Friday, 22 December 2017

Thank you and best wishes for the festive season

As the end of the year approaches it provides an opportunity for reflection, thanks and a look forward.

2017 has been a particularly significant year for Pennine Care with many achievements and challenges along the way.  Some of the most notable things to happen have included posting a financial deficit for the first time; strengthening joint working arrangements with commissioners; moving forward with the CQC/quality improvement plan; mobilising the Manchester Resilience Hub in response to the Manchester Arena attack; implementing the new operating model to create locality groups and combining mental health and specialist, as well as the appointment of a new Chief Executive and Chair.  So it’s been a pretty eventful year! 

Despite the amount of change and challenge facing the organisation as a whole, our staff have continued to work tirelessly to provide care to patients.  This applies to those in clinical roles and enabling support roles.  In fact, staff couldn’t be working harder and many services are running over capacity.  I’ve talked about the need to redress the balance between demand and quality previously and this will continue to be a priority theme into next year. 

When I joined Pennine Care in September, I said that I wanted to refocus on staff engagement because I believe that if we properly look after our staff, we will in turn provide the best care to patients.  From speaking with many of you, there is clearly a great deal of passion and commitment from staff, who put in a lot of discretionary effort, but there is a sense of people being quite tired and weary.  My overall impression is that staff do like working here and there is a strong sense that people are really up for a new approach to take us into the future.  Improving how we support and develop our workforce will also be a key priority for 2018.  

This year we have also held our largest ever giving back campaign to provide those less fortunate with food and gifts over the festive season.  The response from staff has been phenomenal, everyone has been extremely generous.  We raised £150 from the Christmas jumper day, donated 35 Christmas shoeboxes to homeless appeals and made many considerable donations to food banks around the Trust footprint, enough to fill 58 car boots! 

I would like to thank each and every one of you, staff, volunteers and supporters alike, for your continued hard work and commitment over the last 12 months, it hasn’t been an easy journey but there is much to be proud of.  I want to continue to build on our success into the next year and work more closely together across the Trust to overcome the challenges we face. 

I wish you all the very best for the festive season, especially to those working over the Christmas period.  I look forward to working with you all in the New Year.

Many Thanks

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive

T: @ClaireMolloy2

Friday, 8 December 2017

Delivering on our intent

I’d like to start off by saying thank you to everyone who took the time to read or respond to last week’s blog – it has been viewed nearly 1600 times and I have received direct feedback and comments from around 40 members of staff.  

If you haven’t read it, the post basically talks about how we need to strike a better balance between the capacity and demand on services, so we no longer compromise on quality standards.  Too often our services are being stretched too thinly to meet increasing demands.   It obviously struck a chord with many of you and I am very appreciative of you taking the time in your busy working lives to read the blog and comment. We just have to deliver on this intent now!

As I mentioned, we have started to address these issues with commissioners and a key meeting is being held next week between our executive team and the chief officers from our clinical commissioning groups to discuss the approach we would like to take and to put some stakes in the ground. We need to find ways of supporting our managers and clinical leaders to have some of these conversations too, within a framework but knowing we have your back.  Whilst it may involve complex negotiation, I am determined that we will be driven first and foremost by quality standards that ensure our services are safe.  

Because we know this will involve transformational change, we need to find ways of bringing the leadership of the organisation together to have those difficult discussions about how to tackle our financial challenges in such a way that we don’t compromise quality. To support our collective leadership, I will be holding a workshop next week involving our managing directors and senior leads to agree how we will approach this. As you know, the Board has agreed to run a deficit for this year and next and we know we can’t improve the financial position by simply top slicing budgets further and further. But we do need to explore how we can deliver our quality aspirations in an affordable way.  

The Board and the Council of Governors had a workshop this week to go over some of the Trust’s main priorities.  I have talked about these in my blogs before, but this includes:
  • being clearer about our long term strategy; 
  • implementing priorities around quality, people, partnerships, money and infrastructure; 
  • and changing the way the organisation is run to create a positive culture of learning and improvement.
It was a welcome opportunity to work more closely with our Governors as representatives of people who use of our services and it was helpful to listen to their views.  We had a particular focus on progress on delivering our CQC Improvement Plan and in particular, the need to address mixed sex accommodation issues on our mental health wards. I am keen to ensure we continue to have an open, co-production approach with the Governors, involving them in future service redesign.

