Chief executive coffee afternoon

Chief executive Julie Gillon recently met with staff for a cup of coffee and a chat.

She said: “Last week I was delighted to be able to meet some of you in the staff restaurant at the University Hospital of North Tees for a cup of coffee and a chat. It was great to see people from across the trust, and it was a valuable opportunity to hear from you about your individual areas.

“There were some very interesting issues raised and some common themes throughout the afternoon. I thought it would be helpful to let you know what was discussed and how I have been able to progress some of your suggestions.

“There were some useful ideas around income generation for the trust, one of which was around looking into an onsite gym at North Tees. This has also been raised through our Think Change Save campaign and has been passed to our commercial team to look into the logistics.  There was also quite a detailed discussion around our Musculoskeletal service and what commercial doors this might open for the trust. It’s great to hear about your innovations and I encourage you to keep sharing these ideas with us.

“I had a chat with the chaplaincy team about spirituality in the trust and how we can embed this into our everyday working. We are going to look at making this a fixed agenda item on our Registered Nurse Development Days which will be facilitated by the chaplains.

There were a few concerns raised around recruitment issues, specifically in the Emergency Medicine directorate. I am keen to dispel the rumour circulating around the closure of North Tees’ A&E and I am currently working on this with NHS Improvement and NHS England. There was also a discussion around how we can staff our wards more efficiently utilising our own workforce rather than relying on agency staff. I appreciate that using agency staff to cover shifts is neither value for money or what we would wish as an option to maintain quality and improved patient experience.  We are currently working towards achieving a well-established workforce – through the work of our recruitment centres we currently have a low vacancy rate of 3.8% of our registered nurse workforce.

Further to this, there was a lot of discussion around developing our Associate Practitioners and what potential pathways there might be into the Registered Nurse Training. This prompted a query around the consistency of practice across the trust and I have passed both of these actions to our Director of Nursing, Patient Safety and Quality to look into.

“It was pleasing to hear so many discussions around developing our own services and what transformation looks like for North Tees and Hartlepool. Questions were raised around what the future looks like for orthopaedic outpatients in light of Simon Stevens’ recent comment that “the NHS Outpatients model is obsolete. It is no secret that we are going to have to be forward thinking in our ways of working over the next few years, and I have no doubt that we will have to review our current processes. In line with this, we also discussed the brilliant work of the Rapid Response team and what value they might be able to add to the delivery of care for patients in the community.

“There were some more general discussions around maintenance issues such as air conditioning in A&E which I believe is being looked into. We also discussed the language used in patient letters, specifically those sent from the Overseas Visitors team, and how we can clarify the information and requirements for our patients. There was also the mention of stock management and value for money, which I have asked our Improvement Director to look into.

“Overall, it was a very constructive couple of hours and it was reassuring to hear from staff who share the trust’s vision and are so positive about working at the trust. I hope many more of you join me at the next coffee morning in Hartlepool hospital on 9 August.”

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