I enjoyed being out and about this week as part of the Executive Team’s ‘Working Together’ programme. The main purpose is to see and hear how things are going for you as individuals, but also for your teams and services.
One of the themes of discussion from the ward areas I visited this week was staffing. This was related to some areas experiencing difficulties filling certain shifts due to the availability of temporary staff over the summer holiday period, or there were stories of positive impact following our successful nurse recruitment campaign. We have been working with Bank Partners to provide support to those departments with immediate pressures and we expect to be back to normal soon. We are also expecting the substantive nursing position to continue to improve month-on-month, for the rest of the calendar year.
This week we welcomed 29 new international nurses to the organisation, we have 32 starting in September, and we are delighted that we have a further 70 joining us before Christmas. This will be in addition to the 30 newly qualified nurses joining us between now and the end of October. The additional nurses we have recruited will add greater stability to many teams and departments, but ultimately, this allows us to provide greater continuity of care to our patients.
This week has been a busy week, with relatively high numbers of patients attending our Emergency Department (ED) for this time of year. Our ability to accommodate an additional volume of patients has been made more difficult due to the staffing challenges I have already mentioned, but also the greater number of patients across our wards who are awaiting ongoing care in the community. We will continue to do all we can to improve the position, while working with our colleagues in the community to respond to the pressures.
You may well have read or heard reports of an ongoing national shortage of intravenous feed supplies, due to changes made to the production process by a national supplier. This has affected small groups of patients and hospitals, across various parts of the country, but the impact has been minimised significantly for our patients, due to the incredible work of our Pharmacy, Dietetics and Gastroenterology teams. They have worked relentlessly to ensure the continued supply to those of our patients who rely on intravenous home feeding and I’m hugely grateful for the outstanding teamwork they have demonstrated.
Finally, on Friday we had the opportunity to show one of our local MPs, Stephen Morgan, around our ED. Dr Eliot Wilkinson, Clinical Director, showed Stephen around and talked about the improvements his team have been making since his last visit. Dr Kate Hardy and France Wiseman also joined us to talk about the progress we’re making with our Transforming Emergency Care project, and the plans to rebuild the ED. Stephen was one of the key stakeholders who supported our bid for investment in the project and I’m delighted that he took the time to visit us once again.
Thank you for your contribution to the outstanding teamwork we see across many departments every day, for the benefit of our patients and other members of the PHT team.