Finally, because I had such a good response to the last blog, I am really keen to hear from staff about what other topics you think are important.  Whilst my blog is an opportunity for me to tell you what I’m up to, it is a platform for you to ask for comment or feedback on burning issues.  If you have anything you think staff would like to know more about, do drop me an email to let me know. 

Many thanks

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive 


Friday, 1 December 2017

No more compromises on quality

Over the last few weeks I’ve been hearing some pretty strong messages coming from staff about the pressures they are under, facing increasing demands and a never ending flow of referrals.  From talking with clinical leaders and managers at the planning day last week, I heard lots of examples of where services are stretched too thinly and as a result you aren’t able to provide the safe and high quality levels of care you want to.     

We have very caring and committed staff who want to do their very best for people who use our services and I know you have been very accommodating in trying to stretch services to meet increasing demand. But it is not acceptable for our services to be stretching caseloads beyond their means without this being recognised with additional resources. This isn’t good for our staff, it certainly isn’t good for patients and it hides a fundamental problem of a mismatch between the expectations of our services and available resources. 

So what are we going to do about it? 

As a start, we need to be having a different conversation with our commissioners about what we can provide within the resources we are given, as is starting to happen at a national level about the total funding the NHS has.  We should not be trying to meet greater and greater demand, with an expectation we can continue to provide everything we currently do, if this means we are providing a lesser standard of care.  There should be no more compromises on quality. 

In order to change things, we are beginning to have this conversation with our commissioners about the quality, financing and demands of our services.  We have signaled an intent to agree some clear and fixed standards of quality for all of our services and to co-produce with staff and our commissioners a service offer that ensures we can deliver to these standards. 

This may mean not being able to provide everything we currently do. I know how difficult it is for staff to say ‘no’ when all you want to do is provide care and support to everybody who needs it.  But if it isn’t safe or affects quality, then we are going to have some difficult discussions about a different service offer and what we potentially won’t be able to do. So, agreeing these standards, thresholds and pinch points needs to be a clinically-led discussion, in collaboration with our commissioners, service users and local communities.

As a starting point, we are currently working on putting some quality principles into our contracts for next year for those services that are struggling the most, which includes our mental health wards, district nursing and community mental health teams.  This will provide us with a lever through which to start negotiations about what resources these services need in order to meet demand and provide safe, high quality care.  It also means that staff can be clearer about what is and isn’t acceptable and are empowered to escalate when safety or quality is being impacted.  

These improvements won’t happen overnight, but I want to reassure staff that you have the full support of the Board to address the challenges facing you on the frontline.  We need to support you to get back to providing the very best care you can, without compromise. 

I’d be really interested in hearing your thoughts about this, so do email with any feedback.

Many Thanks

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive 

Monday, 27 November 2017

My week: Things are starting to take shape

I’ve now been in post for a couple of months and things are really starting to take shape.  But I don’t have a grand plan to unveil, that’s something we all need to co-produce together.  

After spending time with board last week, I have this week been part of a strategic planning event involving around 100 of our senior clinical leaders and managers from across the Trust.  It’s the first time in a while people have been brought together on this scale and it was fantastic for me to be able to hear directly from each division about their achievements, successes and future plans. 

I was able to share some of my own early reflections with our collective leaders... there is clearly a great deal of passion and commitment from staff who put in a lot of discretionary effort, but there is a sense of people becoming a bit tired and weary.  Also, whilst Pennine Care has until this year been able to successfully meet its financial savings targets, this has come at some expense to maintaining quality levels, which we need to address.  The devolved operating model is viewed positively in general, although there isn’t a strong sense of an integrated organisational identity.  I’ve also observed that clinical and professional leadership is less obvious within the organisation.  Overall, from the many conversations I’ve had with people, staff do generally like working here and there is a strong sense that people are really up for a new approach to take us into the future, which is great for me.

Taking all of this into account, I have been working with colleagues to start to develop our priorities, which include revising our strategy with a clearer narrative and business plan, as well as focusing on organisational effectiveness, which is about our culture and how we run the trust.  I have also started to work on some early delivery priorities, which are under the general themes of quality, people, partnerships, money and infrastructure.  I’ll share more about all of this soon and plan to come out to test the thinking out with frontline staff too.

