Thursday, 30 March 2017

Welcome to & back to ‘team NUH’

Tomorrow, we look forward to welcoming our Estates and Facilities colleagues to (and in many cases back to) ‘team NUH’ following the transfer of services and staff from Carillion back to the Trust.

I don’t underestimate how difficult and unsettling recent months have been for everyone as NUH and Carillion have discussed the future of the contract. Both parties agreed that a managed exit was in the best interests of patients and that this process would be completed by 1 April.

A line in the sand has been drawn. We are now focused firmly on the future and importantly, on improving service standards where this is necessary, including cleanliness at our hospitals.

Our hospitals could not operate without our Estates and Facilities staff. These 1,100 colleagues are valued members of ‘Team NUH’ and play an important role in the Trust’s future as we strive to continue to further improve the experience of our patients, their families and carers.

Over the last month we have recruited more than 50 cleaners, and we look forward to these new colleagues joining NUH over the coming months.

The immediate priority is the safe transfer of services. I know that our ward teams and staff across NUH will make those transferring feel welcome.

There will inevitably be some teething problems as we transfer from one provider to another. We have contingency plans in place to address problems that may arise. We will have people walking the shop floor over the first weekend to offer additional support and I am confident that colleagues, in true NUH style, will pull together to support one another through this transition.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Talking about Safety during National Kitchen Table Week

In my experience, good things happen when people sit down around a table and share their stories. People often feel more comfortable talking in an informal setting where there is a more relaxed atmosphere that fosters a sense of openness and helps to encourage conversation.

This is certainly the case with our Patient Safety Conversations, which are conversations that take place on our wards and other clinical areas across the Trust between Board members and different staff groups, providing a forum where we can listen to safety concerns and understand the day to day frustrations that can get in the way of delivering safe, high quality care to our patients.

This was also the case when I joined the Sign Up to Safety National Kitchen Table Week event at QMC yesterday. The idea is really simple and such events easy to organise. They bring people together, quite literally around what looks like a kitchen table, and give them a space to share their stories about patient safety.

I was delighted that colleagues from so many different parts of our hospital took a seat and talked openly about what’s working well, and also where we can make improvements to keep our patients ever safer. It was clear from the conversations around the table that there are lots of good things happening, and one of the interesting discussions was around how we can share these ‘good things’ more widely, and make them commonplace rather than existing in pockets.

It was also good to hear so many people praising the work of other teams and sharing their own ideas for improving safety and our safety culture. One initiative I wasn’t aware of until yesterday is the Language Café, held in the first week of every month at the NUH Library, in the Education and Conference Centre at City Hospital. The next Language Café is on Tuesday 4 April, 10-11.30am.  This is an opportunity for our overseas staff to get together and share their experiences, enhancing their English in the process. Having worked overseas for a number of years, I know how easy it can be to slip into colloquial expressions – my Swedish colleagues definitely didn’t understand what a “red herring” was, and I’m not sure what they would have made of “the elephant in the room”.  And when I moved to Nottingham, I had no idea what a “fuddle” was, or what people were talking about when they said “Ey oop, me duck”. 

There were also some great examples of care teams working together to improve safety and patient experience, including the multi-disciplinary approach in cardiology, diabetes and gastroenterology, the fantastic work of the preceptorship team in Nursing Development, working with our newly qualified nurses.  I particularly enjoyed hearing from our specialist Parkinson’s Nurses, who provide invaluable support to a growing group of patients, and to the ward staff caring for them. There were similarly some helpful conversations about where we can work together to keep patients safer, with lots of valuable feedback about better supporting staff and improving access to clinical skills teaching and education, and some really helpful insights from our Doctors in Training about differences they have experienced between the practice in our hospitals and in other Trusts across the East Midlands.  Many more examples of good practice that are improving safety were scribbled down and captured as part of the event for sharing more widely.

Everyone around the table said they found it a really useful way of discussing patient safety – and enjoying a break and a biscuit! I look forward to seeing the feedback from the City Hospital Kitchen Table event and other local events around the Trust (well done, Children’s Hospital for hosting four separate events this week), and I hope to see similar events in the future. Evidence shows that creating the right environment for staff to have conversations and feel listened to can create a positive patient safety culture, and NUH is testament to this.


