ‘Continence Nurse of the Year’ category.
  • Our regional anaesthesia and acute pain service team at the Freeman Hospital are finalists in the ‘Anaesthesia and Peri-operative Medicine Team’ category in the prestigious BMJ awards on 24 April. They were shortlisted for their proactive and radical approach to responding to the need for more effective pain management of post amputation surgery.Also finalists are our respiratory specialists who are shortlisted for the “Innovation in Quality Improvement Team” category, in recognition of their multi-disciplinary team approach to ensuring excellent asthma care for all, and preventing avoidable deaths through a region-wide collaboration called BREATHE. In just four years BREATHE has seen a reduction in emergency hospital admissions due to asthma by 29% and an increase from 5% to 53% in the uptake of personalised asthma action plans (PAAP) in primary care.
  • A special mention to all our staff who were shortlisted as finalists in five categories of the Unsung Hero Awards on 23 February.
Two of our consultants – Nancy Redfearn and Roopa McCrossan – were presented with the Humphry Davy award at the Royal College of Anaesthetists
  • Consultant Nancy Redfern and trainee Roopa McCrossan were presented with the Humphry Davy award at the Royal College of Anaesthetists. It’s awarded for special contribution to anaesthesia and was presented in recognition of their work as part of the national fatigue working group – a collaboration between the Association of Anaesthetists, the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Faculty of Intensive Care medicine. This group are raising awareness of the impact of tiredness on everyone’s work performance and recent successes include questions on rest facilities being included in the next GMC trainer and trainee survey, and the inclusion of a section on fatigue into the Royal College of Anaesthetists’ new curriculum.  More locally they have a research grant to look at ways in which a whole team of night workers, nurses, midwives, doctors and healthcare assistants, can help each other manage night shift fatigue.  Whatever our role in the organisation, we all have a circadian rhythm – and we can all support each other in getting a power nap at some point during the night.  Better for patients, better for our wellbeing and morale – all part of the flourish agenda!