I also attended the Joint Negotiating and Consultation Committee away day this week, following on from an informal meeting with Partnership Officer last week.  Again, this was really useful and further cemented the importance of this group in navigating the challenges facing staff and services.  We had an open and frank discussion between Partnership Officers, representatives and managers, with a heavy focus on the future roll of this committee in listening to staff concerns, resolving them and providing a valuable forum to shape our people plan and approach. 

Many Thanks


Claire Molloy
Chief Executive 

T: @PennineCareNHS

Friday, 17 November 2017

My week: Staff side, consultants and board time out


It’s been a pretty significant week in terms of progress and developments.  I met with the staff side partnership officers on Monday and we had a very honest discussion about their perspectives on what it’s like to work at the Trust and the challenges faced by staff.  It was good to hear from them and I am encouraged that we will develop a good working relationship.  I consider that our Partnership Officers have a critical role within the organisation and I value hugely their contribution and role that the Joint Negotiating and Consultation Committee plays. To this end, I will be attending a development session with the Joint Negotiating and Consultation Committee (JNCC) members next week and will endeavour to attend future JNCC meetings.  

I also met with Lisa Ryder, our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian on Monday.  Lisa’s role is about supporting staff to raise and handle issues effectively and helping create a culture of openness where staff are encouraged to speak up, lessons are learnt and care improves as a result.  I was very assured by Lisa’s approach to the role and would encourage staff to get in touch with her if they had any concerns they wanted to raise in confidence and didn’t feel able to raise through other routes. 

I also spent time meeting with over 60 of our medical consultants as part of their away day this week.  It was an opportunity to share some of my emergent thoughts with them and test what we need to do for the future.  This particularly included the need to strengthen clinical and professional leadership.  In order to build a clinically-led organisation, we need to have visible and strong clinical leaders and the appetite from the consultant body to support this was great.  Thanks for inviting me, I enjoyed talking with you! 

I mentioned last week that the board would be taking some time out to focus on the Trust’s future strategy.  We started the session on Wednesday afternoon and Jon Rouse, Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, joined us to give an overview of the direction for Greater Manchester and explore with us Pennine Care’s future role within the system. 

We then spent all of Thursday considering our future direction and organisational development priorities. After a lot of hard work we are really starting to see things come together now.  We will need further work to develop and refine things and then we are planning to hold some staff engagement sessions in the New Year to test our thinking out with staff and give you an opportunity to help shape our direction of travel.  Watch this space for more detailed information about this important agenda.

I’ll be ending the week today (Friday) by meeting with Theresa Grant, Chief Executive of Trafford Council, to discuss how things are going in Trafford and exchange ideas.  

So all in all it’s been a pretty packed week but I can see that things are really starting to take shape now.

Thanks as ever for reading,


Claire Molloy
Chief Executive
T: @ClaireMolloy2

Friday, 10 November 2017

My week: Planning ahead and sustainability

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 


Friday, 3 November 2017

My week: Oldham, Rochdale, Governors and partners


I’ve had the opportunity to get out and about and spend time with different clinical services over the last few days, which has been brilliant. 

Last Friday, I spent time with community services in Oldham and was incredibly impressed with the advances they have made with integration.  I learnt about the adults cluster team model in Oldham West where adult nursing, primary care and social care staff are fully integrated and collocated.  I also visited the fantastic staff at Butler Green and heard how they have grown from a single unit to a whole intermediate care pathway, including a rapid response team and discharge team working in the hospital.  I also visited some of the children’s nursing and therapies teams in Oldham, who again have very well established pathways and examples of integrated working.   

I’ve also visited mental health services at our Birch Hill site in Rochdale this week, spending time with staff at Beech ward, Moorside and Hollingworth ward.  I listened to the stories from staff and the daily challenges they face when caring for people with complex mental health needs.  These jobs are not easy and we need to help by improving the ward environment.  This is being picked up through our estates improvement plan but I recognise that we need to move forward at a quicker pace, led by the clinical teams. 

After spending time in both mental health and community services, I was struck by how well services are moving forward in their specific localities and service lines, but not necessarily together as a combined physical and mental health offer.  With us all being part of the same organisation there is definitely room for improvement on how we work closer together, under the whole person care ethos.

