At the start of the week I took a day out of the office with my executive team colleagues to do some reflecting and forward planning. It was a really good day and a chance for us to talk about our organisational position and agree a sense of priorities, certainly for the medium-term anyway. We will be taking this early thinking into a full board strategy session next week, which will then inform a business planning day on 24 November, involving around 100 of our leaders and managers. I will continue to keep staff up to date as plans become more concrete, which will likely be in the New Year.
Staff will be aware that we have this year planned a deficit financial position of -£6.6m, whilst also needing to implement a number of quality improvements following the last two rounds of CQC inspection, particularly on mental health wards. It is likely that the deficit will further increase next year to as much as -£16m.
It is well reported that trusts up and down the country are facing financial struggles, but we do need to make changes in order to move forward. It is clear coming into the organisation that year on year cost improvements are beginning to impact on quality, as highlighted in the CQC inspections. Our Board have recognised the need to invest in improving quality, in areas such as safe staffing, and this is one of the reasons why we are planning to have such a large deficit next year.
However, we know that we will need to consider how we can improve our position going forwards and return to financial balance. We cannot resolve these problems alone and are working with our commissioners and other key partners to address them. I met with colleagues from NHS Improvement this week to discuss the matter and they will be working closely with us to agree the improvements necessary. I believe this is the catalyst for change we need to really get the system behind us and ensure we can move forward with additional help and support. Watch this space for now.
Lastly, I was unable to visit community services in Rochdale on Tuesday - sorry to the teams that were expecting me! I will ensure the date goes back into the diary as soon as possible.
That’s about it for now…
Claire Molloy, Chief Executive