Monday, 19 October 2015

Progress, opportunities and challenges ahead

We recently held the Trust's Annual General Meeting and Principles of Care Awards.  It was great to see more than 200 people there, staff in the main but Governors, members, commissioners and supporters too. 

The AGM is an opportunity to look back at the progress we have made over the last 12 months, whilst also looking forward to the year ahead and the opportunities and challenges that presents.   These things can be a bit dry at times, but we try to keep the presentations informative and concise, whilst delivering some important messages that I want to ensure all staff hear.  

On reflection

As I approach two years being in post, and with last year 2014/15 my first full year in post, I thought I would share a brief reflection on my time as Pennine Care's Chief Executive. At a time when many reports in the media say how difficult and unattractive Chief Executive roles are, for me it remains a privilege and I continue to carry out the role with great pride. I am always mindful that the number one aim of my job is to support staff and help them provide the best care possible. It is probably the most challenging time the NHS has ever faced, it is definitely the most challenging time in my 31 years in the NHS.

And despite the challenges we face, I am humbled on a regular basis by the continued hard work, commitment and care provided by all of the staff I meet as I go about my work. It reminds me each time of the importance of doing the best I can to support dedicated staff, who just want to provide the best patient care possible. I thanked everyone at the AGM and I just want to repeat that thanks here, to all the staff of Pennine Care and those who work closely with the Trust. 

Community care

Our community and mental health services provided care to patients across our six boroughs nearly 2.5 million times last year.  This is a phenomenal figure and shows just how hard our staff are working day in and day out to meet patient needs, during times of increasing demands and pressures.  So thank you to each and every one of you. 

One of the main aims of most of our services is to keep patients from having to go in to hospital, by providing high quality care at home or within the community.  We also have services that allow people to return home more quickly when they have been in hospital.  Not only is this better for the patient, it also delivers cost savings, which is so important in these times of financial challenge we find ourselves in.   

We have recently undertaken an economic evaluation of some of our key services in this area - Butler Green in Oldham, Saffron Ward in Stockport and the Psychiatry Liaison (RAID) service – and together they have achieved 23,164 deflections from hospital and saved the economy £4 million in acute costs in one year alone.   Imagine what could be achieved if we could expand this across all of our towns and even Greater Manchester, which is what we aim to do as part of the Greater Manchester Devolution programme. 

We have also been working closely with commissioners in our towns to implement more integrated approaches to community-based care, involving partnerships with a range of providers and moving towards services working together in neighbourhoods.  This will continue to be a key theme moving forward in order to meet commissioner expectations and deliver our cost and quality improvement strategies.

Staff engagement

Staff engagement has continued to be a major focus over the last year, and of course we made the HSJ and Nursing Times Best Places to Work list.  This is based on the results of the NHS Staff Survey, taking staff feedback to directly measure performance in relation to a number of different areas.  This year’s survey is now out, so please take the time to respond.


Dr Henry Ticehurst, our Trust Medical Director, gave us an overview of the progress that has been made with regards to quality and clinical leadership.  Ensuring the clinical voice is well represented within Pennine Care is essential and the Nursing and Healthcare Professionals Council and associated groups is a key enabler of this and continues to be a growing force within the Trust.  The Care Quality Commission (CQC) placed Pennine Care in the ‘lowest rate of concern’ as part of its new Intelligent Monitoring programme.  Pennine Care was the only mental health provider in Greater Manchester to achieve this rating, which is a testament to our high standards of care and patient safety.


Martin Roe, Exec Director of Finance, also gave a sobering overview of the annual accounts which basically showed that although we have been able to deliver our required financial savings year on year, we realistically only have one more year where financial balance can be achieved.  Martin described 2016/17 as being ‘a watershed year’ both for the Trust and the NHS as a whole, as providers continue to struggle to meet the required efficiency targets set by the Government.  Pennine Care’s overall target is £47.5 million over five years.  Our target for this current year is £7.6 million, which we are forecasting to achieve but this then jumps up to £10 million for the years thereafter, which is much more challenging. 

Principles of Care Awards

To end on a lighter note, I would just like to acknowledge the fantastic achievements of the winners from the Principles of Care Awards.  A video of the winners from each division was shown on the night, which were truly inspirational and remind you what it’s all about – caring people delivering the best care possible to people who need it.  All of the videos are now on the Trust’s YouTube channel, so please take some time to watch them and I hope you find them as moving as I did.  Particularly congratulations to the highly commended Bury learning disabilities dementia team, and the Bury children’s diabetes nurses who were named overall winners. 

The presentation slides from the evening are on the Trust website if you want to review them, or watch this short video clip from the event: 

Thank you

Twitter: @MichaelMcCourt1