We have this week had our first Strategic Partnership Board with commissioners and partners sat round the table.  It is chaired independently by Jon Rouse, chief officer of the GM Health and Social Care Partnership.  The purpose of the meeting is to help partners appreciate the challenges faced by the trust and jointly own responsibility for moving things forward. 

I attended my first full Council of Governor’s meeting and was able to share some of my early thoughts on observations, whilst also hearing from them.  I’ve also had very productive meetings with some of our key external partners Karen James (Chief Executive at Tameside Integrated Care) and Steven Pleasant (Chief Executive Tameside Council) and separately Gaynor Mullins (Chief Clinical Officer at Stockport CGG).  I’ve also met with Colin Scales (Chief Executive at Bridgewater NHS Trust) to talk about opportunities for networking and sharing between our community teams.

So all in all it’s been another very busy but productive week.  I am certainly getting to know people around the trust and would like to thank everyone for continuing to make me feel welcome.

Thank you

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive



Friday, 27 October 2017

Update from Claire Molloy, Chief Executive

Having just returned from holiday on Wednesday it’s been a short but action-packed week for me.  

My first day back was straight into my first formal Trust board meeting - you can read my Chief Executive’s report and the board papers on the Trust website.

A significant discussion focused on how we take forward a refresh of the Trust’s business strategy, our identity, our services and the part we play in the wider health and social care system. 

We’ve got some Board time-out planned in November to work on this further and there will be opportunities for staff to be involved over the next few months. 

It was also good to see our new Chair Evelyn Asante-Mensah attend the board meeting in preparation for commencing in post from 1 November. 

I also attended a thank you and farewell lunch for current Chair John Schofield.  I would like to thank John for his support in welcoming me to Pennine Care, for his immeasurable contributions over the last 10 years and wish him well for the future.

On Thursday I chaired a meeting called the Quality Improvement Board, which has all of our executive team members and senior partners round the table to shape our strategy in response to the CQC inspection, recognising that many of the recommendations we need to make require collaboration.  Two of the big discussion points were on mixed sex accommodation and safer staffing on our inpatient wards. 

I am spending today (Friday) out visiting frontline services and the local management team for the Oldham locality.  I’ll talk more about this in my update next week.

I hope you find these short updates a useful way of keeping up with Trust priorities and progress, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on more plans over the coming months as they develop.

Many Thanks,

Claire Molloy
Chief Executive

Twitter: @ClaireMolloy2 

Friday, 6 October 2017

"Thank you for making me feel so welcome"

It is widely recognised that the first 100 days of a new Chief Executive are really important. It’s that short period of time that you have when people still afford you the luxury of calling you ‘new’ and look with interest at your approach and style. It is also a time when you are most able to be open about what is needed going forward, influenced by people who work in and with the organisation.

I am obviously only a short way into my first 100 days so it’s still early days. However, as I near the end of my fourth week with Pennine Care, I thought I could usefully share some reflections of my first 100 hours in post.

I have had a lovely warm welcome – everyone has been friendly and positive about me being here, which always helps!  So, thank you for making me so welcome.

I have also been struck by what a hugely talented and committed workforce we have. I attended the Annual General Meeting last week and was simply blown away by the enthusiasm and passion of the teams and individuals talking about their services on the stalls in the market place. And then the CARES Awards themselves were just so moving and inspirational. I watched the videos of the divisional winners being quite in awe of the effort that people were going to and the massive positive impact this had for people at the heart of those services. I only managed not to shed a tear or two with the pure emotion they evoked by dint of being in a public place!  

The fact that it was such a hard task selecting the winners and that we had 61 applications means that across the organisation we obviously have some brilliant teams and services which we need to find ways of hearing about and recognising.  Because, as I said in my welcome video, if we get it right for staff we will probably get it right for people who use our services. This will form a key underpinning principle of my approach going forward, with a strong focus on creating a positive, open and learning culture, where we make it easy for people to do their jobs and make the most of the talent we have.

We know the improvements we need to make on the back of the CQC inspection and are committed to these, but we also need to create an approach to innovation and improvement more widely. There are undoubtedly lots of pockets of great practice and support available to help people with improvement work. What I see as a priority is bringing this together in a clear way so that this becomes the way we do things around here.

