This week I was privileged to be given the opportunity to takeover the @NHS Twitter account. Each week the account is hosted by a patient or member of NHS staff to give an insight into their daily life. As you might expect I shared details of some of the work we’ve been doing within the Trust, particularly on leadership development and culture change. It was interesting to participate in discussions on a range of topical issues, from NHS employees and users, across the country.
Yesterday members of the Executive team and Professor Anoop Chauhan held a very positive meeting with the University of Portsmouth. Developing strong relationships with all of our local Universities is vital to the future development of our workforce and is central to the delivery of our strategy. Our partnership with Universities will be critical to ensure the realisation of our research ambitions, as we seek to strengthen multi-professional research across the Trust and embrace technologies which will improve outcomes for patients, while transforming the way we deliver care.
I have spoken before about the diversity of our workforce here in Portsmouth including our colleagues from overseas who make an invaluable contribution to our teams and the care we provide to patients every day. Since September we have welcomed 152 nurses to the Trust, 49 of whom have joined from overseas and I am sure you will join me in providing a very warm welcome to them all. The increase in the number of nurses joining the Trust is great for our existing nursing workforce and again, it is good news for our patients.
As part of our efforts to ensure we continue to welcome colleagues from abroad, I’m pleased to announce that we have decided to pay for the settlement fee, to be introduced from March 2019 for those members of staff who join us from the European Union. We want to make it as easy as possible for staff from the EU to continue to contribute to our workforce and we hope this will go some way to helping with that. All EU staff within the Trust will shortly receive a letter from me confirming our decision and the process for claiming the fee.
I’m also pleased to confirm the appointment of two new Non-Executive Directors to our Board. Martin Rolfe is currently Chief Executive of NATS, the UK’s leading provider of Air Traffic Management services and brings with him a wealth of experience from industry. Roger Burke-Hamilton is a former civil servant with an enviable track record in the technology sector. You can read more about them on our website. Both Martin and Roger will be spending time in the Trust getting to know you and our services so please do say hello if you see them out and about.
Some of you may have received a reminder in the past week about completing your NHS staff survey. Our completion rate across the Trust is currently 51%, which is below what we would like to be, but the good news is that you have almost two weeks left to respond. All of the feedback we receive helps us to ensure that we can continue to respond to the issues you raise and ensure we know when we are getting things right. I have heard concerns from some staff about whether responses are kept confidential. Please be assured that all of your responses are anonymous and cannot be traced back to individuals, so your confidentiality is absolutely guaranteed. The survey is open until the end of the month, (the last posting date is 28 November) so if you haven’t responded please do take the opportunity to have your say as soon as possible. The survey covers all staff groups and it’s important that we hear views from all of you.
On a similar note, it would be remiss of me not to take the opportunity to also remind you to get your flu jab. So far 55.71% of staff have received the flu vaccination. Last year 72% of frontline staff were vaccinated and we are hoping to better that this year ensuring you, our patients and their families are protected. It’s easy to get the vaccine with a number of flu clinics running and ward vaccinators available to come directly to your teams so please don’t delay. If you are having trouble getting access to have your jab, please let you line manager or our Occupational Health team know. We are looking to train more vaccinators as well, so if you are interested, do let us know.
Yesterday we welcomed Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives to the Trust. Gill was visiting as part of Maternity Support Worker week and to support the celebrations for World Prematurity Day. Our midwives very much appreciated her taking the time to meet with them and learn more about the services we are proud to provide to local mums.
When I left the QA site last night, there was a great buzz around the hospital. We have been at Opel 1 for 7 days and we had more than 70 empty beds going into the evening. While we will not be complacent as we head into winter, we should recognise the difference which has been made by many teams across the Trust, by working together to avoid delays for our patients. We have also seen a significant amount of support from our local partner organisations, who have been working to ensure there is capacity in the community to discharge our patients in a timely way
Finally, I will be on leave next week, so there will not be a weekly message in my absence. I’ve asked Dr John Knighton, Medical Director, to cover for me as Acting Chief Executive. Should you need him for anything, please do feel free to contact him.
Thank you for the fantastic care you provide to our patients every day, it is appreciated.