Happy New Year to you all. I hope you were able to have some time with family and friends over the festive period. Of course the NHS doesn’t close for Christmas, so I’d like to say a big thank you to our staff who were still in work providing patient care.
It is proving to be a particularly brutal winter and the pressure on the NHS is greater than ever. I know many of our teams are doing all they can to treat patients at home and in the community to help reduce the pressure on local hospitals. One of the biggest causes of pressure this year are people with respiratory illnesses and flu, so we can all do our bit by having our flu jab. Whilst the national average uptake for healthcare staff is 59%, unfortunately our Trust uptake falls short at 44%. Please do have the vaccination if you haven’t already. It really does make a difference in preventing the spread of this nasty illness.
The start of the year is the perfect time to refocus and make some resolutions for what we need to change, in life and work. At Pennine Care we’ve got a year of significant change, challenge and improvement ahead, starting with some intensive work over the next three months.
Any change or improvement starts with having an honest assessment of where things currently stand. So, it is key that over the next few months we collectively try to crystallise what we think needs to change and how we will go about it. This applies both on the frontline and across the organisation as a whole. With this in mind, the Board has recently commissioned an independent ‘well-led’ review to be undertaken over January and February as one of the ways of identifying where we need to improve and to provide an objective analysis of how we operate.
The review will look at several areas including whether we have a credible strategy, our culture, leadership particularly at Executive and Board level, how we learn and improve and how engaged staff are. The Board already has a sense of some of the areas we need to improve, but as well as hearing from the Board the review team will also be analysing data and information; visiting some frontline services and interviewing other senior leaders to get a fully rounded picture. This is an opportunity for you to help me and the Board shape what needs to change, so I would encourage everyone involved in this to be as honest and frank as you can. We are only going to be able to move forward and improve the way we do things if we know how things really are.
At the same time, we are also starting to formulate plans to conduct a cultural audit. Our organisational culture has a direct impact on how we function, behave and ultimately provide patient care. I think it is important that we have a comprehensive view of how our current culture is, both positive and negative attributes, so we can then work together to shape a culture that is open, supportive and patient-focused. Of course we need to involve the whole workforce in this audit, so we will build in information we have previously collected as well as potentially holding a number of CEO-led staff listening events to gather your views and insights.
So here’s to a productive year ahead and thank you greatly for your continued hard work.