New Year’s Blog

Let me firstly wish each and every one of you a very happy and healthy New Year!

2018 was a very special year for me, and one filled with the excitement of new opportunities. The highlight was joining you as Chief Executive in May – joining a successful and innovative trust, which makes so much positive impact for the people we serve. In some ways it seems like I have been here for
much longer than 8 months.

It has been a pleasure to get to know so many of you and having the opportunity to visit so many
of our diverse services, both in clinical areas and behind the scenes. Everywhere I have visited
has filled me with admiration for the care, attention and passion that I’ve seen. It is humbling to
work with so many dedicated staff, all of you creating a little bit of magic everyday.

By every measure we have had a fabulous year at Newcastle Hospitals. We have maintained our
position as one of the top NHS Foundation Trusts and have delivered consistently excellent results
and achievements in research, patient care, recommendations and feedback. At this, our busiest
time of year, I am pleased that we are performing exceptionally well across the Trust. Thank you
for all your efforts in achieving this.

I also know that the last year has not all been plain sailing. Many of us will personally have
had difficult times. Professionally, I know that we struggle with workforce issues in some areas,
with capacity to see patients as quickly as we might like to, and our estate challenges are well
recognised. These are just some of the areas that we need to continue to tackle as we enter the
new year.

The next three months in particular will inevitably be challenging as we strive to end our financial
year as strongly as possible as well as planning our budgets and savings for the next financial
year, ensuring that we simultaneously maintain and strengthen the quality of our services.

One of the things that makes us so successful is our ability to innovate and adapt. Improving
quality in clinical service delivery is something that we do across the organisation everyday. Our
Service Improvement Team (SIT) and Transformation and Financial Improvement team (TFIT)
provide effective support but we know that our financial challenges will continue.

I am anticipating that the long awaited NHS long term plan will be published this month, signalling
new priorities and areas of focus. Alongside that we are also refreshing our own strategy, vision
and values which will be published in the summer, which I know many of you have already
contributed to.

To support us through the next phase of our development, we will be working with a number of
new partners, in particular McKinsey and Company, who will be helping us to ensure that our
already outstanding Trust learns from the best internationally. We have asked them to help us to
generate our sustainability plan for the next three years and to work with directorates to plan to
eliminate waste and release savings, which can be reinvested in frontline care. In my next blog I
will focus on our improvement work, and how we call all continue to play a part in designing
our future.

Very soon we will welcome the CQC to the Trust for our Well Led inspection.

We already know that the CQC have invited staff to meet with them through a series of focus groups on Tuesday 8 January. The details of these meetings are on the Intranet and I would encourage as many people as possible to attend and share your views so that the inspectors can hear from you directly about what it’s like to work here. This is our ‘Time to Shine’ and to help everyone prepare we have produced a range of resources which you can also find on the Intranet. This includes a number of one page briefings as well as other information. Please take some time to explore our CQC pages so that you are confident to talk to the inspectors if you meet them.

The CQC will also carry out a programme of unannounced visits to wards and services and their review will culminate with three days of planned interviews with the senior team at the end of February.

I know that inspections can make people nervous, but please don’t worry. We are in great shape,
and I know that the CQC will see that we provide some of the very best services in the country.

I know that inspections can make people nervous, but please don’t worry.  We are in great shape, and I know that the CQC will see that we provide some of the very best services in the country.  Their visit is an opportunity to show the very best of what we do.

Their visit is an opportunity to show the very best of what we do and I’m also looking forward to the
developments we will see together in 2019.


Personally, I find this time of year quite tough. The dark
mornings and damp evenings mean that I struggle to keep
motivated to take regular exercise and find it much easier to
take solace in comforting carbs!

But the new year gives us all an opportunity to set some
healthy goals, so I’m signing up for Dry January and am also looking forward to the prospect of participating in my first Great North Run in September to raise much needed funds for our Great North Children’s Hospital.

Other members of the senior team are attempting other challenges like RED January, which
encourages us to support our mental health by doing something active every day, and I am sure
that there are lots of colleagues from across the Trust who are motivated to get active this month.
With thanks to everyone who attended our last flourish event in December and with input from our
health and wellbeing champions, we’ve decided to have a different focus each month to focus our
Flourish activity.

This month our theme is #LetsMove. Let’s make January all about moving more and shaking off
the winter blues. I’d like to invite you to enter our team pedometer challenge and make the most of
your fitbit. If you don’t have a pedometer we have 500 to give away to people who would like to get

From Monday 14 January to Friday 1 February we are inviting teams to compete to reach the
largest mileage possible. Our new Flourish website will be launched next week, where you will be
able to register your team, log your weekly miles and request a pedometer if you don’t have one.
Healthy prizes will be awarded to the team with the highest steps per team member at the end of
the challenge. Please visit the website or email: [email protected] to request your pedometer.

So if you would like to feel fitter and join in, please look out for more information about #LetsMove.
I’m looking forward to seeing people sharing their activity and their New Year’s resolutions on
Twitter and also by tagging us on our Instagram @newcastlehosps – follow us for further updates
throughout the campaign.