I’ve been spending time meeting people inside and outside of the trust.  For me, these early days are a crucial time to learn, absorb and reflect.  I’ll be spending a day visiting services and leadership teams in each locality over the next few weeks.  My first visit was in Trafford yesterday and it was fantastic to hear about their integration journey for bringing together adults and children’s health and social care services. 

I am also delighted to have announced the appointment of our new Trust Chair, Evelyn Asante-Mensah.  Evelyn is an outstanding candidate and brings a wealth of different experience to further enhance our board.  This new leadership signals an important change for Pennine Care and together we will build on the Trust’s strengths, whilst also considering a new future direction and different ways of working.  It is a very exciting time for Pennine Care!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I’ll be posting further blogs and updates about things I am looking at over the coming weeks.

Best wishes

Claire Molloy 
Chief Executive

Twitter: @ClaireMolloy2

Monday, 11 September 2017

Hello from Claire Molloy, Chief Executive

Today has been my first day as Chief Executive of Pennine Care.  I am very pleased to be here and am looking forward to meeting staff and patients over the coming weeks and months.  I’ve already had a walk round today to start to meet with people. 

I’ve also filmed a short welcome message, which you can view on the Trust website.

I have over 20 years’ experience in the NHS, working a variety of roles across different settings.  For the last four years, I have been Chief Executive at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which has many similarities to Pennine Care, as a provider of both community and mental health services across multiple boroughs.  

Community and mental health care is a particular passion, which was of course one of the major attractions of the role.  Pennine Care offers something unique as a provider in Greater Manchester and we need to make sure we use this to benefit our patients and the wider health and social care system.  This will continue to be a key part of our approach and strategy moving forward, ensuring we protect and maintain our services. 

I know Pennine Care has fairly recently reviewed its Strategic Plan, but I want to spend some time looking over our strategy and providing a clear simple story about our future direction.  It’s really important that people understand who we are, what we are about and how they contribute. 

In keeping with this, I am a firm believer that if we properly look after staff, we will in turn provide the best possible care to patients.  So I am really looking forward to working with you to make Pennine Care a great place to work and a place you can be proud of.  I know lots of good work is already happening in relation to this, but it is something that I will be taking a personal interest in.  

I will also be spending some time getting to know our partners and external key stakeholders to build good relationships.  This includes stakeholders within each of the six towns we serve, as well as at a Greater Manchester level.   

I’ve already got quite a lot of meetings and events arranged and will be coming out to meet with staff on the frontline over the coming weeks and months.  I’ll be sending out regular updates but would really like to hear your thoughts and ideas too.  

You can follow me on Twitter @ClaireMolloy2 or email 

Best wishes, 


Claire Molloy
Chief Executive  

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

"It is a testament to their unwavering commitment to providing the best possible care to patients" - visit to Bury walk in centre

I recently visited the team at Bury walk in centre.  They’ve had a difficult time of late due to mounting staffing pressures, which has meant the centres at Bury and Prestwich have been having to close on some days.  

There has been some uncertainty around the future of the centres following a review of urgent care across Bury but Bury Clinical Commissioning Group has recently announced that the centres at Prestwich and Bury will remain operational until at least 31 March 2018, whilst further plans are formulated.  The CCG has been working with Pennine Care and GP provider BARDOC to develop proposals to stabilise service delivery at both centres until this date.  As a result, Prestwich is now being managed by BARDOC and Bury will continue to be managed by Pennine Care.  This is a welcome move, as it means our staff will be able to continue to safely provide a consistent service to local patients. 
Just to confirm the opening hours are as follows:
  • Bury walk in centre: 7am to 3pm*, seven days a week - First floor Moorgate Primary Care Centre, 22 Derby Way, Bury, BL9 0NJ
  • Prestwich walk in centre, 12pm to 8pm*, seven days a week - Fairfax Road, Prestwich M25 1BT
* The last appointment is 30 minutes prior to closing to enable staff to appropriately and effectively assess people.
We will continue to support the team whilst the urgent care review is ongoing.  I recently met with the Bury North MP James Frith to talk about the walk in centres and what efforts the trust is taking to ensure they remain open.  It was a positive discussion and one I am sure will be revisited once future plans are confirmed.
Despite the challenges facing them, the clinical and management team have shown great resilience and determination.  They shared many examples of where staff have gone over and above to make sure the centres could open.  It is a testament to their unwavering commitment to providing the best possible care to patients.  