You can follow the conversations from NUH (and wider NHS) during National Kitchen Table Week via @signuptosafety and on Twitter #NKTW2017.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

242 ‘thank you’s’


192 nurses and midwives working across Nottingham’s hospitals have today received well-deserved recognition for delivering exceptional patient care.

Today we have published the full list of nominees for the 2017 Nurse & Midwife of the Year Awards. 242 nominations were received for 192 members of ‘Team NUH.’ Very many congratulations to everyone who has been recognised by their patients and colleagues for your outstanding contributions to patient care. 

To be nominated out of 6,000 nurses and midwives working across our hospitals and in the community (many of you nominated more than once) is a significant achievement of which you can all be proud.

The three most popular categories this year were Adult Nurse of the Year, Midwife of the Year and Nurse/Midwife Leader of the Year. It is great to see so many different names feature in our list of nominees, from all parts of the Trust. And in the year we mark 40 years of QMC, there are 9 long-serving staff who have been recognised by their colleagues for their exceptional contributions over many decades. Our Chief Nurse, Mandie Sunderland, will choose the winner of this special award.

The shortlists for each award will be announced on 12 April when a special supplement will be printed in the Nottingham Post to mark the launch of the public voting period, and the winners will be announced at a special ceremony on 18 May, the same month we mark International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses Day.

For now, many congratulations to each of our nominees. I hope that knowing someone has taken the time to nominate you for what you do for patients and how you do it, gives you a well-deserved boost. We are so fortunate to have nurses and midwives like you working as part of the amazing ‘Team NUH.’

Thank you again for everything you do. Thank you also to the Nottingham Post and Nottingham Express Transit (NET) for making these awards possible. For more information about the awards visit https://www.nuh.nhs.uk/nurse-midwife-of-the-year/, and find the latest updates on Twitter via @nottmhospitals using the hashtag #NAMY2017.

Monday, 20 March 2017

It’s good to reflect & share our experiences

The nature of the work we do at Nottingham’s hospitals means that no two days are ever the same. Each day presents new challenges as well as new reasons to celebrate the work we do.

While we have a wide range of staff groups working across NUH, all bringing different skills, experience and knowledge to the table, actually there is so much we have in common that can help us develop and deepen our understanding, not least the fact that we are all here for the same reason….. our patients.

Schwartz Rounds are a way in which individuals can come together to reflect and discuss their experiences in a confidential space. They are designed to help everyone feel better supported in their work. They are licensed from the Point of Care Foundation following their success at a number of other trusts around the country, where the experience has been that staff who regularly attend Schwartz Rounds feel less stressed and isolated at work.  

The sessions will be run monthly to support colleagues from all disciplines, providing a safe space to reflect on how we provide compassionate help and support to patients, families and visitors and improve their overall experience of our hospitals.  Each session will have a theme, allowing individuals to discuss their emotions and feelings around that particular topic. The first session, which is being held next week on  21st March will focus on ‘My first…’. 

I would encourage everyone to consider attending one of these rounds, and opening themselves (and their colleagues/teams) to this concept.  Find out more by contacting Schwartz@nuh.nhs.uk or by following on Twitter @schwartz_nuh

A better understanding of others will allow us all to have a better understanding of ourselves.

Share your experience of care

As I commented in a recent blog, so many things contribute to good patient care. It’s so much more than the clinical aspects alone. Rather, it’s about how we do every single time a patient comes into contact with our hospitals, from appointment letters, to conversations at reception desks, how easy it is to get parked and how helpful we are over the phone. It’s about how we perform at every stage of our patients’ journey, not just at  the beginning and the end.

As hospital staff, ambulance crews, community nurses and other health professionals across the UK take part in Experience of Care Week – a national awareness raising week to highlight care of not just patients but carers and staff too - I hope to hear about care you have experienced or observed during this week: good or bad.

