CEO Blog by Caroline Donovan @NSCHT1

Hi all

Well what a week in politics! The appointment of a new Prime Minister brings new priorities. The reappointment of Jeremy Hunt will bring consistency, but what is clear is that the financial challenges across the NHS are significant. A recently published report by the King’s Fund showed that NHS providers and commissioners ended 2015/16 with a combined deficit of £1.85bn (unaudited) – a threefold increase on the previous year. This is the largest combined deficit in NHS history. It was positive to hear our Prime Minister Theresa May highlight that there is not enough “help to hand” for those suffering from mental health problems, but how and where this help will come from is yet to be determined.

Our CQC preparations continue – all our core services have repeated their self-assessments against the CQC domains of safeeffectivecaringresponsiveness and well-led. We are continuing to improve and gain assurance against our must and should do requirements and have set our RAG (red, amber, green) rate ambitions for the end of August.

We have published our annual Quality Account, which describes our great achievements in improving quality during 2015/16. Please click here to view the document. A big thank you to Laurie Wrench, Associate Director of Governance, and her team for all their hard work in putting the document together.

Each year we have a requirement to deliver a series of CQUINS (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation), some of which are a national requirement, some of which are agreed locally with our commissioners. The CQUIN payment framework makes a proportion of our total potential income from commissioners conditional on the achievement of ambitious quality improvement goals and innovations.

This year, a national CQUIN is requiring healthcare staff to receive a flu vaccine as part of the national Flu Fighters campaign. Recent studies show that the vaccine reduces the risk of developing the flu virus by about 50-60%. We will be building on the success of last year’s flu campaign with a series of clinics offering the vaccination to our staff, as well as a number of out-of-hours clinics delivered by trained volunteer vaccinators. It’s really important that our staff receive their vaccination in order to keep themselves and patients flu safe, as well as colleagues, family and friends.

Our Trust Board was held on Thursday where we were delighted to congratulate our Spotlight winners. Naomi Goodwin, Administration Officer with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) team at Dragon Square was awarded the individual Spotlight award. Naomi was described as a like “a breath of fresh air; she has excellent organisational skills and has supported the team to move from their old base at Ashlands in Newcastle, into their new premises”. Our care home physiotherapy service are deserving winners of the team Spotlight award in recognition of their work piloting a project to support both residential and nursing homes. Their success has no doubt contributed towards a recent decision by commissioners to expand the service into Stoke-on-Trent.
At the meeting we said goodbye to Pam Beeson, Medical Secretary at Harplands, who has retired after 17 years with the Trust; and Chris James, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist in the Children and Young People directorate, who has retired after almost eight years with us but will be returning on a part-time basis.
I was pleased to visit the CAMHS Central Referral Hub and hear about the progress they are making in improving their pathways and responsiveness for the children and young people that we serve.
On Friday, I was delighted to learn that we have been shortlisted for the Positive Practice Awards. Positive Practice is a user-led multi-agency collaborative that identifies and disseminates positive practice in mental health services by working together to facilitate shared learning and raise the profile of mental health with politicians and policy makers. We are one of four organisations nationally to have been shortlisted for the Improving Quality Award for our Listening into Action programme – well done to everyone involved!
Nominations for our annual Recognising Excellence and Achievement in Combined Healthcare (REACH) Awards are open. If you have experienced excellent patient care, why not celebrate the contribution of our inspirational staff by nominating them for a REACH award!
Among the awards is a dedicated award for Volunteer/Service User Representative of the Year, to recognise someone who has made an outstanding contribution to our service users’ experience. This year’s awards take place on Thursday 1 September and feature the following categories:
1.       Leading with compassion award
2.       Innovation and digital award
3.       Award for excellence in research and development and education
4.       Volunteer/service user representative of the year award
5.       Rising star award
6.       Unsung hero award
7.       Partnership award
8.       Team of the year award
9.       Chairman’s award (chosen by Chair David Rogers from all the winners on the night)
The closing date for entries is Friday 29 July, so please take a look at the categories and criteria via and nominate an inspirational member of Trust staff or an amazing service user and volunteer representative. Thank you.


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