Thank you,

Martin Roe
Chief Executive (Acting)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

"We’ve come a long way and I’m thankful for that" - reflecting on LGBT Pride Month

As you may be aware, every June is the official LGBT Pride Month in celebration of people of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other gender minorities. 

Celebrations happened around the world and across the UK in commemoration of the Stonewall riots of June 28 1969. This year holds extra significance as the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality between men in England and Wales, which forms the foundation of LGBT equality across the UK.

As a gay man myself, I have taken some time to reflect on how far we’ve come as a society and the progress that has been made, from the persecution and prosecution of men before the 1967 act just for being who they are, moving towards a society where men and women are free to marry their chosen partners and be recognised in law, enjoying equal rights; and a UK Parliament that has 45 openly LGBT MPs.

We’ve come a long way and I’m thankful for that and ask that all of us, no matter our gender, gender identity, preferences or views respect all, treating everyone as equals and enjoy the rich diversity of our work colleagues at Pennine Care.

If you would like to get involved we are supporting Manchester Pride this year, as we do every year.  We also have Equality & Diversity and LGBT Network Groups that also meet regularly, which welcome all staff.

Please contact Michelle England, staff side representative or Kirsty Hood, senior HR business partner, for further details. 

Thank you.

Jose Fernandez
Director of Workforce and Organisational Development

Monday, 10 July 2017

An example of integrated care – my visit to ORCAT

We hear a lot about health services changing to become more ‘integrated’. Put simply, this means working closely together so the care patients receive is more joined up.

At Pennine Care, we are working with partner organisations across our footprint to integrate more services and improve patient experience. I recently visited the ORCAT service – a perfect example of this.

ORCAT (or Oldham Rapid Community Assessment Team) was set up by the Oldham Urgent Care Alliance. Pennine Care is a key member of the alliance, which is a partnership of 10 health, care and voluntary sector organisations developed to improve outcomes for local people by enhancing current services.

ORCAT works closely with colleagues at The Royal Oldham Hospital, including those in the A&E department, to react quickly and prevent people from being admitted to hospital if they can be supported at home with the right professional help. Once at home, the team takes a partnership approach to assessment and care planning to understand what level of support the individual may need to live as safely and independently as possible.

It consists of therapists, nurses, health care assistants and mental health practitioners from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, social workers from Oldham Council, and a Promoting Independence in People (PIP) support worker from Age UK Oldham, who have been brought together to work as one multi-agency team.

As well as preventing people from being admitted to hospital by identifying them early, the team works closely with hospital-based nurses, doctors, discharge coordinators and the RAID mental health liaison team to also support patients who have been admitted to the wards who could be discharged early with the support of the service. 

I met with three members of the team - Cathy, Rachel and Claire – as many others were out and about supporting people at the hospital or in their homes.

It was a really good afternoon; we talked through the service model which was brought to life by patient stories that illustrated the support not only for the patient but for families and carers as well.

Everyone talked about how great the ‘team’ feel was and the fact that each member’s contribution was of equal value to the end outcome. The team really valued the input of the Age UK PIP worker, which makes a huge difference to the team’s success.

The team has worked very hard to build relationships with colleagues in the local hospital and over the past few months things have really moved on in terms of embedding the service.  However, they acknowledged there is still some way to go with raising profile for GPs, so that they understand the potential for people to be supported at home by the team. The GPs who they do work with are really impressed with the support the team is able to mobilise at pace and the range of issues that they are equipped to deal with. 

There were, of course, a few frustrations felt by the team – these were mostly around the type of things that can add delay to discharges. Overall, it was lovely to hear that all three staff were enthusiastic, energetic and said they really enjoyed their job and went home knowing that they’d made a real difference to someone’s life.

