On Wednesday evening I attended the last in our most recent series of public meetings. As you might expect there were some common themes across all of the discussions, including the pressure on the hospital during winter and the staffing challenges we face in some areas, as do many other Trusts across the country. What came across in abundance in all four of the meetings was the level of support among our local community for the hospital and everyone who contributes to caring for our patients.
Our Trust strategy, Working Together, emphasises the central role we have in supporting the health and wellbeing of our local communities and it is important that we take every opportunity to listen to their feedback, share it widely and if necessary adapt how we do things. I would like to thank all those who attended our recent meetings. We will continue to provide a range of opportunities to receive feedback and continue the many helpful conversations we have had to date.
This week brings us to the end of the current financial year, although work began some months ago to ensure our plans are in place for 2019/20. A huge amount of effort goes into producing our annual plan for the year ahead, which sets out what we expect to deliver within the budget we have allocated. Input from Care Groups and services is fundamental to ensuring we can deliver on our commitments. Our financial plans are of course closely linked to the annual plan. We all have a role to play in ensuring we live within our means, and to do so it is important you understand your team’s and department’s financial plans. Over the coming week your leadership teams should be sharing with you details of their delivery savings plans for the year ahead and what your role will be in helping to deliver them. Please take time to familiarise yourself with them.
The first cohort of leaders across the Trust participated in our new senior leadership programme earlier this week. The programme has been designed to support leaders in their various positions, many of whom have taken up new roles, to deliver our strategy over the coming years. The importance of their teams and our Trust values are central to the programme, as we embrace the feedback from our wider cultural change work.
I am aware that nurse staffing has been a challenge in some parts of the Trust, and on certain shifts, over the past few weeks. This is against a backdrop of there being over 40, 000 qualified nurse vacancies across England. Despite the large numbers of vacancies at a national level, we have the fewest number of registered nurse vacancies compared to our neighbouring Trusts. That said, this is little consolation if you are working in a department or on a ward, with a higher volume of temporary staff on certain shifts, and we are fully aware of this.
We have a national recruitment campaign underway and we have already added to our nursing workforce with colleagues from overseas. 55 recruits have joined us since January from India, the Philippines and Barbados. We have another 100 nurses joining before the end of June, and a further 100 joining before Christmas. We have recruited the best talent from overseas and this will enable us to significantly reduce our nursing vacancies while promoting greater stability in many areas. In time this will reduce the frequency of moves for staff across the Trust and importantly, allow greater continuity for our patients.
And finally, Paul Bytheway has decided to step down from his role as Chief Operating Officer. Paul has accepted the role of Chief Operating Officer with University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which is much closer to his family. Paul has brought a great deal of energy to the role, and to the leadership team, while playing a key role in many of the improvements made across the Trust. His leaving date is yet to be confirmed however the process to recruit his successor is underway.
Thank you for all that you do every day, to support the very best care for each of our patients.