Throughout the week colleagues across NUH will be encouraged to highlight how they and their teams are striving to improve patient experience. 

I would love to hear from patients, relatives and staff about your experiences. I know there so much out there to celebrate, as well of course as areas in which we can always do better.

Last week I joined staff on Ward C5 at QMC to help as a dining companion, serving breakfast as part of Nutrition and Hydration Week. There is no substitute for spending time with frontline colleagues and with patients and I was delighted that so many non-clinical staff took the opportunity to do so too. While I was there I saw many examples of good experiences of care, and heard directly from patients how they felt safe, cared for and confident in their treatment at our hospitals. 


Why not tweet your experience and stories to @nottmhospitals using the hashtag #ExpofCare – whether you’re a patient, carer, relative or a member of TeamNUH. We look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

DAISY has arrived at NUH!

Sightings of daisies on social media, on our wards, and being worn by our nursing and midwifery leaders are about more than just the arrival of Spring.

They herald another significant development for nursing and midwifery, and recognise the exceptional contribution made by nursing and midwifery staff at our hospitals.

We already do much to recognise and thank our nursing and midwifery teams, not least through the Nurse and Midwife of the Year Awards, a partnership with Nottingham Express Transit (NET) and the Nottingham Post, and our annual celebrations of nurses and midwives as we mark International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses’ Day.

But there’s always more we can do. And this is where DAISY comes in.

Today we welcome Cynthia Sweeney, Executive Director of the DAISY Foundation to NUH.

The DAISY programme provides a way for us to recognise the clinical skill and compassion that our nursing and midwifery staff show to their patients and their families/carers all year round.

Significantly, NUH is set to become the first acute trust in England to adopt the DAISY foundation recognition programme, which includes the DAISY Award for extraordinary nursing and midwifery staff. This is part of our Magnet journey – which is our ambition to become one of the first hospital trusts in the country to be accredited for excellence in nursing and midwifery care.

Thank you to the Nottingham Hospitals Charity for supporting our Magnet journey and allowing us to build on the work we do to recognise our exceptional staff.

Staff can find out more about DAISY by emailing DAISY.Awards@nuh.nhs.uk or by following on Twitter @NUHNursing @nuhstaff #NUHDAISY.

May is going to be quite a month. As we mark International Nurses’ and Midwives’ Days, announce our 2017 Nurse and Midwife of the year winners….. and now our first DAISY Award winner.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Food for thought……. Caring so much more than medicine

Caring at its best is so much more than just looking after patients’ clinical needs.

The small things matter, from the way we talk to and introduce ourselves to patients to holding a patients’ hand to let them know we care. And ensuring patients get the nutrition and hydration they need when in hospital is equally important.

This week we mark national Nutrition and Hydration Week; raising awareness of the importance of food and drink in the recovery and overall experience of our patients.

Throughout the week we will focus on a different theme each day. Tomorrow morning, with Caroline Shaw, our Chief Operating Officer, I look forward to joining one of the ward teams at QMC as a “Dining Companion”. This involves non-clinical staff (including Board members) helping to serve meals at breakfast, lunch and dinnertime. Having extra pairs of hands at mealtimes will help us all to spend more time with patients, including those who need extra help and support. It is also an opportunity for Board Members to listen to staff and patients to get their thoughts on what more we can do to further improve nutrition and hydration for our patients.

Other themes that will feature during the week include ‘Big Breakfast’, which is all about making time for the most important meal of the day and ‘Fruity Friday’, where patients and staff are encouraged to eat their five a day. Patients and staff will also take part in an afternoon tea party, where we will celebrate food and drink and talk about how treats can contribute to the balanced diet many of our patients need when in hospital.

NUH is a vital part of our local community. Our Dietetics and Nutrition team will be collecting items for local foodbanks and helping to educate members of the local community on how being well-nourished helps keep people healthy and better able to manage health conditions. Staff and visitors can support this cause and the local community by donating any store cupboard items to the collection boxes which can be found in the restaurants at each of our hospitals.


Food for thought this Nutrition & Hydration Week ……….. follow @nuhstaff @NHWeek #NHW2017.