While I was there, I noticed a compliment that had been sent in by a relative. With the team’s permission, I wanted to include a snippet of it in this blog as I think it really demonstrates how the team can support people:

“Immediate support following discharge from hospital of my 94 year old father… ORCAT is a fantastic service and were a lifeline to our family. All the ORCAT workers who supported my father combined efficiency and knowledge of care for the elderly with kindness, patience and encouragement. They were excellent. The service is well coordinated, ensuring effective care was in place from day 1 after discharge. This is the health service at its best. *Gold Star*

I went away feeling really upbeat and very impressed with the dedication and values that shone through the staff I spoke with. Thanks to Claire, Cathy and Rachel for meeting with me.

Judith Crosby
Executive Director of Service Development and Sustainability

Monday, 5 June 2017

My visit to the children's community nurses in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale

I recently went to visit the Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale (HMR) children’s community nurses based at Callaghan House in Heywood.

For background, the nurses are part of our HMR Children’s Acute and Ongoing Needs Service, which was launched in September last year to bring together a range of community services for children and young people and make them accessible through a single point of access (SPOA).

During my visit, I was keen to see how the team was finding the new service arrangement. I was pleased to hear that the bringing together of the children’s specialisms in the borough is working well and seems to have improved access to support through the one telephone number.

I also wanted to find out about the team’s experience of mobile working. The children’s community nurses were one of our pilot teams for adopting mobile working and PARIS – our electronic patient record – and it’s proved very successful. Lisa Hufton, the service lead for the Children’s Acute and Ongoing Needs Service, is a real advocate of the system and of the new mobile devices the team are using to allow them to update electronic records while they are out on visits.

We have to acknowledge that the implementation of PARIS across the Trust so far has not been without its challenges so it’s positive to hear from a team who have adopted it successfully and are seeing real results. We’re at a stage where around 25% of the Trust is using PARIS and further support is needed to continue the roll out to the remaining 75%. 

We’ve invited Lisa to attend an upcoming session with the Board to demonstrate how PARIS and mobile working has worked for her team, share some of the obstacles they faced, and join the discussions about the investment needed to complete the roll out.

Another highlight of the visit was learning of the partnership work the nurses are doing with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS). It involves the staff referring families to GMFRS if they may benefit from health and wellbeing checks which include fire safety advice and accident prevention. The partnership works both ways, with GMFRS contacting Pennine Care if they come across any families who may benefit from health support. I know this is happening in other service areas but I’m keen to see if happening consistently across the Trust so have put Lisa in touch with our Fire Safety Manager to share this best practice.

I just want to thank Lisa and her team for giving up their time to meet with me and for sharing their experiences.  

The exec team will be conducting more visits around the trust on a regular basis and will share updates with staff via the blog.

Thank you

Martin Roe, Chief Executive (Acting)

Friday, 19 May 2017

"I wasn't prepared for just how profound it would be" - my experience of a Schwartz round

I attended a Schwartz round last week as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.  I had some idea of what to expect but I wasn't prepared for just how profound an experience it would be. 

I was asked to join the panel, along with three other colleagues, to share our stories about when we have experienced a difficulty or pressure and how we came out the other side, linked to the theme of 'survive or thrive'.  

I can’t disclose the names of the people on the panel or their stories because Schwartz rounds are completely confidential sessions.  What I can say is that each person’s story was completely different but there was still something to relate to from each experience.  

This included feelings of parental guilt when balancing work and life, being overwhelmed by workload or expectations, dealing with a major incident and experiencing a crisis at home.  All of the stories were incredibly moving; I was taken aback by how every single one of us could relate to the notion of surviving or thriving, no matter what role or position, and this was felt by everyone in the room (around 40 staff members).  

It really was a powerful session and made me think more about my own mental wellbeing, as well as how we support staff across the Trust who are experiencing a difficult time at home or in work.  After all, we are all human and could do with reminding ourselves that work is just one part of who we are.

If you haven’t ever been to a Schwartz round before I really would recommend it.  You don’t have to be on the panel or participate in the discussion if you didn’t want to, you can still go and listen and hopefully learn something.  Teams and departments can also request a Schwartz round to address a particular theme or issue, just get in touch via: 

Staff wellbeing service 
The need for staff wellbeing services has been clearly identified across the Trust, with stress and mental health related staff sickness accounting for at least half of all occupational health referrals.  Last year, 115,882 working days were lost due to staff sickness! 

