Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
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Chief Executive Weekly Message - Friday 31 August 2018
31 August 2018

Dear colleagues,

Our hospital is opening its doors to the public once again this year for our annual Open Day, taking place on Saturday 13th October between 10.30am and 3pm. The day will offer a range of activities, informative stalls, behind-the-scenes department tours and recruitment workshops.  Full details of the day are available on the intranet. Our hospital is at the heart of our community and the Open Day is an important opportunity to connect with them as well as showcase our services and our staff. Please encourage family and friends to come along and if your department isn’t yet involved but would like to be, please email Communications@porthosp.nhs.uk.

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is getting out and about, meeting with many of you and talking to our patients. Last night I had the opportunity to shadow one of our Duty Hospital Managers, Josh Tonks and to work alongside our Site Team. This was a great opportunity to spend another night on the QA site, visiting our wards and departments and having the opportunity to talk about some of the day to day challenges, the improvements we are already making, and the developments underway. As ever, I appreciate the discussions we have and the feedback received. Special thanks go to Josh and the Site Team for hosting me for the night.

Last week a leak occurred in the in-patient CT and MRI scanning department and I would like to pass on my gratitude to all those involved from radiology, infection control and Facilities Management, in getting the service back into use as quickly as possible. Unfortunately the department had to be closed to address the damage, and regrettably a number of outpatient appointments were cancelled. However I am quite sure the disruption to our patients and staff would have been much greater were it not for the efforts of staff to preserve and protect as much of the CT and MRI equipment as possible. Thank you to everyone involved.  

Just three months ago we announced the completion of the Rocky Appeal, which secured the future of robotic surgery at PHT thanks to the generosity of our local community. I’m now delighted to let you know that we have agreed an upgrade to our surgical robot which will give our patients access to a more advanced model of the technology which will help support further developments at the Trust.

The robot is used in a number of surgical specialties including urology, colorectal and head and neck, and we train clinicians from around the world in the use of the technology. Most importantly, access to robotic surgery leads to better outcomes for our patients. In the field of colorectal surgery alone, as a result of using pioneering new robotic techniques we have the best mortality rates in the country (0.5% compared with 2.5% nationally), a lower length of stay than the national average and a much lower rate of recurrence of cancer than the national average. Perhaps of most importance to our patients is that at PHT the chance of having a permanent stoma after a bowel cancer operation is 8.5%, compared to the national average of 21%. All of this underlines the importance of having access to a robot and the upgrade will ensure our patients continue to benefit from the technology and our experience at PHT.

A Listening Into Action event was held this week to explore ways we can drive further quality improvements across PHT with a particular focus on basic standards. The event was hosted by Dr John Knighton and was well attended by teams from across the Trust, with constructive conversations and some strong, recurring themes. We are planning another event specifically targeting frontline clinical staff. We will ensure staff are able to be released to that we can hear more of your thoughts on this important subject.

Yesterday Theresa Murphy, Chief Nurse, Mark Power, Director of Workforce and OD and I met with a number of Ward Managers from across the Trust. They told us about the pressure being felt at ward level as a result of the nursing recruitment challenges we are facing, in common with many other Trusts across the country.

It was clear that we need to strengthen our communication so you are aware of the plans which are being put in place which will help the situation. These include:

  • Our new temporary workforce provider, Bank Partners will be on site from mid September working with NHS Professionals to ensure they can hit the ground running when they take over on 5 November. If you or a member of your team is unclear about what this transition between bank providers looks like, please look out for more information which will be shared imminently about the transition.
  • A provider for a much enhanced rostering system will also be introduced, and we are investigating the introduction of an app to make it easier for all staff to book onto shifts and for managers to manage their rotas. Once implemented, this will reduce much of the administrative burden and duplication I hear a lot about.
  • A number of new nursing recruits will arrive at PHT over the next two months and we look forward to them joining us.
  • We agreed the need to work together to consider the shape of the future nursing workforce, recognising the national shortage of registered nurses. We need to consider how we invest in securing a greater number of nursing apprentices and nursing associate recruits across the Trust. Clearly this is important but not an immediate solution. 
  • We also discussed ways in which we could strengthen our retention efforts in some areas.

More information will be made available next week and I would be grateful if you could share this as widely as possible among your teams. Should you have any queries, please contact your Divisional Nurse Directors or Theresa Murphy, Chief Nurse via Theresa.Murphy@porthosp.nhs.uk   

Thank you for all that you do, day in, day out to support our patients and their families.  


Chief Executive

Mark Cubbon

Working together to drive excellence in care for our patients and communities


Queen Alexandra Hospital
Cosham, Portsmouth
Tel: 023 9228 6000

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