The staff wellbeing service was launched in September 2014 after the Trust decided to use our in-house expertise to deliver psychological therapies to staff, rather than outsourcing to an external provider. The aim was to deliver a completely confidential free service to all employees, offering a wide range of interventions to help support staff through mild to moderate psychological difficulties that were impacting on their functioning at work.

The service has proven to be a great success - 507 staff were seen during the first year, with 19% supported back in to work and 72% helped to remain in work.  The service now receives around 40 referrals on average each month. 

The Executive Directors have recently reviewed a business case to support the staff wellbeing service and based on the results, we were delighted to approve permanent funding to ensure it continues to provide vital mental health support to the workforce. 

If you want to know more about the staff wellbeing service, there is lots of information on the Trust intranet - you have to be on the network to access this link

Keith Walker
Executive Director of Operations

Thursday, 18 May 2017

New Chief Executive appointed

As staff will be aware, Pennine Care has been undertaking a recruitment process to select a new Chief Executive over the last few months.  I am now pleased to announce that Claire Molloy has been appointed to the position.  

Claire has been the Chief Executive of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for the last four years.  The trust provides mental health and community services across the county of Cumbria, employing 3,500 staff.  Prior to that she held the position of managing director at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and has worked within primary, community and acute settings. 

It is anticipated that Claire will start in post from September.  In the meantime the trust’s existing interim leadership arrangements will continue.  

Claire was selected due to her proven track record as a Chief Executive, particularly at a trust providing mental health and community care across a broad footprint.  During the process, she demonstrated extensive experience of building strong relationships with partners in order to improve patient care and is passionate about staff engagement to build a strong and motivated workforce.  

All of these attributes are very much in line with Pennine Care’s strategy and values and I am confident that she, along with the executive team, will provide the trust with strong leadership into the future.

The selection process was thorough, involving staff, stakeholder and patient panels, as well as a final interview.  The appointment was ratified by the trust’s Appointment and Remuneration Committee, before being approved finally by the Council of Governors.

Commenting on her appointment, Claire said: “I am very much looking forward to working with everyone at Pennine Care and building on the fantastic work that is already taking place across the trust.  I believe this will be best achieved by working collaboratively with staff, patients and partners within each town.  I understand there are many challenges facing the trust and wider health and social care system across Greater Manchester, so look forward to overcoming them together.”

Staff and stakeholders will continue to be provided with updates regarding Claire’s appointment, as well as progress towards recruiting a new Chair in preparation for my term coming to an end in October.  

Thank you for your continued hard work and commitment. 

John Schofield

Friday, 5 May 2017

My visit to the Bury Community Mental Health Team

I went to visit the Community Mental Health Team in Bury based at Humphrey House this week, it was a chance to learn more about what they do and understand the challenges they are facing.  

For those who don’t know, Community Mental Health Teams (often called CMHTs) support people living in the community who have complex or serious mental health problems.  This includes people with severe depression, anxiety, psychological difficulties and psychotic symptoms.  CMHTs are multi-disciplinary teams made up of mental health nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, support workers and consultant psychiatrists who work with the team.  

It was clear that the Bury team are incredibly committed to providing the best care they can to patients, but they are feeling the pressure of increasing caseloads and finding that patients have got more complex needs.  The team talked a little about how more service users are now using the illegal drug Spice, which seems to be a growing problem across Greater Manchester and has been widely reported in the Manchester Evening News recently.

Given that the clinical challenges are demanding enough, I formed the view that there is more that we can do to improve the working environment particularly in relation to medical records, IT and car parking.  I will be raising the issues at the next Executive Director team meeting with a view to prioritising better infrastructure support.

I just want to thank the team manager Dawn Parker and her team for giving up their time to meet with me and for their honesty in the challenges they are facing.   Their commitment to patients was clear to see and they have to make some really difficult decisions on a daily basis in order to keep people safe and manage the service effectively. 

The exec team will be conducting more visits around the trust on a regular basis and will share updates with staff via the blog. 

Thank you

Martin Roe, Chief Executive (Acting)

Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) 2017 runs from Monday 8 to Sunday 14 May.

It is a national campaign by the Mental Health Foundation. This year's theme is ‘surviving or thriving’, which aims to shift the focus away from mental ill-health to explore how you can thrive in life with good mental health.
Visit the Pennine Care website for lots more information on mental health.